Kiss - 1989 Hot In The Shade

edited May 2020 in year-1989


ALBUM: Hot In The Shade
LABEL: Vertigo
SERIAL: 838 913-1 (LP), 838 913-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1989


LINEUP: Paul Stanley - vocals, guitars * Gene Simmons - bass, vocals * Bruce Kulick - guitars * Eric Carr - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rise To It * 02 Betrayed * 03 Hide Your Heart * 04 Prisoner Of Love * 05 Read My Body * 06 Love's A Slap In The Face * 07 Forever * 08 Silver Spoon * 09 Cadillac Dreams * 10 King Of Hearts * 11 The Street Giveth The Street Taketh Away * 12 You Love Me To Hate You * 13 Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell * 14 Little Caesar * 15 Boomerang



After beginning the 80's in some disarray with the departure of Peter Criss and declining album sales, Kiss ended the decade on a high.

The removal of the makeup resulted in a string of excellent albums and shows, resulting in Kiss being one of the most consistent bands of the decade.

The momentum was halted with 'Hot In The Shade', their eighth studio album of the 80's and by far their most mediocre, something Kiss were not generally known for producing. Kiss had shifted directions over the decade, shifting from AOR to metal and AOR again, always satisfyingly.

'Hot In The Shade' was an attempt at the hard rock market that was saturating the charts and airwaves during the late 80's but somehow lacked the melody of 'Unmasked' or 'Crazy Nights'; while the heaviness of 'Creatures Of The Night', 'Lick It Up' and 'Animalize' was absent.

The album contained several hit singles but is still an inconsistent listen to this day.

The Songs

The heavy keyboard use of 'Crazy Nights' had been mostly removed and replaced by a bland guitar sound that stole some of Kiss' trademark sound. At fifteen tracks it's overlong with more than a few tracks that should have been omitted.

'Forever' was a smash, a Stanley co write with Michael Bolton that was one of Bolton's last major cracks at AOR, easily the melodic high of the album.

'Hide Your Heart' was another hit, but honestly pales next to Danger Danger's debut or even Winger, despite assistance from Holly Knight and Desmond Child songwriting wise.

Bob Halligan Jnr gets in on the act with 'Read My Body', a typical slice of Kiss raunchiness but an abject failure due to a chorus that must have taken five minutes to rustle up. Must have had Warrant on their minds.

Simmons one time lackey Tommy Thayer co-wrote several tracks with Gene himself, the best of which is 'The Street Giveth' with 'Betrayed' a determined melodic rocker, letdown by the flat guitar sound.

'Boomerang' is a virtual rewrite of 'No, No, No' from 'Crazy Nights' and the closest Kiss gets to metal throughout.

Elsewhere the filler is rather obvious, 'You Love Me To Hate You' and 'Silver Spoon', but 'King Of Hearts' and 'Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell' manage to regain some needed momentum, both highly melodic, the latter almost an 'Animalize' outtake.

In Summary

This and 'Revenge' rate as the only disappointments of Kiss' entire catalogue, their attempt to cash in on the hard rock boom not an indication of what Kiss were really about.

Where they always had their own image and particular sound, here they were relegated to just another hard rock band and this album barely rates a mention in the Kiss scheme of things.

1992's 'Revenge' also tried too hard, the band forcing themselves to return to the heaviness of the mid 70's but falling flat instead, the grunge dominated 'Carnival Of Souls' eminently superior.

Eric Carr passed away two years later of course, and before long Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were back, ending the makeup free era permanently.

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    I still resent this album to this day. I must have written this more than 15 years ago and my opinion hasn’t changed.
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    gdazegodgdazegod Lostralia
    When you consider 1989 as a whole, it wasn't too bad. But I preferred Unmasked thru to Crazy Nights.
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    ExplorerExplorer England
    Were the majority of the tracks effectively worked up demos?It certainly sounds like it. A relatively poor album from the band.
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    It's my favourite Kiss album of those after Alive II! 'Silver Spoon' is the high point for me!
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    Much preferred this to 'Crazy Nights'.
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    I've always really liked this album. I agree that it's maybe 4 songs longer than it should be, but tracks like Love Me To Hate You, Hide Your Heart, Forever, and The Street Giveth... are up there with the best of the unmasked ere. To me this is the perfect bridge between the more obviously AOR Crazy Nights sound and the heavier Lick It Up.

    Oh and I love Revenge too!
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    edited May 2020
    I'm pretty sure Paul had a lot to do with the album's song choices. Trying to get back into the charts. I went to this tour with the Sphinx and all the green laser lights. It was great.
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    I'm pretty sure Paul had a lot to do with the album's song choices. Trying to get back into the charts. I went to this tour with the Sphinx and all the green laser lights. It was great.
    Yes, they brought that show to the UK as well and it was indeed great, but unfortunately on the Revenge tour (go figure...) so we never saw the Statue Of Liberty set-up.
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    PatrickHemmingPatrickHemming Tampa Florida
    A nine song album would’ve been terrific. Also, maybe actually go in and properly record them as opposed to dressing up demos. What I like on it I really like but there are five or six duds in my opinion.

    As far as the tour goes, it rivals the reunion tour. Wow, what a set list. What a stage show. Best tour of the unmasked era! I was at the Tampa show and was blown away having already seen them on the Animalize tour six years earlier.
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