“Hard for Me”: Ace Frehley’s hard-rocking best


Former KISS guitarist, Ace Frehley has a previously unreleased single from his 2009 album, “Anomaly.” “Hard for Me” is the kind of heavy metal song that made the genre popular with a certain demographic in its prime.

Ace Frehley and rock history

Frehley was in KISS from 1973 until 1982. Regardless of his issues with the rest of the band, Frehley’s blues-based, chord-ripping style enlivened any song. That signature sound is still working for Frehley in contemporary times.

After his days with KISS were over, Frehley formed Frehley’s Comet in 1984. The band only released a total of three albums—two studio creations and an EP. Frehley went solo in 1989. Popular music charts have not been kind to some of Frehley’s efforts, but his talent and his association with KISS make him a hero of sorts among hardcore fans.

Ace Frehley and “Hard for Me”

The song begins without fanfare. It is difficult to tell which is pounding harder, drums or guitar. Guitars create tension among themselves, but all seem to play in relatively low registers until the solo. The solo, unlike many famous solos, does not scream. That grinding groove that is found throughout the song is manipulated and prolonged in the solo. The drums never sound out of time. In short, there is hardly a drawback to be found in the instrumentation.

I realize it seems as if I mean that there are problems with the lyrics. This is not true. This is heavy metal. While some fans appreciate it when bands go deep and make a statement about a social issue, not every band does that. Likewise, not every fan likes socially aware songs, so there is music for everyone. That said, the lyrics are not deep. They sound like they could have been written in the 1980s when kids were still staying up late to watch “Headbangers’ Ball.”

Given what Frehley is discussing in this song, credit should be given for the fact that he avoids an “explicit” label from streaming services. Innuendo and a well-placed pronoun do the work for Frehley and that clever touch doesn’t hurt the song, either.

I am well-aware of rock music’s long history of songs about women, cars, and drugs. That the genre survives at all, and is still able to use tricks that are decades old, says a great deal about how much rock fans love their music.

With the arrangement, lyrical content and instrumentation of “Hard for Me,” I can almost hear Paul Stanley singing this. Something about it reminds of the KISS classic, “Dr. Love.” At any rate, “Hard for Me” is a surprisingly genuine heavy metal effort that could be appreciated by both longtime fans of Frehley and new heavy metal fans.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has BA and MA degrees in English and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger’s Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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