Animalize is the twelfth studio album by American rock band Kiss. It was released on September 17, 1984,[1] by Mercury Records. The album marked the only appearance by lead guitarist Mark St. John, who replaced Vinnie Vincent in April 1984.

Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 17, 1984 (1984-09-17)[1]
StudioRight Track Recording (New York City)
ProducerPaul Stanley
Kiss chronology
Lick It Up
Singles from Animalize
  1. "Heaven's on Fire"
    Released: September 19, 1984
  2. "Thrills in the Night"
    Released: January 13, 1985
Professional ratings
Review scores
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal8/10[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[6]

Background edit

At the time of the album's recording, vocalist/bassist Gene Simmons was pursuing a career in acting and was largely absent from Kiss. Vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley later said, "I felt abandoned when it came time to make Animalize. After informing me without any warning or discussion that he wouldn't be around for the album, Gene went into a studio and crapped out some demos as fast as he could. Then he was off to do a movie." Stanley had become Kiss' de facto leader and he was left responsible for songwriting, production and direction of the new album.[7] After losing two founding members and releasing two unsuccessful albums (1980's Unmasked and 1981's Music from "The Elder") that largely alienated their fanbase, the sessions for Animalize saw the band back on a commercial and critical winning streak with 1982's Creatures of the Night and 1983's Lick It Up both surpassing sales expectations. With the departure of another member in lead guitarist Vinnie Vincent and the hiring of a complete unknown in Mark St. John to replace him, Animalize saw the band at a crossroads of sorts.[8]

Entering the studio to record Animalize, newly hired lead guitarist St. John clashed often with his new bandmates, with Carr saying years later that St. John's talent led to a very arrogant demeanor in the studio. A disagreement over a bass part which bassist Simmons had asked St. John to record for the album left both Simmons and Carr furious with the new guitarist, with Stanley and Simmons later taking St. John aside to warn him about his bad attitude.[9] According to St. John himself, Stanley and Simmons got "all kind of weird" over what he was recording in the studio, with Stanley saying that his playing had no structure and that the guitarist was "just puking notes" and could never play the same thing twice.[10] Bruce Kulick, brother of former Kiss-collaborator Bob Kulick, was eventually brought into the studio to play lead guitar on the tracks "Murder in High-heels" and "Lonely Is the Hunter".[8]

Along with songwriter Desmond Child, Stanley gave the band its biggest hit single in years with "Heaven's on Fire". On top of production, Stanley claims to have personally handled everything from naming the album to marketing and "cajoling MTV".[8]

St. John was forced to temporarily leave Kiss before the subsequent tour after being diagnosed with reactive arthritis. The group again turned to Bruce Kulick as a temporary replacement for St. John for the first two months of the tour in Europe.[10] St. John himself later confessed that his health was not the reason he left the band. "The arthritis thing was really a cover up for the other reasons, you know what I'm trying to say?", he said later. He referred to his inability to get along with his new Kiss bandmates as "a meeting of East meets West type of thing".[10]

Eventually, St. John played two full shows and one partial show with the band during the American leg of the tour in late November 1984. However, it quickly became apparent that Kulick gelled with the band's personalities and playing styles better than St. John; by December 1984, St. John had been officially fired and replaced on a permanent basis by Kulick, making him the third lead guitarist to exit the group in only two years.

Reception edit

Commercial edit

In a continuation of Kiss' commercial resurgence which had begun with 1983's Lick It Up, Animalize was certified platinum by the RIAA. It was the biggest-selling Kiss album since 1979's Dynasty.[citation needed]

"Heaven's on Fire" became the biggest hit from the album (as well as one of the only songs to survive on the band's live setlist after the '80s), and its music video received heavy MTV rotation. It is also the only music video appearance of Mark St. John.[citation needed]

Critical edit

Animalize has been described as "Kiss' most aggressive album ever" with some tracks "bordering on metal territory with their heavily distorted, uptempo attack."[8] Critics and longtime fans, however, criticized the band's continued move towards a glam metal image during the Animalize tour. Additionally, Gene Simmons' relationships with his bandmates were at an all time low during this period. Most of this centered around his perceived lack of commitment to the band and his preoccupation with numerous outside projects, including producing and managing other rock groups such as Black 'n Blue (of whom Tommy Thayer was a member at the time), and co-starring in the 1984 movie Runaway.

