Taken together, the 20 studio albums Kiss have released over their career map out one hell of a roller coaster ride. If you're looking for steep drops and climbs or sudden unexpected left turns, you've found the right band.

From the raw early albums that helped them build a loyal following, to the more polished late '70s efforts that helped make them superstars, and the flirtations with everything from disco to pop, progressive rock, hair metal and grunge that occasionally derailed their progress, Kiss can be surprisingly hard to pin down. And that's without even mentioning the effect of their multiple lineup changes.

Accordingly, choosing the best song from each of their records can be a bit of a challenge: Often there's an overabundance of quality material, and sometimes even by the band's own admission, the opposite is true. (In their book Kiss: Behind the Mask Paul Stanley dismisses 1980's Unmasked as "crappy" and "wimpy," and Gene Simmons gives their 1981 concept album misfire Music From the Elder "zero stars.")

To make things just a little easier, in addition to picking the overall best song from each album, we also frequently highlighted the best song from whichever half of the songwriting duo didn't receive that honor, since the band's work revolves almost entirely around their tag-team songwriting and lead vocals. We also included our choice for the best Ace Frehley track whenever he contributed multiple songs to an album. Finally, we chose winners from the studio side of 1977's otherwise live Alive II, and the four new songs on 1982's Killers compilation.


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