The Disco Experiment: Why It Worked For Pink Floyd, But Not KISS
Released immediately after the record came out in November 1979, "Another Brick In the Wall" was an instant hit. It topped the Billboard charts in the UK and America and propelled The Wall to No. 1 in seven countries. It has become one of the band's signature songs and most enduring hits. You can hardly turn on a classic-rock station in America without hearing it at some point in the hour.
Best of all, though, it alienated no fans. Not one single Pink Floyd fan has ever heard the song and said, "Hey, that's a disco beat. Fuck Pink Floyd, those sellouts!" So why did it work for Floyd and ultimately doom KISS in the long run?
Because it still sounded like Pink Floyd. "Another Brick in the Wall," despite its disco beat, retained Floyd's character. The lyrics were dark and in line with everything Waters had previously written. The guitar still drew on Gilmour's blues influence. It conveyed a powerful message and it was bleak, just like Floyd had been for ages. It was just as much Floyd as "Welcome to the Machine" or "Time."
But "I Was Made for Lovin' You," solid track or not, wasn't KISS. It was someone, but it wasn't the KISS fans had grown to love.
It wasn't the demonic hard-rock band of Destroyer, it wasn't the crowd crushing band who played Alive (mostly in the studio), and it certainly was no "War Machine." It wasn't the sort of thing that was going to piss off parents. It was glitzed-up schmaltz, lyrically and musically. Even Simmons commented that it sounded like the Four Seasons.
The lesson here, kids, is that it's always good to experiment and incorporate new sounds, but you have to stay true to yourself. If you recklessly abandon everything that ever made your sound to begin with just to chase a fleeting trend, you're going to get left in the dust when that trend dies.
You'll end up just one more regrettable remnant of a sound long dead and long regarded an embarrassing oversight in the history of rock.