Guitar World magazine later placed the album on their list of "New Sensations: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1984".[11]

Track listing edit

All credits adapted from the original release.[12]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."I've Had Enough (Into the Fire)"Paul Stanley, Desmond ChildStanley3:52
2."Heaven's on Fire"Stanley, ChildStanley3:21
3."Burn Bitch Burn"Gene SimmonsSimmons4:42
4."Get All You Can Take"Stanley, Mitch WeissmanStanley3:44
5."Lonely Is the Hunter"SimmonsSimmons4:28
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
6."Under the Gun"Stanley, Eric Carr, ChildStanley4:01
7."Thrills in the Night"Stanley, Jean BeauvoirStanley4:21
8."While the City Sleeps"Simmons, WeissmanSimmons3:41
9."Murder in High-heels"Simmons, WeissmanSimmons3:52
Total length:35:42

Personnel edit

Additional musicians
  • Bruce Kulick – guitar solo on "Lonely Is the Hunter" and "Murder in High-Heels"
  • Jean Beauvoir – bass on "Get All You Can Take", "Under the Gun" and "Thrills in the Night"
  • Desmond Child − backing vocals
  • Allan Schwartzberg – drum overdubs
  • Mitch Weissman − additional guitar on "Get All You Can Take", "While the City Sleeps" and "Murder in High-Heels"
  • Chris Minto – engineer
  • Timothy Crich – assistant engineer
  • Dave Wittman – additional recording, mixing
  • Michael James Jackson – drum recording producer
  • George Marino – mastering at Sterling Sound, New York
  • Bernard Vidal – back cover photography
  • Howard Marks Advertising – design

Charts edit

Chart (1984-1985) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[14] 40
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[15] 14
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[16] 41
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[17] 17
Finnish Albums (The Official Finnish Charts)[18] 4
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[19] 25
Icelandic Albums Chart[20] 7
Italian Albums (Musica e Dischi)[21] 25
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[22] 23
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[23] 7
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[24] 8
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[25] 9
UK Albums (OCC)[26] 11
US Billboard 200[27] 19

Certifications edit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[28] Platinum 100,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[29] Gold 25,000[29]
United States (RIAA)[30] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "New Releases" (PDF). FMQB. September 14, 1984. p. 28. Retrieved March 27, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Wilkening, Matthew (May 21, 2024). "1984's Top 20 Heavy Metal and Hard Rock Albums". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved June 9, 2024.
  3. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Kiss - Animalize review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin (November 1, 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-89-495931-5.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Vol. 4 (4 ed.). Muze. p. 875. ISBN 978-0-19-531373-4.
  6. ^ "Kiss: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 27, 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  7. ^ Conte, Robert V. (1998). Animalize (CD liner notes). Mercury Records. 314 558 859-2.
  8. ^ a b c d Wilkening, Matthew (September 13, 2015). "When Paul Stanley Became a One-Man-Band on Kiss' Animalize". Retrieved October 28, 2023.
  9. ^ "Eric Carr reveals: Mark St. John was "arrogant" in the studio". YouTube. Full In Bloom. Retrieved October 14, 2023.
  10. ^ a b c Giles, Jeff (April 27, 2017). "The Life and Death of Kiss Guitarist Mark St. John". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved October 14, 2023.
  11. ^ "New Sensations: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1984". Guitar World. June 27, 2014. Archived from the original on July 20, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  12. ^ Kiss (1984). Animalize (LP Sleeve). Los Angeles, California: Casablanca Records. 822 495-1.
  13. ^ "#KISS #WeAreStrongWithYou KISS ".. | KISS Army | VK".
  14. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ " – Kiss – Animalize" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2024.
  16. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 8947". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 20, 2024.
  17. ^ " – Kiss – Animalize" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2024.
  18. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 166. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  19. ^ " – Kiss – Animalize" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 20, 2024.
  20. ^ "Tonlist Top 40". DV. Retrieved February 20, 2024.[dead link]
  21. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e Dischi (in Italian). Retrieved February 20, 2024. Set "Tipo" on "Album". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "Kiss".
  22. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  23. ^ " – Kiss – Animalize". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2024.
  24. ^ " – Kiss – Animalize". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2024.
  25. ^ " – Kiss – Animalize". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2024.
  26. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 20, 2024.
  27. ^ "Kiss Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 20, 2024.
  28. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kiss – Animalize". Music Canada.
  29. ^ a b "Kiss" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Kiss – Animalize". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links edit