KISS – Dressed to Kill: #415 of best 1,000 albums ever!

KISS - Dressed to Kill

So why is KISS’ Dressed to Kill on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

By the time I was a little kid in the 1980s, I had some awareness that KISS was “the band that wore makeup and wild costumes.”

From a branding standpoint alone, this is a band that made itself known far and wide.

When I was a teenager, I embraced “classic rock” as a part of my musical identity, but KISS wasn’t really a part of that. For starters, my version of “classic rock” was somewhat narrow and focused on 1960s and early 1970s music: mostly The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream. And part of it was that KISS just seemed stylistically and substantively different than those bands.

And I didn’t really vibe with people who identified as KISS Fans, you know?

Eventually, I got a little bit older, and if not a little bit wiser, I became less self-conscious and broadened my cultural tastes. And I embraced KISS for what it is: good time party music that hits just right when I’m in a certain mood — and I discovered that it’s often surprisingly sophisticated to boot.

KISS branding itself as a musical powerhouse across the world and generations wasn’t an accident, in other words.

“Rock and Roll All Nite” is the song most closely associated with KISS. And I mean, what’s to say about it other than it rocks*?

* Well, it rocks. And rolls. All nite. Or night. All right?

I like “Rock and Roll All Nite” well enough, but “Rock Bottom” legitimately blows me away. It’s almost two songs, really: one is an intricate, marvelous acoustic guitar song that’s Led Zeppelin-esque, the other is like the best song that Spinal Tap never produced. Which is to say, I highly dig it.

By the way, I’m not sure I’ve ever read a funnier sentence in a music review than the following, from Greg Prato at All Music about Dressed to Kill: “Since the band was on the road for a year straight, songs such as “Room Service” and “Ladies in Waiting” dealt with life on the road (i.e., groupies)…”

This speaks to the fact that in addition or perhaps in tandem to KISS being “branding experts,” they were known for being, let’s say, ladies’ men*.

* Which… I’m not even sure that’s a term that’s in use these days but circa 1975 and with relation to the band KISS I’m going to make the Executive Decision that it’s appropriate.

Of those songs, I prefer “Ladies in Waiting,” which feels like mid-tier AC/DC with better vocals.

“Love Her All I Can” is flat out exceptional, with vintage mid-‘70s hard rock guitar riffs, a killer hook, and fantastic group vocals from the band. This is one where I envision myself getting my mind melted seeing these dudes in full regalia in concert back in the day.

And I feel similarly about “She,” which slows things down a notch while still maintaining (or even amplifying) the maximum rock ‘n roll factor. I know I’ve slid back-and-forth between being a bit glib and more serious in this piece, but I’m dead serious in stating that few bands are adept at doing this, let alone doing it well.

Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to KISS’ Dressed to Kill

As passionate as I am about music – which… I guess I must be to embark on a best 1,000 albums ever project such as this – I’m even more of a TV nerd as far as it goes.

And as a TV nerd, I’ve been known to watch some pretty oddball reality TV shows from time to time. And 4th and Loud, which focused on Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley’s involvement with the Arena League’s (that’d be a U.S. pro football league) LA KISS (because of course) was especially oddball. Here’s what I wrote about the show back in 2012:

The LA KISS management brain trust at one point suggests giving away bobble heads as a ploy to bring in more fans to the stadium (and keep in mind this is on top of the go go dancers, shock and awe pyrotechnics, rock n’ roll aesthetic, and extreme sports performers that LA KISS home games hurls at spectators). Gene Simmons retorts, “Do you really think bobble heads will bring in more fans?” Straight faced, a management executive replies, “Yes, I do.”

Anyway, I was slightly bummed that the show only lasted one season.

As for the Arena League itself, it has been… canceled a few times already, so to speak, but the current outlook is that it’ll be back in 2024.

Even with all its myriad of issues, professional football in the form of the NFL remains by far the United States’ most popular sport, so you’d think that a second pro league will eventually catch on, especially if positioned to take place during the NFL’s offseason.

Some stats & info about KISS – Dressed to Kill

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Arena Rock, Hard Rock, New York Bands
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Dressed to Kill released? 1975
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #415 out of 1,000

KISS’ Dressed to Kill on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from KISS’ Dressed to Kill that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.