Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best. As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones. I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate! This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?
NOTE: I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only. There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.
This week, we will talk about Aerosmith. Hailing out of the Boston area, Aerosmith began cranking out albums in 1973. There have been a few eras of the band, starting with the six albums of the seventies. Drugs and band member departures led to a down period in the early 1980s, before a reunion kicked off a major resurgence in the mid-eighties. Aerosmith have basically become a nostalgia act in the 21st century, having put out only a couple of albums, both of which will rank low on this list.
Aerosmith’s classic lineup consists of lead vocalist and main songwriter Steven Tyler. Joe Perry and Brad Whitford sling the guitars, while Tom Hamilton (bass) and Joey Kramer (drums) handle the rhythm. On a side note, I have played with a guitar player who grew up in the Sunapee New Hampshire area who was in a band that was a main rival to one of Tyler’s bands back in the 1960s. I used to tell my bandmate two things. He was old, and it appears he underachieved!
By 2001, Aerosmith had become that band that put out an album every four to five years that mostly relied on its back catalog to sell concert tickets. For the most part, that strategy has worked, but it doesn’t say much about the band’s newer material. The single, Jaded, is a decent listen, as is, Beyond Beautiful, but this album consists of mostly forgotten material.
Best Song: Jaded
Best Deep Cut: Beyond Beautiful
By 1997, Aerosmith had become that band that put out an album every four to five years that mostly relied on its back catalog to sell concert tickets. For the most part, that strategy has worked, but it doesn’t say much about the band’s newer material. Pretty much the same script as the album discussed above. Nine Lives features the predictable formula of a tongue in cheek single, Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees), the obligatory ballad, Hole in My Soul, and an attempt to appeal to the modern rock fans, Pink. The strategy simply does not work here.
Best Song: Taste of India
Best Deep Cut: The Farm
I’m not sure if Aerosmith has what it takes (pun intended) to release a solid album at this point in their career such as the likes of Ozzy, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and AC/DC. The latest record from the band (even though it is nine years old), I just cannot get into it. Pump is the last Aerosmith release that I can still listen to.
Best Song: Oh Yeah
Best Deep Cut: Oh Yeah
By 1993, Aerosmith’s comeback was a resounding success. Featuring a plethora of ballads, this album shot up the charts. Unfortunately, it takes a robust 14 songs to find seven that may be worth listening to. Lead single, Livin’ on the Edge, is a fan favorite, however, I cannot seem to get into it. Meanwhile, follow up singles, Cryin’, Amazing, and Crazy are all plodding ballads that work to bore me to tears and were overplayed on rock radio. The only songs that work for me at all are the rocking, Eat the Rich, and Fever, which was made popular by Garth Brooks later in the decade.
Best Song: Fever
Best Deep Cut: Fever
Other than the first two tracks, Let the Music Do the Talking, and maybe, My Fist Your Face, there is not much here that excites me so much that I must listen to this album. Aerosmith fans, thrilled about the return of the classic lineup, would have to wait for anything of real substance.
Best Song: Let the Music Do the Talking
Best Deep Cut: Let the Music Do the Talking
By 1979, excess and overindulgence contributed to Aerosmith teetering on the edge of disaster. The result is an unfocused album that has some decent moments on it, albeit, not enough to push it higher on the list.
Best Song: No Surprize
Best Deep Cut: No Surprize
The Jimmy Crespo album. The band was going through its most tumultuous time, with the departures of guitarist Joe Perry and soon, guitarist Brad Whitford. Combined with the drug addictions and erratic behavior of vocalist Steven Tyler, Crespo is often credited for keeping the band going. All in all, this is not a bad album that has some good songs, just not a hit in the bunch. Lightning Strikes is the highlight of the record, while Jailbait, Bitch’s Brew, Cry Me a River, Joanie’s Butterfly, and the title cut are pleasurable listens.
Best Song: Lightning Strikes
Best Deep Cut: Lightning Strikes
The band was starting to experience the beginning of the end, so to speak, on this album. Hardly a cohesive unit at this point, Aerosmith managed to produce a couple of killer tracks, such as the title track, as well as the brilliant, Kings and Queens. Unfortunately, those strokes of genius are few and far between on this offering.
Best Song: Draw the Line
Best Deep Cut: Kings and Queens
While Done with Mirrors featured the original Aerosmith getting back together, it was on Permanent Vacation where they became relevant again. While singles Dude (Looks Like a Lady), Angel, and Rag Doll catapulted the album up the charts, lesser-known songs such as, Heart’s Done Time, Magic Touch Hangman Jury, the swinging St. John, The Movie, and the title track are major highlights.
Best Song: Magic Touch
Best Deep Cut: Magic Touch
Pump continued the band’s comeback, and in a big way. The album features smash singles, Love in an Elevator, Janie’s Got a Gun, The Other Side, and the brilliant, What it Takes, as well as a plethora of deep cuts, such as, Young Lust, F.I.N.E., Monkey on My Back, Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man, and Don’t Get Mad Get Even. Combined with the follow up, Get a Grip, commercially, Aerosmith reached its peak.
Best Song: What it Takes
Best Deep Cut: F.I.N.E.
The debut Aerosmith record features a raw bar band that had yet to completely find its way but was hinting that they were close. The album features the smash hit, Dream On, although it was relatively unknown until re-released in 1976, as well as concert staple, Mama Kin. Make It, One Way Street, and Movin’ Out are all worthy of a listen.
Best Song: Dream On
Best Deep Cut: Make It
The first record produced by longtime partner, Jack Douglas, Get Your Wings lends to us the idea that Aerosmith may become a household name. Highlights include the smash single, Same Old Song and Dance, as well as, Lord of the Thighs, S.O.S. (Too Bad), Seasons of Wither, and the Tiny Bradshaw cover, Train Kept A Rollin.’
Best Song: Seasons of Wither
Best Deep Cut: Seasons of Wither
Coming off the heels of the huge, Toys in the Attic, Rocks does little to disappoint as a follow up. The record contains two big singles, Back in the Saddle, and Last Child, as well as strong deep cuts, Rats in the Cellar, Combination, Sick as a Dog, and Nobody’s Fault. This album loses out to Toys in the Attic for the top spot on the countdown by the slimmest of margins.
Best Song: Nobody’s Fault
Best Deep Cut: Nobody’s Fault
This is the pinnacle of Aerosmith albums. Featuring huge radio hits, Walk This Way, and Sweet Emotion, as well as the classic title cut, the record is relentless in churning out great song after great song. For my money, I would rather listen to deep cuts, Adam’s Apple, No More No More, Round and Round, and the underrated ballad, You See Me Crying over the singles. As if that isn’t enough, the tongue in cheek cover of, Big Ten Inch Record is a catchy fan favorite.
Best Song: Sweet Emotion
Best Deep Cut: No More No More