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Cover Art Kiss
[Mercury Remasters Series]
Rating: 10.0

"I've got posters on the wall
My favorite rock group Kiss
I've got Ace Frehley
I've got Peter Criss..."
--Weezer "In The Garage"

Man, who didn't like Kiss? Back in the mid-'70s when America was stuck inbetween Watergate and Star Wars, Kiss reminded us that there were still broads to be nailed, beer to be imbibed, and a good time to be had by all. Alive! is total sonic proof of Kiss climbing their apex and knocking off one of the all time great live albums.

You see, there actually was a time when live albums didn't get remixed and rerecorded, regardless of what the Talking Heads and Judas Priest will tell you. They gleefully fed on the crowd's gutteral roar, the occasional flub, and, of course, the eight minute drum solo. Alive! may seem like a joke, mainly because it contains every arena rock cliche in the book, right down to "Hello, Cleveland!" But how do you think the standard was set? This was the album that turned four guys in face paint from rock and roll musicians to superstars. When Kiss made their mid-'90s comeback, they pretty much just went out and played Alive!, and who could blame them? Great remastering job keeps it all in check ; in fact, before you listen to Alive!, you may want to head out to the Camaro, drink some Old Mil, spark a joint and make out with your girl.

Remember: there was a time some twenty years ago when Kiss did not suck, and Alive! gets it right.

-Jason Josephes

10.0: Essential
9.5-9.9: Spectacular
9.0-9.4: Amazing
8.5-8.9: Exceptional; will likely rank among writer's top ten albums of the year
8.0-8.4: Very good
7.5-7.9: Above average; enjoyable
7.0-7.4: Not brilliant, but nice enough
6.0-6.9: Has its moments, but isn't strong
5.0-5.9: Mediocre; not good, but not awful
4.0-4.9: Just below average; bad outweighs good by just a little bit
3.0-3.9: Definitely below average, but a few redeeming qualities
2.0-2.9: Heard worse, but still pretty bad
1.0-1.9: Awful; not a single pleasant track
0.0-0.9: Breaks new ground for terrible