(Picture from Rolling Stone)
I first became a fan of Aerosmith in the 1990s. When I first learned of them it was in the Get A Grip, Big Ones, and Nine Lives days. Although, upon doing my research, which at that time was a music store and talking to the stoners who worked there, I discovered their early stuff. I much preferred the earlier tracks. Nothing against Crazy, Livin on the Edge, or Cryin, I enjoy those songs, but for me its tough to beat Sweet Emotion, Toys in the Attic and Walk This Way.
Yesterday I listened to the album Toys in the Attic all the way through for the first time in quite awhile. I forgot how great it is to put on some good headphones and listen to a full album. The way each song is crafted and ordered is thought out, which i think is lacking today, especially when it comes to radio play, but that’s another post altogether. Also, I avoided getting too deep lyrically, as I am looking at more the music and album as a whole.
Right out of the bat, this album kicks you in the teeth with the title track, a fast-paced raw riff. Steven Tyler’s vocals are great, as this is back when he actually sang, and not so much screamed or thought scatting would be cool. This leads into a bit slower Uncle Salty, but it by no means slows down the tone.
Next is Adam’s Apple, with a more bluesy guitar and a sexually charged version of the Garden of Eden tale. Then we get to Walk This Way which speaks for itself: great riff, vocals and about as iconic as it gets. Oh, it can also be turned into a hip hop hit, not many songs can boast such a thing.
Big Ten Inch Record is a swing-inspired, and wait for it, full of sexual innuendo track. But once again, Tyler singing is great. The next is my personal favorite Aerosmith song, and in my opinion one of the best songs ever, Sweet Emotion. The slow, and low build up which opens into a harmony of the title, then here comes a Joe Perry guitar riff, raw and loud. It mixes perfectly with Tyler’s solo vocals, then into a quicker riff, back to the original, then more harmonizing. Perfection.
No More No More has the difficult task of following a classic, but this piano infused track, does a decent job of it. Some heavy guitars mix in well and it does its job. The second to last track, Round And Round, is a methodical, drum-heavy, plodding track. Tyler’s vocals crescendo at the end of each verse, which mixes well with the drumming, with the backup vocals covering the chorus.
You See Me Crying finishes off the album, with more piano and a slower tempo than the rest. Its a nice, calming finish to an epic album really. Tyler really shows off some vocal range, and there is even a string section that shows up. A fitting ending in my opinion.
One of the main reasons I love this album is its overall sound. It’s raw, unpolished and what Aerosmith started as and why people loved them to begin with. The guitars are nasty and gritty, the drums are booming, and the vocals are perfection. Even the harmonizing on Sweet Emotion sounds raw. It’s why I like rock, its what its supposed to be, hap-hazard and loud.