To kids of the '70s, Kiss were a rite of passage, or at least a totem of adolescence, so it isn't entirely surprising that a movie like Detroit Rock City came into existence. Green-lighted after the original Kiss reunion was a blockbuster success in 1997, the film is a nostalgic trip about a quartet of teenage stoners (led by the always excellent Edward Furlong) in 1978 and their adventures as they try to see Kiss in Detroit, otherwise known as Rock City. Clearly, a film like this screams for a blend of classic rock and classic rock covers as the soundtrack, and that's exactly what it gets. The true heart of the album is in the classic rock songs: "Running with the Devil," "Iron Man," "Jailbreak," "Surrender," "Rebel Rebel," "Little Willy," and, of course, "Shout It Out Loud" and the title track. They help set the mood, while the covers bring in the younger audience. Apart from the Donnas' "Strutter" and Everclear's "The Boys Are Back in Town," the covers are largely gimmicky -- listen to Pantera's "Cat Scratch Fever"; Drain S.T.H.'s "20th Century Boy," which is similar to Placebo's cover of the T. Rex tune for Velvet Goldmine; and Marilyn Manson's cover of "Highway to Hell" (a song that wasn't released until 1979, by the way), which provokes snickers since you always knew Brian Warner was headed there -- but the remakes are only occasionally embarrassing. Consequently, the album is a good time, even if it isn't as much fun as the film and has as many ups and downs as a typical concert-going experience.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine