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Paul Stanley Live To Win Universal Music
· Produced By: Paul Stanley

· Running Time: 33.50

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released: WORLD

· Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock

· Links: Kiss / Paul Stanley
91%
Songs: 87%
Sound: 94%
It's taken nearly 20 years, but Paul Stanley has finally delivered his second solo album. Being familiar with the passion of some Kiss fans, I have no doubt there are some out there that have been looking forward to this release since the week after his debut was available.
Built up over the last year or so as the Kiss album Kiss never made, or the greatest album of whatever year it would be released, Paul's new album finds itself desperately needing to live up to pre-release hype and expectation.
I think Live To Win delivers to the believers, but will fall short for the uninitiated. It also wavers a little unevenly between styles, at times not sure which way to drift.
There is a lot to like about this album and overall, it is a very respectable piece of work. That said, there are obvious areas where things could and probably should have been improved, and then there is that question over the updated sound/production.
Paul has desperately tried to fuse the classic Kiss style with a full-on modern rock approach and on parts of this album it works, but who is he really trying to appeal to?
Kiss fans will buy anything and outsiders or casual fans will just be listening for great melodic songs.
I'm not sure anyone looking to buy this album would choose a modern rock direction over a more classic sound. And if Paul updated things to be more commercially appealing, then he is listening to the wrong people.
Thankfully the album does feature some very good songs.
Track By Track:
Kicking off the album in fine style is the title track Live To Win. The down-tuning is obvious from the first riff and the modern approach might have been of concern for some if a chorus from heaven had not punctuated proceedings.
You can't ask for a better or catchier rock n roll anthem than Live To Win, which blends modern production effects and guitar tones with Stanley's classic sense of knowing what makes a song great.
Lift takes a darker turn and emphasizes the updated production values even further. The fact the song remains at mid-tempo and the chorus isn't as instant as the opener means that it could be a take it or leave it track for some. But it gets better with each listen and makes for a good partner for the opening track.
When Wake Up Screaming kicks in, one could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps Stanley has abandoned the classic Kiss style entirely. Loops, heavy guitars and effects provide the foundation, with Stanley's very likable voice providing the melodies.
I love the very melodic tone of the verse - raspy and stripped of layers - moving then into another great anthemic chorus.
Everytime I See You Around is both the first ballad of the album and the first reference to the sound and style that made Stanley a household name. This is a classy and classic Kiss style ballad that should please all fans. Added string orchestration bolsters the sound and atmosphere.
Bulletproof is the second almost-Kiss classic in a row. This track could have made an appearance on Revenge, Hot In The Shade or even Crazy Nights. It is classic commercial hard rock without the modern influences to scare off long time fans.
All About You sees Paul Stanley tread a thin line between the modern rock influences of the opening tracks and the more classic sound of the last couple of songs. Either way, the song has a good uptempo beat and a big chorus. Not that I'm overly impressed with the chorus…this to me is one of the more throw away tracks on the album.
Second To None is anything but throw away. This is one of the best ballads of the year and is classic Stanley at his finest, emotional best. A soft verse gives way to a monster chorus with soaring vocals and more orchestration. Perfect!
It's Not Me features more production samples and a half-way sound similar to All About You. Not a bad track and a good uptempo chorus, but another song that seems to go half way without fully committing. It could have been either heavier and even more updated, or more classic in style.
Loving You Without You is the third ballad of the record and another example of what Paul Stanley does best – deliver heartfelt songs with a positive message in a commercial melodic hard rock style that millions love.
Where Angels Dare is another strong uptempo commercial rocker. The song builds early to a strong chorus and finishes the album in style.
The Bottom Line
Any album that runs at a mere 35 minutes and contains a couple of fillers is going to struggle for classic status. There should have been at least 12 tracks on offer here – with the two extra's needing to be quality uptempo rockers.
But, viewing what is on offer I would have to say that I think most Stanley fans will be happy. A solid and enjoyable album that proves Stanley is the creative force behind Kiss. This is infinitely better than the Gene Simmons solo album, but could have been even better still.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Paul Stanley
· Live To Win

Line Up:
Promo: Not Listed
Essential For Fans Of:
· Kiss
· Paul Stanley
Track Listing
· Live To Win *
· Lift
· Wake Up Screaming *
· Everytime I See You Around *
· Bulletproof *
· All About You
· Second To None *
· It's Not Me
· Loving You Without You
· Where Angels Dare

--*Best Tracks


05/06/08: JIMMY - jimtsel@yahoo.gr
Rating: 90
I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY MANY PEOPLE ARE BEING OBSESSED ABOUT THE LENGTH OF AN ALBUM?LIVE TO WIN HAS 10 GREAT TRACKS,HAS VARIETY AND NO FILLER TRACKS.FROM THE FIRST TIME I HEARD THIS ALBUM I COULD SING ALL THE CHORUSES.THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN VERY OFTEN TO ME.PAUL COLLABORATED WITH A LOT OF COMPOSERS ON THIS ONE INCLUDING DESMOND CHILD,HOLLY KNIGHT,JOHN 5,ANDREAS CARLSSON AND MANY MORE.MY ONLY COMPLAINT ABOUT THIS ALBUM IS THAT IT SHOULD HAVE A LITTLE HEAVIER PRODUCTION.PAUL SHOULD DEFINITELY MEKE MORE SOLO ALBUMS SINCE KISS AIN'T GONNA RELEASE ANOTHER ALBUM EVEN WITH THEIR CURRENT LINE UP.

08/08/07: Harv - batman_kmml@yahoo.com
Rating: 85
Paul Stanley delivers a solid effort. If you consider that he has been recording music for almost 40 years, it's amazing that he can produce songs that will appeal to his core audience. If you look at Gene's A**hole cd, this cd rates 500 out of 100. I just recently removed this cd from my car, it received a lot of spins before being retired to the shelf. However, I can see me putting several tracks on my MP3 player for my workouts.

19/04/07: Jeff - darthmaher@gmail.com
Rating: 100
Whoa!!!!

This album is awesome! Any doubters that Paul Stanley was the major driving force behind KISS's hits will be proven wrong with this album. All of the songs are top notch including the power ballads. Paul sings his ass off and his pipes are still top notch!

It sounds a little modern, but Paul doesn't stray far at all from the sound that made Kiss so successful.

This CD has stayed in my 10 disc changer since it came out.

18/02/07: Axel Thomas - withheld
Rating: 0
I actually downloaded a .RAR file with a view to buy the CD if I liked it; I've been a KISS fan for many years. I've listened to a selection of tracks and the material just didn't do anything for me. I wish Ace would get his act together and release a CD.

21/01/07: Paul - paul@pagrebo.com
Rating: 93
WOW! What a surprise. I was not expecting anything as hook driven as this. Normally I would pass on this cd just figuring there would be one anthemic track on it... hardly making it worth the investment. I read Andrew's review along with everyone elses, found an inexpensive used copy on Amazon and decided what-the-heck? What a great cd! Standout tracks are LIVE TO WIN(Definitely in the running for a top 10 song of the year on this site), EVERYTIME I SEE YOU AROUND, BULLETPROOF, SECOND TO NONE(though not even the best ballad on this cd, let alone a best of the year), IT'S NOT ME(Sorry, Andrew, you got this one wrong), and LOVING YOU WITHOUT YOU NOW. If you like anything KISS, you're going to find a lot... I mean A LOT... to like about Live To Win.

01/01/07: Lou - loud@aol.com
Rating: 100
Once you hear the opening title track you know where
this CD is going . My vote for Best Rock album of 2006!
You could tell Paul put all his heart and emotions into
this brilliant piece of work . Many moods , very moving ,
passionate , and powerful . I love this CD!

30/12/06: Splash777 - Splash777@msn.com
Rating: 72
Now here is a surprise. I didn't expect much from this album. I knew John 5 and Tommy Denander were on but I knew they didn't have large input which would have only improved the album. Paul did the Kiss fans a solid with this album. He didn't pussy out and give us a ballad after ballad record. The songs mostly mid tempo are good songs. The albums best songs come in the second half and include John 5's only song writing credit. But the production is great and Paul's voice is great as well. This album puts to shame the Psycho Circus trife that he was a part of...That was a mess that record. This proves that he's still a vital contributer to the rock & roll world.

