Review: “Sonic Boom,” KISS
I don’t know what it is with these Wal-Mart exclusive deals – bands like Journey and Foreigner, and now KISS, have put out brand-new albums at the world’s largest retailers and they aren’t bad. Sonic Boom, available today at a Wal-Mart near you, is the first album of new material from KISS in over a decade. I listened with the ear of a KISS fan (as I used to be years ago; or is it once a KISS fan, always a KISS fan?) and Sonic Boom is a fairly strong addition to the KISS library.
Produced by Paul Stanley and with most songs written by Stanley and Gene Simmons, the album is certainly a throwback to the band’s peak sound (around Destroyer or Alive) with anthems like Stanley’s “Never Enough” or Simmons’ “Hot and Cold” (containing the line “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”). Actually Stanley’s lyrics are mostly “let’s party hearty” while Simmons takes care of the “let’s screw” department, and they don’t disappoint. “Say Yeah,” by Stanley, is another one to turn up the volume for. Drummer Eric Singer gets a vocal showcase (“All For The Glory”) as does lead guitarist Tommy Thayer (“When Lightning Strikes”), which is probably a first for a KISS album.
So we have here another 1970s-1980s-era rock band, concert hall favorites, producing a collection of new material that doesn’t pale next to the work from their “classic” period. Members of Journey, Foreigner and now KISS know exactly who their audience is, and the formula they used to become superstars back in the day – that sensibility seems to be a perfect fit for the average Wal-Mart shopper. Although I suspect that each of these bands have earned thousands of brand-new fans with these Wal-Mart packages. So don’t be a snob – get over to your neighborhood Wal-Mart and pick up the new KISS. In addition to the new CD, there’s a second disc of re-recorded greatest hits and a DVD of a live KISS concert. All for 12 bucks!