KISS – Hot In The Shade [Japanese SHM-CD]
KISS “Hot In The Shade” released in Japan on high quality SHM-CD should be the most requested album on this blog ever. That’s because “Hot In The Shade” is perhaps the worst – technically speaking – sounding album of their entire career, and fans are looking for an improvement.
1988 was probably the worst year in KISS’ history. Their popularity was pretty much over – Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses where the stars in the US hard rock at the moment – at least in what concerned stadium-packing tours.
The band’s long-standing management team was fired, and Stanley’s psychiatrist (!) was promoted to the position of financial consultant. A tour opening for Iron Maiden was accepted to keep the band in the spotlight, but the band was not able to deliver new songs for a new album.
An interim package was released in the form of Greatest Hits compilation Smashes, Trashes and Hits; when a band release a GH album, this is a sign of lack of inspiration.
Next year, their label pushed for a new record, seeing other bands in the genre reaching stardom. Yes, it was 1989, one of the greatest years for the melodic hard rock scene in the US.
So Kiss came up new material, which indeed were pre-production demos… really polished and compared with many other band’s records, even better, but not a ‘major’ production.
These resulted in “Hot In The Shade”, the largest amount of material of any Kiss studio record with 15 tracks and an almost 1 hour running time.
Despite its pretty low quality production for Kiss’ standards, “Hot In The Shade” features really good songs. Perhaps if trimmed to 10-11 tracks might work better… songs like ‘Hide Your Heart’, ‘Silver Spoon’, or ‘Somewhere Between (Heaven And Hell)’ are pretty good rockers.
The album is famous for its popular ballad ‘Forever’ which was co-written with Michael Bolton and served as the band’s first Top 10 single in over a decade.
“Hot In The Shade” also marked drummer Eric Carr’s last full participation before his death in 1991, and it includes his only lead vocal on the quite good ‘Little Caesar’.
So “Hot In The Shade”, unlike the rest of Kiss’ discography, never was ‘officially’ remastered. I think the band / label never wanted to mess with an album poorly produced and turn things even worse.
A ‘mastered for iTunes’ version appeared last year (but it really sucks) alongside a supposed remaster exclusive for the vinyl reissue. Although I never heard it, reports of fans / buyers are not the best.
Regarding this Japanese release on SHM-CD, Universal Japan announced a proper own remaster of “Hot In The Shade” as part of a four-CD Kiss reissue series three years ago.
Again, fans assure this SHM-CD is not remastered – booklet says nothing about it – but to my ears this “Hot In The Shade” sounds much, much better than the original. Something has been done…
I don’t know if Universal Japan did a remastering here, but you won’t find a better sounding “Hot In The Shade” out there. The bass is prominent, the vocals clearer and the overall punch increased.
Universal Japan ~ UICY-25140
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 And The Street Taketh Away
12 – You Love Me To Hate You
13 – Somewhere Between (Heaven And Hell)
14 – Little Caesar
15 – Boomerang
Paul Stanley – vocals, guitars
Gene Simmons – bass guitar, vocals
Bruce Kulick – guitar, bass, backing vocals
Eric Carr – drums, percussion, backing vocals (all vocals and bass in “Little Caesar”)
Tommy Thayer – acoustic and electric guitar
Phil Ashley – keyboards
Pat Regan – brass on “Cadillac Dreams“
Kevin Valentine – drums on “You Love Me to Hate You“
Charlotte Crossley, Valerie Pinkston, Kim Edwards-Brown – backing vocals
BUY IT !