Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Ace Frehley Challenge, Part 2

Part 1 is here if you missed it. And tomorrow I'll explain why there are two Part 3. Um.

Here we go. Ace Frehley's new album, Space Invader, track by track, live as I listen.

It came with a guitar pick, people.
Track 1, "Space Invader." Oh. Oh, my. This song is amazing. It's a song about a space invader. He comes from distant galaxies. Seriously, guys. And it rocks. This would fit perfectly on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, right between "Starman" and "Moonage Daydream." And it's got a killer guitar solo. I'm hooked.

Track 2, "Gimme a Feelin'." This is just a big, dumb, loud rock song. That's totally not a bad thing. Ace is really good at this, by the way. He has rock down, and he does it precisely right: Mastering the craft, but not taking anything else too seriously. I like that when he describes a woman as "contagious" in line 1, you know damn well that he's going to further characterize her as "outrageous" in line 3, and he delivers. Ditto with "reaction" and "attraction." Also, I like that Ace can sing, but sometimes he chooses not to. Sometimes he starts a line singing, then decides that for the last few syllables he's just going to say the words. Not because he's tired or bored or has forgotten the tune. Just because it's cool.

Track 3, "I Wanna Hold You." Who is doing this? Where are the musicians half (or, let's face it, a third) of Ace's age, playing loud, fast, tight rock songs like this? Where is the next generation of rawk? Another shredding solo. I am having so much fun.

Track 4, "Change." Mostly with this song I'm worried that Paul Rodgers is going to sue Ace for completely ripping off the melody of "Rock and Roll Fantasy" in the verses. Hug it out, guys. Great compact refrain on this one, with good rock background vocals. Those are important.

Track 5, "Toys." Ace likes big-boy toys, y'all. Basically, he's an older dude with several bank vaults full of money, and he's going to spend it on whatever the fuck he wants and also write a song about that. Plus, he's not going to rhyme in any of the verses. But the chorus will rhyme. That's how he rolls on this track. And then he unleashes yet another screaming solo.

Track 6, "Immortal Pleasures." OK, this song is a little quieter than what's come before. I like that. In the genres of music I typically listen to, you don't usually get six tracks in of nothing but rock. You've gotta pause to whine about that person who doesn't love you or that existence you can't figure out. Not that Ace is whining. He's still rocking, just slightly more thoughtfully. This song has a gong and a lot of tambourine. I approve of these choices, although possibly a dash of cowbell would have worked, too. Not that I'm telling Ace his business. He's been doing this for decades. So many decades.

Track 7, "Inside the Vortex." And we're right back to the rock. This song is built around a pretty cool riff. I love the title. I don't know what it means. I just like the sound of it. I just realized that "vortex" sounds similar to the name of the company where I work IRL. And now I'm singing along, except I'm singing the name of my company instead of "vortex," and it's very silly. This song should totally be the on-hold music for our phones. That one's going into the suggestion box, baby.

Track 8, "What Every Girl Wants." Musically, this song is pretty near flawless. This is a textbook fun, fast, hard-rock song. But, Ace: You're 63 years old, and at this stage I don't think you should be singing to, for, or about "girls." OK.

Track 9, "Past the Milky Way." Ace is singing about outer space again. Oh, because he's "Space Ace"! He's the Spaceman! I'm a little slow. You could play a drinking game with this album: Take a shot whenever Ace sings about space, or stars, or celestial bodies. Get the large bottle. Oh my gosh, "I'm running out of oxygen, but I've still got my guitar" is the best line ever. Ace wants you to know that he'll be "kissing you with style." No, not you, sir. "I sailed past the Milky Way just to hold you in my arms." *throws away songwriting notebook, because is done* This track has a great fadeout - saves the best for last.

Track 10, "Reckless." This should be a single. This would be a great single. This would make a great MTV-era music video featuring a well-known character actor playing an uptight principal making comical angry faces while the band wreaks havoc during a school assembly wearing bandanas wrapped around their head while the school librarian takes off her glasses and suddenly has monumental cleavage. Is that a run-on sentence? I don't care.

Track 11, "The Joker." When I saw the title of this track, I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if Ace did a cover of Steve Miller's 'The Joker'?" And that's exactly what it is, guys. A pretty straightforward cover of Steve Miller's "The Joker." Take another shot for "People call me the Space Cowboy." Ace is the Pompatus of Love, y'all. This is really rockin', which makes me realize that all these years it hasn't been the song I've found incredibly annoying, just Steve Miller's performance. It sounds just fine here.

Track 12, "Starship." And we finish up with an instrumental. Does "starship" count as a space reference? It absolutely does. Drink up. This track has a pretty mellow vibe, very nice. Did you know Ace played all the guitars on this album - lead, rhythm, bass. I mean, that's kind of incredible. He's wickedly talented. I never really knew that, because KISS was this band of dudes in makeup and platform shoes that drooled blood all over the stage. The dudes drooled blood, that is, not the platform shoes. Platform shoes drooling blood would be...unusual. Anyway, Ace at least is a damn fine musician. I'm digging this instrumental a lot. This whole album has frickin' rocked.

That was...really, really fun. Space Invader is a fun album. Thank you, Drummer Boy, for making me promise to listen to it. I've listened to it three times now, which I wouldn't do if I didn't like it, not even for you. Give this one a try, Drunkards. You never know what you're going to like until you open your ears.

I'm not sure I'm ready for Slipknot, though.
Next time I'll tie this all together by telling you how I almost destroyed my Ace Frehley CD instead of writing this post.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting...I never would have considered listening to this....but now I kind of have to


You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.