16/12/06: Robert Baker - bobtrish_baker@yahoo.com
Rating: 93
Just a 93 to hear Paul do new music outside of KISS. Paul & Gene make up KISS period. Ok Ace and Peter are great side acts but really look at the music and ask yourself why are they still around? Paul delivers in every way the album starts with a great title track worthy of any KISS fans heart feel reaction of say wow this is the revenge music. A few fillers still hold better than 80% of the bands that are making music today. My big question is where is the air play for any of the songs. KISS sold millions of copies and this album has at least 3 or 4 modern rock radio songs that could help the sells. At the rate the sells for this album is going it will wind up in a bargin bin like some other great solo albums from front men in other bands. At least Paul does not have LSD like most band singers. Paul is doing a tour for this so if you get a chance to see him drop in he still does it like no other act out there. Great Disk Keep it up!

08/12/06: Peter Lanyon - lanman70@bigpond.net.au
Rating: 95
Almost three decades since his first solo album, Paul Stanley has returned on his own to deliver his new album, Live To Win, without the fanfare, fire and makeup that is such an integral part of the KISS experience. On listening to the album, it's clear he needs none of the above to deliver a foot stomping rock album.
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Album opener, Live To Win is a fist in the air anthem, with Stanley's vocals in great form against an updated sound, which suits him perfectly and would be a perfect fit for the soundtrack of any underdog beating the odds movie, Rocky VI perhaps ? Lift is more mellow but Wake Up Screaming finds Stanley giving his all, delivering a powerful vocal to match the theme of the track.
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Everytime I See You Around Is the first of the ballads and along with Second To None and Loving You Without You Now, is powerful and heartfelt.
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Bulletproof rocks with a strong Hot In The Shade feel to it, while All About You and It's Not Me are uptempo, fiery rockers.
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Final track, Where Angels Dare, is an album highlight, with an anthemic, classic rock feel to it's intro and verses, and a cool modern vibe to the chorus.
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All in all, Live To Win is 10 tracks of high energy, well crafted, radio friendly rock and a highlight of this year's releases, can't wait for his next one.

08/12/06: Dirt from www.metaldreams.net - dirt@metaldreams.net
Rating: 70
While most KISS fans might cite Alive or Destroyer as the albums that turned them into KISS fans, my obsession with KISS began in 1984 with the release of Animalize. The mix of sexually tinged lyrics, rebellion, catchy choruses, fire-power, and the band's life is a party mentality pulled me in like no other band had before. By 1984, KISS' heyday had passed and I was the subject of ridicule in my college dormitory, but that added to their appeal - I liked something that no one else around me did. Clearly, I knew better than those lemmings did, and my against the grain mentality has defined me ever since.

As hard as it is for me to believe, it's been twenty-six years since I first became a member of their army. Things have changed over the years and to me, KISS is less of a priority to Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. While we can depend on KISS DVD's and greatest hits tours without Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, a new KISS album seems unlikely. KISS' main men have had a desire, however, to release solo material. Despite the failure of Gene's Asshole solo cd a few years back, Paul is up for the challenge of working outside of KISS with Live To Win.

Prior to its completion, the early word was that Live To Win found Paul writing in a contemporary direction with songs that would focus on strong choruses. Having had the opportunity to hear Live To Win, I can confirm that the initial reports were dead on. The ten songs capture a more introspective side of Paul. While Paul's vocals are as distinctive as always, the 'party' and 'heavy metal' KISS vibe have been replaced by contemporary arrangements, swish-swish instrumentation and production. The title track and "Lift" are probably the most modern. The static, detuned, plodding instrumental style and Paul's phrasing on the verses are in line with current trends. While "Lift" is contemporary throughout, the chorus found on "Live To Win" is totally 80s. Traditional songs do exist too - most notably the sensitive ballads "Loving You Without You Now," "Everytime I See You Around" and "Second To None" and the rockin' "Bulletproof." "Wake Up Screaming" is the song that could find Paul a new audience though. This emotive song spotlights a magnificent arrangement and production and has hit single written all over it. Despite it's slight techno vibe, Paul comes off natural and comfortable in this new arena, and I think it would lend itself to being a song that could be set to a striking video. "It's Not Me" is my second choice. While it contains many of the same qualities, it's a peppier track that melds contemporary rock with everything that Paul has learned in the 70s and 80s about writing a hooky chorus.

