Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by GodShifter, Feb 7, 2017.
No, I definitely hear that as well.
While the City Sleeps
Good riff on the intro and the little "chugga-chugga" in the verses is a nice touch. Gene's voice sounds good in this one. The chorus repeats just enough without getting on my nerves. Love the start/stop right before the solo and I wasn't too annoyed with Mark's contributions to the song. Overall While the City Sleeps is a good song and a welcome change from a lot of this album. This one is going in my playlist.
I felt the same thing while listening to the video. Did another listen on Spotify and I could hear the vocals a lot better. I think that video was just a cruddy upload (also, too much digital noise in the cymbals)
Just a general thought about that - think of all the factors that go into "listening" to something; file quality, soundcard quality, speaker quality, etc. I find I can't really seriously listen to anything through my iPad - it just doesn't sound as good as I know it should/could. I could use earbuds/headphones with it for what I imagine would be better quality but I've just never done that. I've got good computer desktop speakers but I still listen to the vast majority of music I'm serious about through my "real" stereo from the best possible source I have access to...I suppose that's why I like these forums so much, what with all the like-minded folks and all! How do you all listen to these KISS songs, for example?
While The City Sleeps
Better than I remembered, but still ultimately forgettable.
Regarding how I listen to the song of the day, I have all my KISS albums ripped to FLAC on laptop's hard drive. Usually just with headphones, and I do mean headphones, not buds.
Considering you can put Apple Lossless files on your iPad, it should be fine...heck, even AAC ripped at 320VBR would sound good.
It was on the Animalize tour that KISS stayed at the hotel in Brighton where I worked for a week before the European tour started in order to rehearse. Both Gene and Paul were very friendly and I asked about geting an autographed picture. Paul pointed out the band's manager and said thet I should ask him,. and he'd sort it. The day after the gig I found an envelope at reception with a picture of the line up including Mark St. John, and needless to say not an autograph in site.........
While The City Sleeps Gene finds his bass and records a song with KISS.
I really want to like this more than I do. So I'll damn it with faint praise. Gene sounds reasonably engaged here with a bit more shading to his vocals that elsewhere on Animalize. So that's good. His vocals are a bit recessed, it sounds like which is not my top choice - but then, the 80s KISS is a little busier than 70s KISS so the simple Kramer-esque probably wouldn't fly right anyway.
The hooks aren't as strong - but I do like the riffage.
The chorus bugs me a bit - to my ears, a bit of a letdown... that interval in SLEE-eps is kinda not that interesting to keep repeating as often as they do - that type of interval seems more of an aside than the main hook for the chorus.
"While the City Sleeps"
I like this tune. I enjoy listening to it when I listen to Animalize. But I'm trying to "increase the magnification of the microscope" for this thread, and sometimes that leads to constructive criticism, which is mostly what I'll be doing below.
As with "Lonely Is the Hunter", even I, Gene-lover that I am, have to admit that for the most part Gene seems to be half-assing things here. Now, there are some Gene-isms that I love here--some bends, both in the riff and vocally, a very bluesy vocal overall, a smidgen of unusual harmony (in this case some slight chromaticism and one case of making the tonic provide tension (that's when he goes to the E in the prechorus)), some fun rhythmic stuff . . . but still, for Gene, this is half-assing it.
First off, this tune is basically one riff. And that riff is basically the old I - bVII - I thing, again in E--which both Gene and Paul have been milking like crazy for awhile--contrasted with a bVI to bVII progression (there's the bVII chord again) and a little chromatic walk-up/down--from E up to G and back down to E. That's the intro.
Well, the verse is pretty much the same thing, only with some rhythmic variation, and with just a walk-down from G to E--no walk up.
Gene figured he can't just do the same thing for the entire tune, so the prechorus introduces a new progression--or rather, it's mostly a V chord, with the IV chord as a leading tone and a suspended cadence at one point. Or in other words, the prechorus progression is just about the most unimaginative change you could think of.
And that's it for the most part.
Now, I don't want to give the impression that a tune is bad or lackluster just because it's simple. I don't agree with that at all. And a tune isn't bad or lackluster just because it uses well-worn music-theoretical tropes either. After all, I love the Rolling Stones, and a lot of their tunes analyze more or less to vamps, often with IV - I progressions and so on.--they often take almost a James Brown approach to songwriting (and I love lots of James Brown, too) Heck, I even love "Surfin' Bird"--that would be pretty high on a favorite tunes list for me, and it's mostly just bashing away on one chord, with the only variation--a varation that has the power of coming across an oasis in a desert--is a brief change to a V then a IV chord, and that's it. (And I'm also a Ramones and an AC/DC fan, and on and on . . . so definitely "simple" or "using well-worn/cliched ideas" doesn't imply something negative to me.)
It's more about the craftiness of how everything works together (including the arrangement), or we could say more abstractly how much care or "feeling" or "passion" etc. someone seems to put into the tune at hand. And with "While the City Sleeps", what's conveyed seems to be Gene doing something that's "good enough" ("That's enough to work as a riff . . . and if I change it just this little bit, just do this little variation, that's enough to count as a different part . . . and if I simply go to a IV-V here, that's enough to make it not sound like the same thing over and over for the entire length of the tune . . . ")--it's the scrambling to do the homework at the last minute idea. Gene is talented enough that his last-minute scramble is still enjoyable to me if I don't approach it from a constructive criticism angle, but he's capable of something more than that.
