The KISS My Alive Ass Rant (Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums" Blows It Big Time)

I recently came across Rolling Stone Magazine's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" list and, like any such list, there is a lot to debate, discuss and disagree with; however, one inclusion pushes me past - way past - those 3 D's and straight into ranting mode. Sitting there just as provocative and insulting as can be imagined, in what's got to be a joke but probably isn't, not in place #499 or 500 but rather in spot #159, is that all-time classic, that masterpiece, that work of total brilliance, yes, that's right, "KISS Alive". I am not joking! "KISS Alive" as the 159th greatest album of all time?! True and utter nonsense? How about complete insanity?!

There's lots to debate on this list, like how on earth Bruce's "The Wild, The Innocent and The E-Street Shuffle" could possibly be #132 while "Nebraska" only comes in at #224 and "The River" at #250. Pure silliness! Or how Prince's "Sign O' The Times" could possibly come in so late at #93. In fact the list is full of silliness, like Neil Young's "Harvest" coming in at #78 while his 2 greatest albums, "Tonight's The Night" (#331) and "Rust Never Sleeps" (#350), appear ridiculously low down on the list.

But my real point here is that there are, according to this list, only 158 albums ever recorded that are better than that "KISS Alive" album. 341 albums appear AFTER "KISS Alive"!


I can't list all 341, but here's a sample of the albums considered worse than, inferior to, and not up to the standard of "KISS Alive" (brace yourself!): First there's the aforementioned "Nebraska" (224), "The River" (250), "Tonight's The Night" (331) and "Rust Never Sleeps" (350), and then then you've got Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" (165), Elvis Costello's "My Aim Is True" (168), Bob Marley's "Exodus" (169), Dylan's "Desire" (174), Willie Nelson's "Red Headed Stranger" (184), Prince's "Dirty Mind" (204), Pearl Jam's "Ten" (207), Neil's "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" (208), REM's "Automatic For The People" (247), Tracy Chapman's debut album (261), The Cars' debut (282), Stevie Wonder's "Music Of My Mind" (284), Al Green's "I'm Still In Love With You" (285) and "Call Me" (289), Bob and the Band's "The Basement Tapes" (291), The Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat" (292) and self-titled 3rd album (314), Bob's amazing "John Wesley Harding" (somehow 301), Lucinda Williams' equally amazing "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" (somehow 304), The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "BloodSugarSexMagic" (310), Nirvana's "Unplugged" (311), "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" (312), Randy Newman's 3 classic albums "Sail Away" (321), "12 Songs" (354) and "Good Old Boys" (393), Liz Phair's "Exile In Guyville" (328), Richard and Linda Thompson's "Shoot Out The Lights" (333), Graham Parker's "Squeezing Out Sparks" (335), Tom Waits' "The Heart of Saturday Night" (339) and "Rain Dogs" (397), Moby's "Play" (341), Outkast's "Stankonia" (359), Johnny Cash's "American Recordings" (364), CCR's "Willy and The Poor Boys" (392), The Chili Peppers' "Californication" (399), Sinead's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" (406), Bob's "Time Out Of Mind" (408), P.J. Harvey's "To Bring You My Love" (435), The Pogues' "Rum Sodomy and The Lash" (445), Los Lobos' "How Will The Wolf Survive?" (461), Hole's "Live Through This" (466), Bob's "Love and Theft" (467), Bruce's "Tunnel of Love" (475) and Elvis Costello's "Armed Forces" (482).

All of these classic albums - many of which would be in my personal Top 100 Of All Time and some of which would definitely even show up in my Top 10 (!!) or 20 - not only criminally appear way down the list, but simply, it seems, fail to measure up to that pure musical classic, that tour de force, that brilliant artistic (autistic?) accomplishment known as "KISS Alive".

Not to mention all the classic albums that didn't even make the list: The Waterboys' "Fisherman's Blues", Sublime's self-titled classic, Tom Waits' "Closing Time" and both volumes of "The Early Years", John Hiatt's "Bring The Family" and "Slow Turning" and, most shocking of all, Sinead's brilliant "The Lion and The Cobra" - all of which would show up in my personal Top 100 or at least Top 150.

The saddest thing is to think how much influence these kinds of lists have, especially when done by Rolling Stone. Just think of all the young people who are just getting into good music who'll rush out and buy as many of these "Rolling Stone 500" albums as they can afford and how they'll be buying "KISS Alive" long before any of those classics listed above. Not only that, I can just hear people defending "KISS Alive" as an all-time classic because... (Well, there is no defense. Their only real reason would be that they read it in Rolling Stone). Or maybe they'll just be disgusted and go back to Britney and N'Sync and say "Screw 'classic music' if it's as bad as this KISS shit!".

Either way, what a sad situation. And to think it was all just some sort of bad joke. It had to be, right? Just like Bob's "John Wesley Harding" at #301 and "Time Out Of Mind" at #408 and The Chili Peppers' "Californication" at #399 and Lucinda's perfect "Car Wheels..." at #304 and Lauryn Hill at...

I mean what kind of world are we living in where not only does "KISS Alive" appear at #159 on the "Rolling Stone 500" list, but there are only 2 Van Morrison albums on the entire list (the same number as KISS! And 2 LESS than Madonna!!) and Sinead's near-perfect debut doesn't even appear at all. I mean, really, what kind of world?

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Thursday, February 26th, 2004

P.S. And how can The Stones' "Beggar's Banquet" (at #57) possibly be behind "Hotel California" (at #37) for fuck sakes?! And Bob's "Highway 61" (at #4) behind The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" (at #2) - give me a break! And...

kiss alive

typical music snob - just because its played on an acoustic guitar or keyboards it must be good . I HAVE alot of the stuff you mention and also have kiss alive . The fact that rolling stone or any mag in general comes up with these best of compilation means nothing , its just their opinion and everyone has an opinion , just like everyone, has an ass hole .KISS alive has stood the test of time and has as much merit as anything you have mentioned - get over it !!

KISS Alive! should be at the

KISS Alive! should be at the top 5. Period! and RS always hated KISS