The Pretenders – 2000 Miles 7” single (1983)
Produced by Chris Thomas. I would’ve bought this for the non-album b-side, ‘Fast or Slow (The Law’s the Law)’ – a number that drummer Martin Chambers wrote that he sings lead vocals on – an average song that may have improved with Chrissie Hynde’s distinctive vocal on it. Before the days of youtube I needed to own everything so that I could make sure I wasn’t missing out on some hidden b-side gem…unfortunately they were usually b-sides for a reason. Still, I really love the 7” format and this one has a pretty cool gatefold sleeve. I give the Pretenders the credit for changing my mind about ballads; before I heard ‘2000 Miles’ I hated ballads, but this song and a couple of other Pretenders ballads made me realise there’s some good, ahem, love songs out there. Next up: a review of ‘Babe’ by Styx. Ha ha. Nope…
Kiss – Paul Stanley (1978)
Produced by Jeff Glixman and Paul Stanley. You hear it all the time: “Ace Frehley’s was the best Kiss solo album from 78.” Nup. Hey, it’s got some killer songs on it – Rip It Out; fucken excellent! But there’s a shit-load of filler on it – interesting and a bit wacky in that Ace kinda way, but filler none-the-less. Not this album, though – every song slays…except the ballad, and as far as ballads go, ’Hold Me Touch Me’ is as vomit inducing as they come, but I can forgive the man because 5 short years later he’d write one of the best rock ballads ever written; the thunderous ‘I Still Love You’. Name me one other thunderous ballad. Ha ha, you heard right – THUNDEROUS ballad. Go to the part where Eric Carr’s drums truely kick in – it’s like you’re being buried by a collapsing buiding! Anyway, this album is definitely in my top 5 Kiss albums. Starts with the killer ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’ – the dreamy 12-string acoustic guitar and falsetto voice for the first minute is the perfect set-up for possibly the most monstrous riff in the whole Kiss catalogue. A few years ago we used to rehearse at this particular studio and there was a younger guy that worked there that was a bit too cool for us I guess – he just acted like a dick-wrench whenever you had to interact with him for payment or whatever. Anyway, one time while we were setting up we were messing around with the starting riff to ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’. Who should poke their head around the door but Sir-Wrench-Alot; ‘Man, that song is a classic!’. After that, he turned out to be a pretty good dude. A mutual respect was reached all thanks to the Starchild, ha ha. Anyway, I love this album – awesome late 70’s vibe.
The Police – Every Breath You Take 7” single (1983)
After mentioning John Waite’s ‘Missing You’ the other day, it reminded me how similar it is to The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’. Not sure if there were any lawsuits or anything, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Anyway, I prefer ‘Missing You’, but this is a great song and the sinister lyrics make for some uncomfortable listening. The Police had some great non-album b-sides and ‘Murder By Numbers’ is a nice little jazzy number. Of course neither of these songs compare to anything from the band’s best period, Outlandos D’Amour through to Regatta De Blanc – that’s just the way it is. I guess this song and period was the logical predecessor to Sting’s solo career, of which I have a couple of albums and can recall not one song from either. I know there was a hit on one…and I can’t even remember that – says it all, really. Give me Message In A Bottle any day.
Written by Karl Mautner.
Read more of Karl’s entertaining and insightful thoughts on classic albums at the Rise of the Rat Facebook page, and Karl’s own Instagram page.