Well, I was quite excited when I heard that a new KISS CD would be issued in the UK, timed to coincide with the Finsbury Park concert on July 5th. However, now know the details, I am more annoyed than pleased. This issue of Greatest Hits is nothing more than a repackaged and slightly changed version of the recent Greatest KISS. Crazy Crazy Nights, Lick It Up and Hotter Than Hell replace She, Goin' Blind and Shout It Out Loud (Live). Yippie, they also juggle the tracks around a bit. I expect that the Hotter Than Hell track is a remaster and the other two are standard generic releases, however, after hearing these two tracks, I'm not sure - they sound good, or perhaps I'm just trying to think that they sound better than usual. The packaging is certainly an improvement over the very boring (shoot the designer!) Greatest KISS packaging, but I do think that KISS packaging is going down hill, with releases looking more like K-Tel compilations. The guilty party in this case is Red Cloud, London, who know so little about KISS that on of the pictures on the back cover is reversed. The actual CD print is EXCELLENT - the only good thing about the whole packaging - there's also a cool picture of the band inside the cover.. Buy it? Well yes I will, but I'm sad. I think that Mercury would have done better to cull tracks from both the US and UK versions of GK and add some of the cool remixes from the Japanese Chikara - but do they listen to the fans? Hell no! I look forward to the new studio effort, but this filler material has to stop. It's unfair to burden the fans with such rubbish, but the boys do look good on the cover!
Here's another review of it which I wrote for a site which didn't use it:
So, just when you thought it was safe, KISS runs its UK fans over with yet another compilation. And were that not bad enough, Greatest Hits (Mercury/PolyGram TV 536-159-2/4), released in the United Kingdom on June 30th 1997, is nothing more than a repackaging of Greatest KISS which was released here in November 1996. So what was the motive for yet another compilation? Well, simply it was released as further publicity for KISS' final Alive/Worldwide 96-7 Tour gig at Finsbury Park, London on July 5th. But, and I'm trying to be positive here, it's not all bad. Sure, the changes to the track listing are superficial... Goin' Blind, She, and Shout It Out Loud (Live 96) are replaced by Crazy Crazy Nights, Lick It Up, and Hotter Than Hell. Crazy Crazy Nights was a big hit for KISS in the UK in 1987, reaching a highly acceptable #4 in the charts, so it's understandable that this would be included. Lick It Up was KISS' next most successful British chart single reaching #31 in 1983. It's odd, "Forever" also did very well, something about Michael Boltin's involvement tricked the public here me thinks, and of course, God Gave Rock And Roll To You II was a smash hit in 1991. Crazy Crazy Nights sounds good - well in comparisson to my slightly used Promo release of the album it does. It is not a remaster. Lick It Up is hard to judge, it might be a remaster, is certainly sounds excellent, but I'm not sure, more than likely it's off Smashes. Hotter Than Hell is certainly a remaster and the improvements in sound quality are as noticable as on all the other remastered tracks. The key point to note about Greatest Hits is the repackaging. When we were given Greatest KISS, we got some very bland packaging. The CD print was completely blank except for a boring "Greatest KISS" logo. And the cover, well yuck! Greatest Hits uses the standard reunion photo (which appeared on Tour Posters and some tickets) so it's nice to get a current KISS pic on the cover. It's only when you look at the back cover that you notice how little the British designers knew about the band. Several errors jump out at you: One of the photos of the band is reversed, thus Paul's star is on the "wrong" eye, and several of the songs are creditied incorrectly. Pedantic? Perhaps! The CD print is the high point, it's awsome, and features a great blood red picture of the band - nicely done. The inner cover has another current picture of the band, you know the one where they pose infront of a wall of fire... And if you unfold the inner cover, there's yet another picture of the band. The CD sits on a see through holder which has a hard to see picture and "cute" graphics of the bands makeup similar to those on the spine of the YWTBYGTB cassette. Unfortunately, the CD spine doesn't have the KISS logo on it - which annoys me as it clashes with the rest of my CDs =) and there are too many rivet type graphics all over the cover. Blame Red Cloud, London for the design issues!
Well the packaging is nice, but you're really paying for Greatest KISS twice over if you pick this one up. But the packaging is nice.... So far this has only been released in the UK, so I'm wondering - sales of it are bound to be small, so we might just have another Chikara on our hands, though nothing included on it makes it rare. It's already starting to disappear from stores so I'd get a copy while you can! I know I am!