The Bloody Truth: For those looking for the next KISS album, you can forget it. Live To Win finds Paul in a different headspace. The thing that makes Live To Win work is Paul's knack for writing lyrical hooks and refrains and his top-notch vocal delivery. Interestingly, the guitars and drums are way down in the mix. The mix spotlights Paul vocals on almost every track and in my opinion that's a good thing for fans that might complain about Paul's concentration on contemporary instrumentation. While many artists have failed as they cross into contemporary musical territory, Paul has done a respectable job. His vocals are as strong as ever, he's brought along enough 80s hooks and energy to make the contemporary vibe enjoyable, and he's still creative. Sure, I'd love him to release something with the Creatures Of The Night aura but given the fact that this is a venture outside of KISS, I must say that Paul has delivered a solid contemporary release. Of course finding KISS fans that are open-minded enough to accept the modern direction is going to be a challenge.

08/12/06: john - ryderrocks3@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
This cd takes a few listens since it is notcut out of the Kiss/Paul Stanley mold - but it rocks and has its mellower at times. After a few listens Live to Win, Woke up Screaming, Everytime is see you around, its not me, second to none, lift - all become cathcy and hooky and ya wont stop playin...best cd this year - and im not a gaint kiss or stanley fan - no other artist from this era sounds so fresh, new and rocks with conviction - get this cd and wake up screaming - Paul Stanley

08/12/06: Shawn - sscoyle@insightbb.com
Rating: 95
I love this album. I thought he did a great job trying some new stuff without alienating the sound that made hime famous. I do find it kind of odd that it sounds so much like the 80's version of Kiss. Anyone who read the book that accompanies the box set that came out will remember that he sounded like he regreted that era of Kiss. Of course I thought those albums were just as great as some of the 70's albums. I think this is a great piece of work but you do have to listen to it with an open mind.

08/12/06: Pete - pjb070267@aol.com
Rating: 99
In my opinion, this is Pauls finest work to date. He was able to open up all areas of music that he likes without being confined to the KISS sound. I love every song. I've heard Live To Win compared to an "Its My Life" from JBJ sound to it, which I do hear a little bit, but the song definately stands on its own. Awesome flat out rock song. Unlike the website review, I loved "Lift" immediately. This is my favorite song. It has a very modern sound to it without Paul leaving his roots. Ive heard it compared to a Creed or Evanescence sound. Favorite song on the CD. Outstanding! Wake Up Screaming is my third favorite. The only thin missing is Paul's famous scream ironiclly. But excellent none the less. My list goes somewhat like this, although I love every song.
Lift (Paul must think so too, he plays it in his encore!)
Live To Win
Wake Up Screaming
All About You
Its Not Me
Every Time I See You Around
Second To None
Bulletproof
Where Angels Dare
Loving You Without You
This album should be nominated for rock album of the year for sure, but I am sure it wont. Paul and KISS do not get any respect by the people that vote. There are no fillers here! And if there were more tracks, people would say it was too long. This is 33 min, straight to the point. People who have a problem with this album are the people who only live in the past. There is nothing wrong with a modern sound, especially when you can pull it off so well! Love it!! Cant wait to see Paul in concert again next year when he comes back! Hopefully he will play more from the new album. I am a life long KISS fan, since I was 7, '76, thru thick and thin, and I do think, musically speaking, this is Pauls best work, SO FAR!

08/12/06: Joseph - developmentman@sbcglobal.net
Rating: 86
A strong grade of "B" on this effort from Mr. Stanley. I've always been a fan of KISS without the makeup from the 80's and early 90's and "Live To Win" reminds me of those melodic albums released by KISS from that era. "Lift,""Second To None,""Where Angels Dare" are my favorites. Hey, Mr. Stanley, for the next album, consider bringing in Vinnie Vincent to assist in writing some harder edged tracks.

