Wildwood, NJ – 1984
I was working one Saturday afternoon at my job at Home Video Centers. We rented movies and sold all sorts of video equipment. We played MTV on all of the televisions all day long. It was good background music for the store and the video images looked great on all of the different sets. I was standing with a couple of the sales guys and we were just chatting and watching videos. Then Kurt Loder came on and did the music news. He made the announcement that the original members of the band Aerosmith had drifted back together, put their differences aside, and had gotten back together as a group again. My heart skipped a beat I was so happy. I was glad they were all okay, and prayed a new album would come out soon!
Aerosmith – Done With Mirrors – 1984
All of the text on this album was backward. (No idea) What did the title mean? (It was all just a reflection, or was it a magic trick? (Did the title mean that the band was done snorting coke off of mirrors?) Who knows. I bought the cassette and took it home to listen to it. Let’s review.
- Let the Music Do the Talking: They took the title track from Joe’s first solo album and reworked the lyrics and arrangement and made it their own! Great version of an already good song. It’s a great, ‘welcome back song’ for the band.
- My Fist Your Face: As the title says, this song hits hard and kicks ass!
- Shame on You: Another solid laboring rocker. All of these songs have great Joe Perry riffs!
- Reason a Dog: Okay, not bad. Typical slow song for this point on an album.
- Sheila: Okay… a song about a girl. Not bad.
- Gypsy Boots: I can’t remember this one, but it works okay.
- She’s On Fire: Love this one. Solid build and good swing.
- The Hop: A jumping tribute to the band!
- Darkness: Great ominous closer with some real positive glimmers of more to come.
I loved this record just as much as Rock in a Hard Place. It feels like Rocks 2. I know that’s a bold statement but the band took a few years off from each other and worked to get clean. It doesn’t have the warmth of Rocks and the whole production seems sparse and a bit chilly, but it really kicks ass as an album, and a powerful return of America’s greatest rock n roll band! LOVE!
But… would this be the last time I really loved an Aerosmith album?
Wildwood, NJ – 1987
By 1987, I was out of retail and now working as a loan assistant at a local bank. Aerosmith had been working hard on writing songs, and their sobriety. I was happy about all of that and would buy anything they put out because of my decade-long love affair with them.
This next record feels like a transition for the band. They’re moving towards a more commercial sound. This was the first time I heard Aerosmith songs that I didn’t really care for. I think by then, I loved what I loved and if it didn’t look or sound like what I liked, then I wasn’t that into it. But I’m loyal so I bought it.
Overall this is a solid record for the masses. I never thought of Aerosmith like that. I’m not going to go track by track, which may sound surprising to most, but I’m losing my attraction to the band. It kind of hurt. It was like the beginning of the end of any relationship. You’re trying for a few years, and then the inevitable happens. A few hits came out of this record that were very popular on FM and MTV, but I sort of have lost that loving feeling for Aero. There are moments on this album when I hear the old band, but that ship is vanishing on the horizon. But I’m not 14 anymore. I’m a 25-year-old man now. Anyone expecting to feel what you felt at 14 when you first saw Star Wars or heard the Rocks album is kidding himself and setting himself up for disappointment. But I still love Aerosmith.
Aerosmith – Permanent Vacation – 1987
Hits: Dude (Looks Like a Lady) Rag Doll, and Angel.
The song Angel is the kiss of death for this band. It’s like the song, ‘Nothing Else Matters’ by Metallica. The hardcore fans know the honeymoon is finally over.
My favorites on this record: St. John, Girl Keeps Coming Apart, The Movie. Because they sound like the band I loved!
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