And then there are the two "new" songs. Keep in mind that this album was released the year after Crazy Nights, quite possibly the absolute worst Kiss album. These songs fare no better, if not worse, and the fact that they open the album can only be detrimental. "Let's Put the X in Sex" is one of the worst "hair metal" songs in an era filled with them. The almost as cheeky "(You Make Me) Rock Hard" is ever so slightly superior, but both are still awful songs. Strangely, no songs from Crazy Nights are present on the U.S. version of this album, probably so as not to take away from that album's sales. However, "Crazy, Crazy Nights" and "Reason to Live" replace "Deuce" on the U.K. version, further adding to the lack of Gene Simmons songs on the album.
In light of all of these issues, why is Smashes, Thrashes & Hits ranked among Kiss's best-selling albums and still a better choice than the overwhelming majority of single-disc Kiss compilations? The fact of the matter is that it covers almost 15 years of Kiss in 15 songs fairly well. Could this disc have fit more songs? Yes. Are the non-makeup years of the band under-represented? Yes. Does it still give the right impression of Kiss's general sound? Against all odds, yes. Like Double Platinum before it, the remixes hardly ruin these great hard rock tunes, and the smattering of selections from the '80s proves that some of Kiss's compositions from that time could hold their own with the '70s material. At the same time, there are a number of great none-makeup Kiss songs missing here (several of which, to be fair, came out after this album) as well as a higher number of great makeup songs, any of which could've easily replaced the two pieces of schlock at the beginning. Even so, it is nice to have "Shout It Out Loud" and "I was Made for Lovin' You" from the makeup era on here, and the album's intent to please everyone is admirable even if it falls short of the mark.
So who exactly is this compilation for? It's for someone who just wants a very, very general idea of Kiss spanning as large of an amount of their career as possible. The only compilation that cover this many years in a single disc is 2001's The Very Best of Kiss, and even that misses great songs like "Heaven's on Fire" and "Tears Are Falling" while including some more idiosyncratic choices. Get this if you're the most casual of the casual Kiss fans; the only others who will want are diehards for the remixes and the two exclusive songs (which suck, but that won't stop them; it didn't stop me, after all).