08/12/06: Jared - jbm966@aol.com
Rating: 91
After reading that this CD was coming out over a year ago, I was a little nervous about buying it. However, after one listen, I think it is great! Paul has a terrific voice and although it isn't as high as it use to be, he can still belt it out at times. This one is not as good as his 1978 solo record but does have some good songs. I like "Wake Up Screaming", "Second To None", "Bulletproof" and "Everytime I See You Around" but could have done without "Lift". If you are a Kiss or Paul fan, then definitely buy this. If you are a fan of great rock music, buy this and you won't be disappointed. Can't wait for Paul's next CD!!!

07/12/06: zok - micke_016@hotmail.com
Rating: 94
Yes this is a big surprise for me, I dont know what I expected of this record. Ok the running time is just 33min, but I dont agree that this record have fillers, every song is great. And sometimes its just great to hear a short record, because most of the albums is longer than it has to be. The songs is in a melodic touch with a little new touch. Much of memorble hooks. A great recod, sure sone might think it´s some pop over it. It´s still a melodictouch over the songs.

07/12/06: RL - n/a
Rating: 80
Very solid solo record by the unquestionable musical heart and soul of KISS. I consider his '78 solo album a 'desert island' classic, and prefer his straight forward approach musically ala vintage songs like Magic Touch, Nowhere To Run, Tonight You Belong To Me, etc... However, since '79, it's clear Paul was the band member who would frequently chase radio trends...from disco to pop...to metal to alternative...and now he tries his hand at a largely modern rock record... And he did it very well.(And of course his great voice lends to the material's appeal, as always...)

Is it something I'll listen to over and over again like other material by him ? No...not really... An artist of this caliber and duration shouldn't feel the need to sound stylistically different or current to be 'heard'. But I do admire his determination to make this type of record and for seeing to it that it was done well.

07/12/06: Hawk052 - thedoghouse@msn.com
Rating: 75
I have always been a big KISS fan and huge Paul Stanley fan. This album doesn't do it for me. Maybe my expectations were too high as I thought that it would be much catchier with all of the good co-writers on it. One disappointment for me is that for someone who has such a great voice, one that can sing rock and then go out and do "Phantom", Paul doesn't use it to it's fullest.

07/12/06: Relayer - dyl_45@hotmail.com
Rating: 86
I have listened to this record a lot since i got it, and i dig it. I have to admit i prefer the ballads on this record along with "live to win" and "where angels dare". I guess i like the classic Paul Stanley approach rather than modern rock.
Still...i like this album. I think if you like KISS you'll like this.

07/12/06: Red - t_limey@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
In what has been a rather poor year for melodic rock, this is one of the better albums and "Everytime I See You Around" is my favourite ballad of 2006! As Andrew says, it could have done with 2-3 more tracks to bolster the running time and make up for the 2-3 'fillers' on the album...but overall a solid effort from Mr Stanley. Now if only someone could convince Kiss to get back in the studio...

07/12/06: STEVEN15 - roknroseville@yahoo.com
Rating: 65
Bought this cd listened to it a couple of times & can't find more than 2 songs i like...
It's been done plenty of times before this is pauls carnival of souls album..
i sold it on ebay....

07/12/06: rocky - runha2@hotmail.com
Rating: 80
i don`t know about this one, and i used to be a huge KISS fan, but there is something that`s not right about it.
maybe too modern sounding i don`t know.....
anyway, if you`re not a KISS or Paul Stanley fan, i wouldn`t recomend it....

07/12/06: Darren D - starchild72@bigpond.com
Rating: 96
As a HUGE KISS fan and PAUL fan i have been waitig for this release since 1978 hehe, and it doesnt disappoint.From the opening title track to the very "goodbye-ish" Where Angels Dare, this is sure to please all fans of Paul. Definately couldve done with 2 more tracks as it does fall a little at the end. Stand outs for me are "live to win", "wake up screaming", "bulletprof" and "second to none". Cant wait for Paul to tour OZ around April. A great cd from one of the greatest voices in rock. AWESOME!!!!


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