I heard someone say once that your favorite James Bond movie is always the one that came out when you were a pubescent teenager. I’m pretty sure the same applies to music and these next two albums are it for me: Aerosmith Permanent Vacation (1987) and Pump (1989). Filled with songs of love gained (and lost), desire, and just rocking good party times, these never get old for me. In my mind, I always view these albums as a continuum of one great project, but for the sake of the playlist I’ll try to break them into two parts.
Quite possibly the most complete album in my collection, this one is great start to finish. So much, that the one real single off this album, Dude Looks Like a Lady, just kind of blends into the listening experience as it rolls past. As with Pump, it’s an extremely rich production experience. It has a bunch of auxiliary instruments and sounds added in to give more depth to the music and it’s done in such a way that it doesn’t distract from the main elements.
Steven Tyler (vocals and harmonica) and Joe Perry (guitar) get most of the glory in this band, but I feel like the main driving force to this album and Pump is the drummer, Joey Kramer. He kicks off the album forcefully and doesn’t stop until it’s over. His drums are mixed perfectly with plenty of punch and just kick ass the whole way. I’m a guitarist, so it really is saying something for me to notice him over the other stars of the band.
I recommend listening to the entire album, but at very least listen to the first couple minutes and you’ll hear what I’m talking about. Joey Kramer, Aerosmith’s unsung hero.
NOTE: If you have high quality headphones or speakers, please listen on those. The crappy little laptop speakers most have will not do this justice.
What can I say about this album that I haven’t already said about Permanent Vacation? These two are extremely complex and rich. There’s a sprinkling of Native American sounds on this album, which is think is really cool and done well. I think I even heard pipes or some kind of synth among other things on Janie’s Got a Gun.
For as over produced as these albums are, they’re still raw and full of emotion, which is why I think they resonate so much with me. At their heart, they’re still solid blues rock albums that kick out the jams. You can feel the hurt in Tell Me What It Takes and longing in Angel. Even though these guys are mega rock stars, these two come from a place that’s underneath all that exterior.
Well, that’s it until next time,when I continue with more Aerosmith and a review that’s not so nice.