According to KISS' own Facebook page (and they would know, presumably), on this day in 1979, Dynasty was released on an unsuspecting public. I actually started working up a longer piece about KISS' Dynasty quite some time ago, but then lost interest ... which is telling.
Dynasty gets an incredibly bad rap from the KISS Army, but -- honestly -- when you think of all the truly lamentable shenanigans the band's gotten involved with since this foray into slick disco-rock, it really doesn't seem all that bad. I mean, if you're feeling generous, Dynasty really marked the band's first major misstep, unless, of course, you consider their heroically ill-advised detour into moviemaking with the abysmal "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park" a year or so earlier.
Again, in that earlier, abandoned post, I launched into a thoughtful track-by-track analysis of Dynasty, but, again, who really cares? Suffice to say, there is more to this album than the universally-maligned "I Was Made For Loving You," the band's most brazen attempt to cash-in on the then-already-faltering-disco market (talk about dubious timing).
Personally speaking, while it did seem like a surprising departure at the time, I never thought it was all that bad. Also, KISS' more respected rock peers in Queen and Pink Floyd similarly released disco-informed singles around the same time ("Another One Bites the Dust" and "Another Brick In The Wall Part II"), and neither of those bands caught a fraction of the flack that KISS continues to endure for their arguably less-nuanced dabbling in same.
"I Was Made..." wasn't the only dance-floor-courting song on the album, though. Beleaguered drummer Peter Criss' earnest paean to his own fabled toughness, "Dirty Livin,'" also comes with a thwomping backbeat lumpenly designed to inspire rump-shaking. The less said about that the better.
But botched attempts at funkiness aside, there are some genuinely decent -- albeit overproduced -- songs on this record, from Paul Stanley's wounded loverman odes like "Sure Know Something" (one of his best, for my money) and "Magic Touch" to Ace Frehley's album-redeeming cover of the Rolling Stones' "2,000 Man." Ace also hands in "Hard Times," a great tale of juvenile delinquency that comes across like a Jim Carroll memoir with a less graceful rhyme scheme (think "Officer Krupke" from "West Side Story" with more power chords). Ace even gets a third cameo with "Save Your Love." Gene's contributions to the proceedings aren't quite as memorable, swaying between boasting about his sexual prowess on the throwaway "Charisma" and informing us of his spooky superpowers on "X-Ray Eyes."
Anyway, it all got severely pear-shaped after Dynasty. You don't need me to illustrate that point. But I'll never join the Greek chorus that damns Dynasty. It's not the heresy history has made out to be.
...and here's the full album, if you've never heard it...