Deep Album Cuts Vol. 120: Kix



















Baltimore hard rock legends Kix recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of their biggest album, 1988's platinum-selling Blow My Fuse, with a deluxe reissue.

Kix deep album cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. The Kid
2. Poison
3. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
4. Kix Are For Kids
5. Mighty Mouth
6. For Shame
7. Burning Love
8. Lie Like A Rug
9. Sex
10. Layin' Rubber
11. No Ring Around Rosie
12. Piece Of The Pie
13. Boomerang
14. Dirty Boys
15. Rock & Roll Overdose
16. Luv-A-Holic
17. Rollin' In Honey
18. Tail On The Wag
19. Love Pollution (live)

Tracks 1, 2, 3 and 4 from Kix (1981)
Tracks 5, 6 and 7 from Cool Kids (1983)
Tracks 8, 9 and 10 from Midnite Dynamite (1985)
Tracks 11, 12, 13 and 14 from Blow My Fuse (1988)
Tracks 15 and 16 from Hot Wire (1991)
Tracks 17 and 18 from Rock Your Face Off (2014)
Track 19 from Can't Stop The Show (2016)

Unfortunately, the last album of the band's original run, 1995's $how Bu$ine$$, isn't available on streaming services, but I did include a bit of their latest reunion release, their comeback studio album Rock Your Face Off and their latest live album Can't Stop The Show. Since Kix were arguably Baltimore's biggest musical export for about a decade, and most music writers didn't deign to take them seriously, I ended up writing about them quite during my time with the Baltimore City Paper: reviews of live shows in 2007 and 2008, a 2012 interview with Steve Whiteman, and a review of Rock Your Face Off.

Of course, Kix aren't terribly well known outside of Maryland, and to the extent that they are, it's for their requisite '80s power ballad "Don't Close Your Eyes" (although I think it's kind of a touching song, with more in common with Aerosmith's "Dream On" than the schmaltzy love songs that populate 'monster ballads' compilations). And that's of course kind of an outlier -- there's one other great ballad in their catalog, "For Shame," but most of their material is very uptempo and often has a sense of humor. In Baltimore, you can turn on 98 Rock and hear a more representative assortment of Kix songs, most frequently the singles "Girl Money," "The Itch," and "Blow My Fuse," as well as the deep cut live staple "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah."

Kix aren't well regarded by many critics besides Chuck Eddy, who famously loves them and ranked them high in his book Stairway To Hell: The 500 Best Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe. But their records hold up really well to me. Kix started out before 'hair metal' got really codified, so there's a real sense of individuality there, especially in the first couple albums. It's easy to imagine them going down a slightly different path and being seen more like, say, Cheap Trick. But I would say anyone who has a favorite AC/DC or Aerosmith album should make some time for Kix.

A band like Kix doesn't have many progeny among current bands (that's not entirely true -- one of Steve Whiteman's students as a singing teacher was Lizzy Hale, who went on to form the very successful Halestorm, who do a great cover of "Blow My Fuse"). But while this series has covered a lot of beloved canonical album artists, a big part of my mission with Deep Album Cuts has always been to champion the albums of people who are primarily remembered for their singles, and '80s hard rock is one of those areas that evades respectability that I enjoy covering just say, it's really boring and wrong to say that Guns N' Roses was awesome and everyone else sucked.
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