Posts Tagged ‘ Aerosmith ’

Album of the Week 31-2017: The Joe Perry Project – Let The Music Do The Talking

Guitarist Joe Perry is often seen as the one who guards Aerosmith’s musical integrity next to Steven Tyler’s showmanship. Anyone with some in-depth knowledge about Aerosmith knows that grossly oversimplifies the band’s complicated dynamic, but it is a fact that during the Perry’s time away from the band, Perry released two excellent albums with The Joe Perry Project while Aerosmith released one mediocre record. And while sophomore album ‘I’ve Got The Rock ‘n’ Rolls Again’ of Perry’s project may have higher peaks, ‘Let The Music Do The Talking’ is one of the most consistently engaging bluesrock records of the early eighties.

First off, the title of the album is not without meaning, of course. It could be interpreted as a provocation towards Aerosmith, but it could also just represent the fact that Perry burned all the bridges behind him and decided to just focus on what he likes doing best in the first place: making music. Regardless, Perry sounds like a man unburdened on ‘Let The Music Do The Talking’. There is a spontaneity to this debut that some of the late seventies Aerosmith albums lacked, no matter how good they were. The songs sound raw and energetic, but not underdeveloped.

Another reason why ‘Let The Music Do The Talking’ sounds so fresh and spirited is the fact that Perry put together an excellent band. Nowhere is this more obvious than during the short, high octane instrumental ‘Break Song’. Drummer Ronnie Stewart and bassist David Hull are perfectly in sync with each other and Perry, ending up sounding positively on fire. The upbeat, uptempo closer ‘Life At A Glance’, the massive and somewhat dark ‘Shooting Star’, the swinging boogie of ‘Discount Dogs’ and especially the powerful, catchy title track that opens the record profit from the tight, spirited interplay of The Joe Perry Project.

In addition, adding a lead singer to his project was a great idea from Perry. His own voice is cool and a perfect fit for the dark, bluesy ‘The Mist Is Rising’ and the sarcastic tone of the strong rocker ‘Conflict Of Interest’, but his range is not particularly wide. The higher, more powerful registers of Ralph Morman are the perfect fit for songs that demand some more vocal prowess. His clean voice has a slight raw edge, which really lifts songs like ‘Let The Music Do The Talking’ and the otherwise somewhat mundane ‘Ready On The Firing Line’ to higher level. His duets with Perry work remarkably well too and should maybe have been featured more prominently here.

Without the big budget and the business acumen of Aerosmith’s management, ‘Let The Music Do The Talking’ never quite took off the way it should have, but the album is still available and very much worth checking out. Somehow, the record still sounds fresh today and I suspect that Perry’s drive is largely to blame for that. It may be a cliché, but the debut album of his Project – capital P – does actually let the music do the talking. There may be some bitterness in a few of the lyrics, but it does not dominate the record. The strong bluesrock songs and excellent performances do.

Recommended tracks: ‘Let The Music Do The Talking’, ‘Life At A Glance’, ‘Break Song’


Album of the Week 29-2013: Aerosmith – Gems

Reviewing compilation albums isn’t a thing I want to make a habit of. However, when one of those albums is compiled as well as ‘Gems’ is, it does deserve a special mention. Since the greatest hits a band has had aren’t necessarily the band’s best songs – and Aerosmith is one of the world’s most obvious examples of that statement – a compilation containing all of the better songs in the band’s discography that for some reason didn’t become huge MTV staples the way that ‘Love In An Elevator’, ‘Rag Doll’ and the absolutely nauseating ‘Angel’ were doesn’t seem all that bad of an idea.

In this case, the reason these songs didn’t turn out to be huge hits is most likely the fact that these songs are significantly heavier and harder rocking than most of the band’s hits. That makes ‘Gems’ the perfect accompanying piece for 1980’s ‘Greatest Hits’. That and the fact that there are no doubles. Where hits like ‘Sweet Emotion’, ‘Walk This Way’ and especially ‘Dream On’, most likely the finest power ballad ever written, represent Aerosmith at their most accessible, the material on ‘Gems’ shows us some of the best Bluesrock and early Heavy Metal tunes and therefore is essential for a complete image of what Aerosmith is really like.

When I was about ten years old and just getting into Rock music, ‘Gems’ was the fifth album or so that I ever bought and it’s the one I played most at the time. These are the songs that still get my blood pumping and boiling even now, almost two decades after getting acquainted with them. This would be a good listen for people who throw Aerosmith on the same pile as the likes of Bon Jovi based on their late eighties, early nineties second heyday. The low, heavy riffing of ‘Round And Round’ and ‘Nobody’s Fault’ – coincidentally both Brad Whitford compositions – and the dirty riff ‘n’ roll of ‘Rats In The Cellar’ and ‘Mama Kin’ is sure to surprise those people.

Had ‘One Way Street’ been on this compilation, my entire Aerosmith top three would have been on here. The jam-heavy ‘Rats In The Cellar’ and the down ‘n’ dirty, sexy groove of the downright brilliant ‘Lord Of The Thighs’ are the other two and are essential listening for fans of early Hardrock. Other highlights of Aerosmith’s discography included here are the raucous Yardbirds cover ‘Train Kept A Rollin”, the bluesy tale of their signing that is ‘No Surprize’ (lead-off track to their criminally underrated ‘Night In The Ruts’ album), the insane ‘Jailbait’ and the heavy ‘Lick And A Promise’.

Okay, there should most certainly be a difference between a “greatest hits” and a “best of” album. Naturally, a “best of” can contain hits and Aerosmith has certainly had a few big hits that were among their best songs as well, but releasing a compilation with only non-hits is a ballsy, though artistically satisfying move. Of course, eventually you should own every Aerosmith studio album – save for maybe the horrible ‘Just Push Play’ and the directionless ‘Done With Mirrors’ and ‘Rock In A Hard Place – but this is a nice way to get acquainted to their darker, heavier and better side.

Recommended tracks: ‘Lord Of The Thighs’, ‘Rats In The Cellar’, ‘No Surprize’