Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Aerosmith Get Your Wings (1974)

MUDD593From starling.rinet.ru

An entirely different matter already – this is vintage Seventies hard rock at its most glaring and obvious, dude. Dark, sleazy, no respect for the authorities, let alone all them fuckmachines of the female sex.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to go crazy all over it, and I’m absolutely not crazy about the average vibe of most (heck, all) of these songs. Aerosmith’s image as that of an offensive cock rock band had now been firmly established – just compare the black album cover of the album with the innocent sky tones of the debut – and the singing, lyrics and melodies all tend to confirm to that image as close as possible. Even that could be forgettable if they’d bothered to come up with better melodies. On the average, they did not.

About the only exception from the rule this time around is the power ballad ‘Seasons Of Wither’, basically ‘Dream On Take 2’ but without the riff stolen from Big Brother. A lot of people like it, but I find it as melodically trivial as a pumpkin and, moreover, completely lacking any convincing emotion. (And whoever believed that Aerosmith, at that point, could really sound emotional even if they wanted to? Sure they were no AC/DC, but wouldn’t it be better if they had given up on ballads altogether? Not only would it manage to solidify their image at the time, it would also spare us the grief of having to contemplate an endless run of Alicia Silverstones on our MTV screen). No, scrap that, emotion it actually got.

It just doesn’t care to wrap it up in an interesting or less than trivial form. Anyway, even when taken on a purely objective level, the remaining seven rockers are very much hit and miss. I count one great original song on the album, the magic opener ‘Same Old Song And Dance’ which is Mark Prindle’s famous Aerosmith song and rightly so (that’s his only excuse for digging derivative offensive cock rock so much). Two reasons prompt me to highlight it. First, it features the only good riff on the entire record, with Joe Perry giving it his all; on most of the other songs, he either indulges in standard boogie or relies way too heavily on power chords. Second, it’s one of those select few Aerosmith classics where Tyler sounds really interesting – with that weird tremolo on his voice, it seems as if he were intentionally imitating Marc Bolan, and indeed, the song doesn’t stray too far away from T-Rex’s trashy, but fascinating glam formula. The saxes add some depth, too. And some glam-rock flavouring, very much of the times… although maybe just a wee bit behind the times, actually. Well now, everybody needs time to adjust to reality, even Aerosmith.

Elsewhere, nearly every song has something going for it, but has also something going against it. ‘Lord Of The Thighs’ is the best bet for good old silver: it has a solid drive, but sounds way too dumb and obnoxious without compensating for it with a memorable riff – like a perfunctory anthem to the Great God of Cock Rock. I’d be more pleased if it were an instrumental, with that fast keyboard rhythm being the song’s basis during all of its length, not just during the instrumental interludes. Still, credit must be given – it’s multi-part and quite experimental (for the Aerosmith level, of course), and its dumbness may be easily passed off for humour if you want it.

Their famous cover of ‘Train Kept A-Rollin’ used to leave me cold – most probably because I was quite familiar with the somewhat more exciting Yardbirds version (later inherited by Led Zeppelin who often performed it live, and from Led Zeppelin it supposedly came over to Aerosmith). But the decision to convert it into a two-part format, exploring both its “slower” and “faster” possibilities, was a good one, and where the Yardbirds used it essentially as a vehicle to see what unusual things could be done with a basic blues-rocker, such as their ‘irregular’ vocalizing and Beck’s fiery, but restrained and relatively “academic-style” solos, Aerosmith just milk its ass-kickin’ potential for all its worth. So both versions are about equally, but differently worthy.

Things get somewhat less stimulating after you’ve acknowledged the merits of these three songs and moved on, though. ‘S.O.S. (Too Bad)’ is decent, but passable – for some reason, the song highly resembles all those corny Rod Stewart synth rockers recorded in his worst period, only without the sometimes saving benefit of Rod’s voice (yeah, I know ‘Too Bad’ has no synths, but believe me, the problem doesn’t lie within the instrumentation); ‘Woman Of The World’ simply got to be one of the dumbest and (what’s much worse) yawn-inducing piece of cocky shit ever commited to tape; and ‘Pandora’s Box’ has about the same reason for existence as your average KISS song, except it’s longer than the average KISS song by two minutes at least. Okay, the chorus is mildly catchy (because it’s so repetitive). But it doesn’t even sound real sexy or anything. At least they’re familiar with Greek mythology.

The only thing on here that even vaguely approaches ‘experimental’ is the minor dark epic ‘Spaced’, opening with forty minutes of chaotic noise and continuing on a pretentious, self-elevating note. That said, it’s just as melodically primitive as most of the other stuff on here, and Tyler’s fits of vomit after each verse seem to hint that the state of being “spaced” is really quite a down-to-earth sort of procedure, if you follow me. An unfittable “climax” to an unfittable, if not completely senseless, album. As with every cock-rock album put out by a half-talented cock-rock band, its material could have been put to better use in somebody else’s hands, but ‘Same Old Song And Dance’ and maybe a couple other tracks still make it a worthwhile purchase for a price of ten cents total. The rest is… eh… why don’t you go out and buy some Stones instead. (There, I couldn’t help myself).

PS. After careful consideration, I still ended up giving this a 10. After all, three real good songs out of eight ain’t that bad, and only a couple other tracks can be labelled as ‘offensive’. Besides, there really is no super-amazing wide gap between this one and Toys In The Attic: the latter is simply more refined when it comes to displaying sexual aggression, and has Perry finally coming up with awesome riffs on a regular rather than severely occasional basis.

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May 6, 2013 - Posted by | Aerosmith Get Your Wings |

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