To my chagrin, I liked last week’s entry. I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t resist. It was like trying to eat only one Lay’s potato chip. Eugene hasn’t written his entry for that one yet, but Jon really dug it. I’m glad. So, last Thursday, it was time to be issued our next project, this came through:
#14 – Pump by Aerosmith.
Let me say that I cannot stand Aerosmith. I can’t stand Steven Tyler and they’re so very over played. I have seen them live twice. Once with the drummer from my old band Heavens Sake. It was a shed show and we had gotten free tix for advertising in a local mag. Free seats, usually, equates to no seats but lawn access. That was awful. I will never go to another shed show to sit on the lawn. That’s dumb. The second time was on a double-bill co-headline show with KISS. I had gotten gold circle seats because I wrote the cover story for the same magazine.
I was kind of offended that KISS went on first. They were the better “headliner” I thought. When they were done, I had shifted my thought on that because that meant I could leave four songs into the Aerosmith show because they were horrible. The keys were too loud and Tyler was too interested in dancing and prancing than singing in key. I just can’t stand them. Bottom line.
Now, all that being said… I really love this album. This and its predecessor, Permanent Vacation, both were fantastic albums. It could be that I thought it sounded better when they were straight and sober. It could be that this was the first stuff that I really paid attention to from the band (my history of rock was skewed because of my access as a child, I’ve explained that before). It could be that I like slick production. Whatever the reason, I don’t get annoyed with this or Vacation. When something comes on from these two albums, I don’t turn it. Anything after or before, I turn it. Overplayed and overdone.
There’s not a lot of difference in this and the earlier (or later) stuff, it sounds like Aerosmith, but I guess it was my age. I was freshly out of high school (I graduated the spring prior to its release) and had this on cassette. That makes it one of only two of these albums that I have previously owned (Invasion of Your Privacy) and was familiar with. It just seems there was some direction here. This and the one before were a proving ground for the band to show they could write sober songs. I think they did a darn good job.
There’s some weird stuff going on. I’m not used to Tom Hamilton being a slap bass kind of guy but in “Janie’s Got a Gun,” he’s doing just that. And, he co-wrote the tune. The harmonies are really cool and textural. They’re scattered around and put in great spots. Yeah, it’s almost entirely Steven Tyler, but it’s more layered than older Aerosmith. I believe “Love in an Elevator” is really the only song that has other people singing backing vocals. They either use a backing track or a harmonizer live, because it’s almost all Steven Tyler. There’s also a dulcimer, a didgeridoo, Thai naw (a mouth organ made from gourds and bamboo) and a glass harmonica, all played by a fellow named Randy Raine-Reusch. It adds dimension and depth. I like that. Even album producer Bruce Fairbairn threw in some horn work on the album.
Joe Perry is on, keeping his blues-laden riffs in tact. Brad Whitford (not the actor Bradley Whitford) is there trading licks, too. I don’t know that Joey Kramer was this solid a drummer when he was stoned. Tom Hamilton, as stated earlier, is doing that slapping thing but he’s laying down some fantastic riffs and lines on this album. Very nice work. And, yes, Tyler does a really great job. He shows more range and dynamics on this album and the one prior, I think, than the “classic” albums.
My favorite tunes on the album are “Love in an Elevator,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “The Other Side,” “Medicine Man” and “What It Takes.” There’s none that I dislike. So, yeah, I like an Aerosuck, er… Aerosmith album. This wasn’t a stretch for me, as I’ve always liked it. And, I still listened to it the (mostly) minimum six times. I recommend it and want to hear Eugene and Jon’s takes. Hopefully, they won’t be too long. And, hey Eug, what’s next!?!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Gonna be a penthouse pauper. Gonna be a millionaire. I’m gonna be a real fast talker and have me a love affair. Gotta get my timin’ right. It’s a test that I gotta pass. I’ll chase you all the way to the stairway honey, kiss your sassafras.” – “Love in an Elevator” (Perry/Tyler)