Paul Stanley's Soul Station - Now and Then

ExplorerExplorer England
edited March 29 in Year-2021

KISS frontman Paul Stanley steps away from his day job with this his long awaited soul/Motown project.

Paul Stanley
ARTIST: Paul Stanley's Soul Station
ALBUM: Now and Then
LABEL: Universal Music Group
SERIAL: 0060243517046
YEAR: 2021

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Flag USA
LINEUP:Paul Stanley - lead vocals * Alex Alessandroni - musical director, keyboards * Eric Singer - drums, backing vocals * Sean Hurley - bass * Rafael Moreira - guitars, backing
vocals * Ray Ysais - percussion * Ely Rise - keyboards * Jon Papenbrook - lead trumpet * Crystal Starr - vocals * Laurhan Beato - vocals * Gavyn Rhone - vocals

Additional Musicians: Mike Nelson, Ben Burget, Ed Wynne - saxophone * Nathalie Leggett, Songa Lee, Kathleen Sloan - violin * Giovanni Clayton - cello

TRACK LISTING: 01Could It Be I'm Falling In Love * 02 I Do * 03 I, Oh, I * 04 Ooo Baby Baby * 05 O-O-O Child * 06 Save Me (From You) * 07 Just My Imagination (Running Away with You) * 08 Whenever You're Ready (I'm Here) * 09 The Tracks Of My Tears * 10 Let's Stay Together * 11 La La-Means I Love You * 12 Lorelei * 13 You Are Everything * 14 Baby I Need Your Loving

RATING: Score=55%
WEBLINKS: Site Link | FB Page

Background

Paul Stanley, well there really isn’t much that we don’t know about the legendary KISS front man, who's been a huge part of the music scene since 1974.

His 'Soul Station' project is a step into different territory for him, as apparently he's long nurtured a love of soul/Motown music and feels that now is the time to show his admiration of the genre by releasing an album of soul' standards' and original material that's better suited to the soul music market rather than the stack heeled, stadium rock of KISS.

The Songs

14 tracks with 5 of them being Stanley originals. The rest are songs that most, if not all of us here at GDM will be familiar with, as they’ve been mainstream radio staples since the 60's and 70's when they first appeared.

If I can deal with the original material first, 'I Do' is a relatively 'on point' soul track with all the familiar tropes thrown in, you know the sweet female backing vocals, the obligatory strings, the same goes for 'I, Oh I', which is saved by a decent enough sax break but the songs really go absolutely nowhere and they’re just not memorable enough, but also let’s get the issue of Stanley's vocals out of the way too.

He just doesn’t seem to have any 'soul' in his voice, and I'll not beat about the bush either as in my opinion his vocal ability is pretty much shot now, and hearing him trying to sing falsetto these days is a bloody hard listen, also that his vocals are relatively low in the mix is quite telling as well.

The other 3 originals bear all the aforementioned soul trademarks, and the standout of these is 'Whenever You're Ready (I'm Here)', and that's mainly down to the female lead of Crystal Starr that elevates the song above the (very) ordinary.

As for the cover versions, I found myself cringing at Stanley's vocals on 'The Tracks Of My Tears', and his crooning on 'You Are Everything' is frankly embarrassing, as for the rest, well for me it was a case of grin and bear it I’m afraid. They are just workmanlike vocal performances, nothing more nothing less, and without the spark and vitality that the originals had.

All that being said, the project is saved somewhat by the arrangements of the songs, and credit must go to the musical director Alex Alessandroni, who, in the main has stayed more or less faithful to the originals, which has to be admired and also a shout out to the female vocalists that actually kept my interest as without them I think I'd have switched off.

In Summary

Paul Stanley won’t be bothered one jot whether I like this album or not. This is his vanity project plain and simple.

It's actually pained me to write this as he is one of my musical idols, a big part of the soundtrack to my life for 40+years and someone who has written some of rock music's most iconic songs, and he was in his prime an untouchable frontman, but this album just does absolutely nothing for me I'm afraid.

The likes of Todd Rundgren with his soul medley on the 'A Wizard, A True Star' album and Bowie's 'Young Americans' plastic soul are far better examples of rock stars leaving their comfort zones. I'll pass on this thanks.

Streaming Links

Amazon Music Unlimited
Apple Music
Spotify

Video

Could It Be I'm Falling In Love


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Comments

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    dtabachndtabachn Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Agree with the review. Unfortunately, the new songs here are not remarkable while the cover versions, although faithful, are not a patch on the originals. To these ears also, Paul's voice is hiding behind the background vocals most of the time.
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    Spot on review. I had low expectations for this one and while it isn't 'that bad', what Soul Station lacks is any soul whatsoever. Some of the original tracks are OK but in general this is weak background music that's been done countless times better before.

    If you want some smooth jazzy soul from the KISS camp, head back to Peter Criss's 1978 solo album. It isn't a classic either but at least it sounds much more like it comes from the heart.
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    You'd have to strap me to a table to listen to this insipid hunk of shyte. I heard a few songs on Spotify and was instantly disgusted. Paul Stanley has become one of the most insufferable people possible in recent years.
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    gdazegodgdazegod Lostralia
    I too had a brief listen to a few of the tracks, and like everyone else, this had limited appeal. And that's being kind.. :s
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    I agree with the review as well. This is a vanity project ( hey , I can do it all folks) and he has no soul.
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    PatrickHemmingPatrickHemming Tampa Florida
    edited April 29
    Not one of these nine covers comes close to replacing the originals. Of course I went into this project expecting nothing less than that to be the case. I was however surprised how on the mark Stanley’s originals were with, I, Oh I, being the big winner for me.

    Another surprise was that for the most part Stanley doesn’t embarrass himself with his vocals. Lord knows he’s a shadow of his former self in that department and I was expecting a lot of cringe worthy moments.

    I’m a huge fan of 50’s, 60’s & 70’s soul & R&B and I guess I have a soft spot for certain cover projects. Rod Stewart released a Soul Book album ten or so years ago that would mix well with this one.

    All in all Stanley surprised me here. I’ll cherry pick some of these and place them in my 60’s & 70’s covers folders & enjoy them from time to time down the line.
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    Excellent and accurate review, Malc!
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    The main question is indeed: Who needs this???
    As unnessessary as cover albums from aging artists go.
    Just make an album of 10 originals or leave it alone...
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    george_the_jackgeorge_the_jack No man's land
    edited April 7
    The vocals might not be grabbers anymore (agreed, but they're not bad eιther to my ears with the exception maybe of ''oh baby'') however I must admit I quite enjoy the thing as the arrangements and mix are brilliant. The symphonic elements are top-notch while there's an evident mimicking of the mid -to -late-70's a la Boz Scaggs sound color which is right up my alley! It's good to have that style of music today anyway I should say.
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    seandseand Ireland
    Most of the comments on here are crap. This is a great lp and is remarkably close to originals his own songs are great ???? .It's amazing the amount brothers talking bout soul. I grew up on this stuff and brought back alot childhood memories
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    gdazegodgdazegod Lostralia
    It's not an album that floats my boat but I'll give Paul his due for releasing it, bravery indeed in the face of public criticism and ridicule.
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