Unmasked – Kiss Album #8

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. Is That You? Gerard McMahon Paul Stanley 3:59
2. Shandi Stanley, Vini Poncia Stanley 3:36
3. Talk to Me Ace Frehley Frehley 4:00
4. Naked City Gene Simmons, Poncia, Bob Kulick, Pepe Castro Simmons 3:49
5. What Makes the World Go ‘Round Stanley, Poncia Stanley 4:14
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
6. Tomorrow Stanley, Poncia Stanley 3:18
7. Two Sides of the Coin Frehley Frehley 3:16
8. She’s So European Simmons, Poncia Simmons 3:30
9. Easy as It Seems Stanley, Poncia Stanley 3:24
10. Torpedo Girl Frehley, Poncia Frehley 3:44
11. You’re All That I Want Simmons, Poncia Simmons 3:04

Unmasked is the eighth studio album of the US hard-rock band Kiss. It was released in 1980 and musically belongs to a brief interim phase in the history of the rock group, which was conditioned by the disco wave at that time. The album reached high chart positions. Internationally known was the song Shandi, which achieved good results in some countries.

The musical band history knows several distinct phases. From 1974 to 1977, Kiss had recorded six studio albums with Kiss, Hotter Than Hell, Dressed to Kill, Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over and Love Gun, which had their typical Hard Rock comparably constant and without major deviations. As a conclusion to this first phase, the four solo projects released in 1978 by all four band members can be counted, each under the band name. With the album Dynasty kiss 1979 for the first time departed from their original line. Unmasked was the second album that was influenced by the at that time strong, large parts of the music business dominating Discowelle end of the 1970s. The music on the record was poppy for long stretches and had a disco sound. The drummer Peter Criss officially belonged to the band, but he did not play on this album anymore.

Singer and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley commented on the creation of the album: “‘Tomorrow’ is a great song, but apart from that, I think ‘Unmasked’ is a crappy album full of softener songs. Many of them were actually harder at the beginning and sounded more like rock ‘n’ roll. Unfortunately, that was somehow lost on the way to vinyl. […] It just did not work out with us as a band. Peter neither played ‘Dynasty’ nor ‘Unmasked’, and at the latest at ‘Unmasked’ we realized that things could not go on like this. Of course, the fans were given a nice glow, but sometimes they take their revenge, because people think we’re the Beatles comic, where all four live together or sleep in the same bed and do it all together. That was never the case with us. […] We wanted to give the fans a positive image of us that met their expectations and masked the weaknesses of each one. But at ‘Unmasked’ it was clear that […] none of the tires was really fully inflated, and one of them was even out of breath completely. ”

Singer and bassist Gene Simmons commented on the story as follows: “I think a band and an album is still about more than just the songs, the direction you take and the attitude. […] At that time, Peter was in the Twilight Zone. He had problems early on. However, at the time of ‘Unmasked’ it got so bad that we had to let Anton Fig play the entire album because Peter was far from reality. Peter did not record a single song on the album. ”

Singer and lead guitarist Ace Frehley saw the story as follows: “I loved my songs. I do not think that Gene and Paul could claim or that they were satisfied with the production of the album. One must know that the band was in a phase of upheaval at the time. Peter would have to leave the band, and everyone was doing his own thing. […] We were at the point where we really needed a break from each other. ”

Producer Vini Poncia commented: “The ‘Unmasked’ album did not have such a special feel as ‘Dynasty’, it did not come across so sincerely and believably. It was rather a copy of it. I think the problem with ‘Unmasked’ was that it was cobbled together in a hurry. ‘Dynasty’ was planned and worked out to the last detail as it was an exciting experience for the band. They took a new direction. I think that just because of the success of ‘Dynasty’ we should have spent more time on ‘Unmasked’.”

Kiss manager Bill Aucoin remembers the story: “There are some good songs on these albums. I think the only problem was that the band was getting tired. […] I thought they really wanted to unmask the album, especially because Paul and Gene had talked about leaving makeup for a while. But we took her away from this idea. ”

The album reached high chart positions and was in some countries not only in the top ten represented, but even in first place, such as New Zealand and Norway. In Australia and Austria, the album reached number 3, in Germany still ranked 4. Although it was not a music with the “typical” Kiss sound, this Kiss album was the highest placed in Germany. In Canada, the LP came in 12th place, in Japan in 15th place and in Sweden in 17th place. In the US, the plate only came in at number 35, in the UK even only at number 48.

In the US, after two months, the gold status for 500,000 copies sold. In Canada, the album also obtained gold.

The disco single Shandi was a top ten hit in some countries and ranked 4 in Norway, 5 in Australia, 6 in New Zealand, 10 in Austria, 24 in the Netherlands and 28 in Germany. # 47 in the US and only 70th in Canada. The song was not placed in the UK.

The release Talk To Me reached # 10 in Switzerland and No. 32 in Germany. The song was not placed in the USA, Canada, Australia and Great Britain. The release Tomorrow reached only in Germany 70th place and was unknown otherwise internationally.