This even extends to the vocals. He's doing his heavily blues-influenced thing, with lots of bendy notes, etc., but he's doing it in--for him--a pretty pedestrian way that kind of just goes along with the riff and that's a pretty stock pentatonic approach. And the chorus comes across almost as if it would simply be the first thing you think of singing when you want the words to be "While the City Sleeps".
By the way, re mining the same musical ideas over and over, notice how the main riff here could work as an alternate "Thrills in the night (with the E-D-E e) . . . Turn out the light (E-D-E e) . . . I love eating beaver (C D the beginning of the E)" (and then you get the "While the City Sleeps" (with the walkdown) after that last line)
WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Gene's songs (demos) on Animalize generally get some rightful flak, but, to be honest, I prefer the last two songs over "Under The Gun" and "Heaven's On Fire." The slashing chords on the pre-chorus and choruses and bent notes in the verse please my ear - and the siren effect MSJ plays over the last chorus fits the theme of the song. The lyrics, naturally, are a laughable hodge-podge of listed sayings/cliches in support of a Stanleyesque "get all you can take" sentiment with another film noir title used to tie it all together. It's essentially a subpar sequel to "Naked City," but one you will watch if you happen to land on it while channel-surfing. It's the aural equivalent of junk TV.
So Gene only plays bass on TWO of his four songs? Has there been consensus on which two, as I've heard it's "BBB" and either "Lonely" or this. I'm pretty sure "Murder In High-Heels" is Jean Beauvoir (or, received wisdom is that it is him).
EDIT: Forget to mention - there's no need to ever use the phrase "open sores" in any context in any song.
I think it's three (supposeded) bass performances by Gene on Animalize. "Burn Bitch Burn", "Lonely is the Hunter" and "While the City Sleeps". Weissman is credited as playing bass on "Murder" but admits he messed up on the recording and Beauvoir had to re-record it.
So a "prechorus" is essentially the same as a "bridge"? I'm embarrassed to say after all this time people keep using the term and I'm not 100% clear on what it is (and, yes, I Googled it). Still confused.
Did it feel sorted or sordid?
Substitute "open source" and it still works.
I may have misused it. To me, they're not the same. The bridge is typically not repeated I think whereas pre-chorus is a turnaround from a verse before it goes to the chorus (and rare, I guess).
But I will sometimes use them interchangeably, especially when there isn't a bridge. Bridges are usually for a turning point in a song, an attention getter where you ram home a key point (unlike Gene who just uses the chorus to ram home whatever).
It's funny you mention Aerosmith and Queen, because I remember those two, and definitely wanted them. But I must not have ever owned them, because I think I'd remember it more clearly. I think it was just that I wanted them, but never got them.
I believe they also made belt buckles of all 4 guys in KISS, based on the Love Gun cover artwork? That rings a bell, but I don't think I ever actually saw them for sale in a store anywhere. But I think those were offered on the merch sheets that used to come in their albums. Did they do ones based on the Solo Album artwork? I can't remember.
Ah, makes sense. Thanks.
You didn't misuse the term. I just didn't understand it until now.
If you think pre-chorus, turn-around or bridge can get confusing, try working in a foreign country where English isn't the native language! The term turn-around can especially get 'em confused! So, I've had to settle for "A-part," B-part" etc. to keep confusion to a minimum.
Thanks! Not doing so is a failing on my part. And I'm not anti-digital files at all - I use ROON and have ripped FLAC files of all my CDs and play through a computer run through a Mytek DAC into my stereo. I just never got into listening to music with my iPad...old habits die hard, I guess...
I've never heard any of these songs, I'm just making (un???) educated guesses based on the titles.
Here are the Love Gun ones but I never saw them in the wild, either:
If there were official solo album belt buckles, I've never seen them...(unofficial ones are another story)
That's a pretty clever break before the guitar solo. Kiss always has a way of surprising me.
I do most of my replies on this thread at work so I don't have access to great equipment here. I usually use the yt videos GodShifter posts, but in the case where I know the music is more subtle or if the sound quality on the video is bad I plug in my headphones and use Spotify. Thankfully While the City Sleeps is a good song so I didn't mind listening to it multiple times.
WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
I am conflicted with this song. I have always passed this off as a bad Gene song but I have slightly warmed to it the past couple of days. The only issue is now that I have paid more attention to the lyrics and realized how terrible they are. It’s just a bunch of metaphors strung together. Like a bunch of Deep Thoughts by Gene Simmons rather than Jack Handy...or maybe just a Fortune Cookie thought.
"Burn your bridges, take what you can get
it's all there in black and white
through the eye of the needle, gotta thread your life
It's a hit or miss, an eye for an eye, live for today, and don't ask why
For better or worse, you bought and sold
They love you while you're hot and leave you when you're cold"
Gene’s vocals usually are consistent but he sounds a little strange here- “While the city sleeeeeps…”. The selling point to this song is the music itself. It’s a cool riff and everything is clicking here even Mark (and Mitch). As an instrumental it’s pretty good and the music is what is sticking in my head. But those lyrics are just awful. Another 5 minute jobber in between his acting lesson classes. This song sounds like a classic though compared to the next song on the album.
Enjoyed reading your Unmasked and other Kiss related posts in the past. An Unmasked scholar!
While the City Sleeps -
Not bad, but instantly forgettable. The chorus could be better, which is a shame, since it is repeated a billion times. This is the highlight of Side Two, which isn't saying much.
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