Saturday, March 24, 2018

Women: Hard Luck Woman

Purchase Kiss, "Hard Luck Woman"

KISS is many things: the personas and the makeup and the costumes are just a small part of the idea. The constant touring, the myriad promotions--from lunch boxes to coffins--the legends of debauchery and all sorts of stuff about the devil, the individual shtick for each member, their extremely devoted legion of fans...So, to be honest, one thing KISS has never really struck me as was anything at all about the music. At least not past the 1970s, when their bottom heavy, thundering riff rock songs mattered. What have they been since? Other than a constant money-making machine?

One thing that always did strike me about KISS was their strange ability to buck genre and deliver a song so far out of their supposed range that it was almost...good.

Take for instance "Hard Luck Woman", off of 1976's Rock and Roll Over . It was, as far as I know, KISS's one venture into country, and it sounds more like a Garth Brook's song than Garth Brooks. In fact, Brooks himself covered it for KISS tribute album, Kiss My Ass. It is hard to tell the difference. "Hard Luck Woman" is a great tune, plain and simple, one of my few favorites by the band. I'd say it's great because it's just a good song, a sweet 12 string guitar melody and their best vocal harmonies, multi-layered and liquid smooth, led by Peter Kriss. But, really, when it comes to KISS, what makes the track great is  how it defies KISS's own self-made genre. Just like people loved "Beth" for the very same reason, "Hard Luck Woman" is great because it was a surprise. And after the bolt of "What, that's Kiss?" wears off ,"Hard Luck Woman" easily stands on its own. That it wasn't a bigger it has always surprised me, but then, KISS was famous for spitting blood and fire and hiding their identities, so I guess a great song really doesn't stand up to the spectacle of hype that always accompanies our pop music.

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