Destroyer (Kiss album)

Fair use/Fair dealing

Do you remember the scene in Macbeth when he and Banquo meet the witches for the first time and Shakespeare makes Banquo speak words of utter bewilderment:

What are these | So withered and so wild in their attire | that look not like the inhabitant o’ the earth | and yet are on’t?

You should be women | and yet your beards forbid me to interpret | That you are so

That is how I think of KISS. You should be music, and yet the noise forbids me to interpret that you are so.

There are guitars; there’s a bass; there are drums. Neither is particularly terrible but then again neither is particularly memorable even if the same lick is played sixty times in a row. As for lyrics: they’re shallower than the gene pool Deliverance. I know it’s meant to be ‘fun’ and ‘twee’ and ‘glam’; but because it knows it wants to be that it fails utterly because it strives to be something.

I’d love to say I came away thinking yea, KISS are like a T-Rex crossed with the Ramones. But they’re not. By track 04, Great Expectations, I’m genuinely struggling not to turn it off. The change in pace to some formulaic pseudo-stadium rock with call-backs for the crowd to sway and wave their lighters to makes my ears want to vomit out what they’ve just heard. It’s made worse with the song not even managing a crescendo; it just fades out like a cuckold’s premature ejaculation.

Remember that bit in The Sopranos when Tony has a panic attack and collapses at the golf club because Richie Aprille is dealing coke on the garbage run? As Boston’sMore Than a Feeling kicks in have a look behind Tony – you’ll see a generic fat American woman v1.0 doing a finger-clicking two step shuffle. Everything about her person will make your skin crawl. Now think that when she leaves the golf club and climbs in to her Station Wagon to drive home after picking the kids up from the mall, KISS’s Destroyer is the album she’ll put on. This music is made for inoffensive, uncritical, paint-by-numbers life.

Why did such sanitised music even get made? Who gets off on this? If you enjoy this and you are over the age of fifteen, how have you not moved on from it? It’s the kids’ nugget and chips on the menu at a restaurant where you just get nuggets and chips and a single sachet of ketchup. It’s got all the imagination of somebody who drives a Toyota Prius to “save the environment”. And just like the twat driving the Prius who genuinely thinks he’s doing something good I hate this album even more because it thinks it’s good.

And don’t be fooled: it isn’t tongue-in-cheek either. It’s the music of inadequacy masquerading as tongue-in-cheek.

It’s very rare I’d ever say this but as much as the world is a better place for Allan Wachs, the world would be better off without KISS.

They take everything that’s good of Meat Loaf, Ramones, Bowie, T-Rex, Slade, Alice Cooper and ham-fistedly try to replicate it. They obviously can’t, so they mask it up in stupid leotards and say ‘it’s all fun yaaaay’.

By track 07 I don’t think it could get any worse, but then track 08, Beth, comes on: a ‘slow number’ piano-led pop ballad. I don’t think that can get any worse but then, of course, in come the bassoon or some other deep horned instrument. And why not, we’re all musicians here eh, it’s all in the name of art. It’s not; it’s self-indulgent crap.

As that ends I’m praying to be proven wrong that it won’t be followed by a drum-beat intro and another generic rock licked song because that would be too predictable. But I’m not proved wrong and I’m almost not just metaphorically gouging my ears off. Unbelievably it’s made even worse by the lyrics: do you love me? Really love me? Your backstage pass and black sunglasses make you look like a queen.

Somebody I once knew who really, really liked KISS once told me Gene Simmons (is that his name? I can’t be arsed to look it up; it’s not worth my time) was a tee-totaller. And you know what? You can absolutely tell. KISS’s music is the music of somebody that’s read what rock should be like and pushed away the fantastic things drugs to do your head when it creates art. Nancy Raegan probably loved KISS.

Finally, the worst 34 minutes of my musical life end with an almost-instrumental album closer with some whirling sounds and an echo of the repeated line we’re gonna have a rock n roll party. No. We won’t be.

I’ve never been so grateful for an album to end. Hands down it’s the worst thing I’ve ever had to listen to that somebody else thinks is great. Unless requested to I will never, ever willingly listen to anything else KISS have ever done for all the reasons listed above.

Now, I have to go boil some piss to calm me down.

© Cromwell’s Codpiece 2024