1) I had to go to WalMart to buy it. Which started the whole thing off on the wrong foot. I felt dirty going in there and sure enough I wasn’t in the door more than 30 seconds when a lady driving a motorized shopping cart road raged someone who ‘cut her off.’ F bombs were dropped. She scooted off. I immediately wanted to bolt back out the door.
2) The WalMart KISS Korner is a joke. Aside from the CD, there were $6 bags of M&Ms with KISS faces on them, and throw blankets. That was it. Snoooore. In a completely other section, they had all the KISS remasters for $5 a pop, which further angered me as I bought many of them for much more than that when they first came out. Maybe they hadn’t fully stocked the KISS Korner yet, but even the paltry merch that was there just stank of another way for Gene and Paul to get richer.
3) The CD was $12, for the new 11-song disc, a second disc of old KISS songs re-recorded by the new lineup, and a DVD. This was the exact same format for the Journey Revelation WalMart-only release from last year. This didn’t make me angry. I thought the price was great for the package, which is very nicely put together. The artwork is pop-arty and fairly cool and there is a book with all the lyrics in case you couldn’t decipher Gene singing about pussy or Paul signing about living life to the fullest because you are the boss and KISS rocks for you…
4) Popped the CD on in the car. Modern Day Delilah comes on. Still sounds great. This is an absolute KISS classic. Next song – Russian Roulette. Gene tune. Sounds pretty good but yeah he is singing about ‘loaded guns,’ ‘pulling triggers,’ etc and I am not nearly as OK with Gene singing about humping chicks at age 60 than on the 1970s albums when he was actually supposed to be getting lots of tail. Then it was the 1970s and he was about 30 – good man. Now it’s just kinda gross.
5) I wanted every song to be as good as Modern Day Delilah and it wasn’t happening. The songs are catchy, rocking and very well-performed. The new lineup is much tighter than the original band, but this CD is breaking no new ground. Every Tommy Thayer solo sounds like Ace from Alive! He has this down so well that he sounds more like Ace than Ace does. I get angry again and then feel bad for Tommy Thayer because he is just doing his job.
6) Then song 7 comes on and it’s Eric Singer singing, and he sounds gravelly – yeah just like Peter Criss. I get very angry. It made me realize that I am annoyed more than I thought that Paul and Gene replaced Ace and Peter with guys who dress, perform and act just like them. It’s bogus. I do not want to hear Eric Singer sing a song like Peter Criss, even if it is very anthemic and catchy, which it is.
7) Then just as I am calming down song 10 comes on and Tommy Thayer is signing. Thankfully he doesn’t sound like Ace but then I think – this now doesn’t even sound like KISS. What the hell is this crap?
8) The CD winds up with a song called “Say Yeah,” which is another Paul Stanley arena-pleaser. The sum total of the experience is that I want to turn off Sonic Boom and listen to Ace’s album again. Ace broke new ground on his album. He sang about his struggles. He kicked out some killer instrumentals. He took some chances and sang some stuff that was way outside of what you’d expect. Sonic Boom, while for sure is a return to form for KISS, breaks zero new ground. It’s just 11 more catchy KISS songs done by half the original band about the same old crap.
9) OK I know this is harsh – read between the lines here. The songs are good KISS tunes. There is loads of KISS-level passion, meaning Paul Stanley signs the shit out of everything he touches and the band for sure believes in itself on this CD. But it just made me pine for the original band. Shit, I even tolerated Psycho Circus because I could at least pretend that Ace was playing the leads, although it probably was Tommy Thayer!
10) The next day (yesterday), I ran into a guy I talk with at the music store and he too got Sonic Boom, but he loved it. He said I should keep listening and give it another chance. Now that the smoke has cleared from my day one rant, I am indeed liking Sonic Boom better and am appreciating it for what it is, as opposed to what I want it to be. In fact the Paul Stanley song "Never Enough" is growing on me in a big way - excellent chorus in particular...But I thought it would be far more interesting to share my first impressions, which were certainly tainted by my ‘shopping experience.’ Anyway, any thoughts from the peanut gallery? Those who have heard both Sonic Boom and Ace’s Anomaly CDs, which do you like better?