Aerosmith had a way of making the blues sound current and modern but for them to do that, they needed to jam.
But on “Just Push Play”, released in 2001, the majority of the album is co-written with Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson. It was recorded at eight different studios, so it would have been impossible to get all the band jamming and financially irresponsible to get the whole bands gear set up and then packed up and then transported and then set up again.
Joe Perry hates it. The Wikipedia entry for this album carries a 2010 quote from Perry which states;
I don’t think we’ve made a decent album in years.
Just Push Play is my least favorite.
When we recorded it there was never a point where all five members were in the room at the same time and Aerosmith’s major strength is playing together.
It was a learning experience for me: it showed me how not to make an Aerosmith record”.
From a sales point of view, Aerosmith was on a spiral down. The gaps between albums started to become every 4 years.
But not a lot of 70’s bands had a renaissance like Aerosmith when it came to album sales.
It started with “Permanent Vacation” released in 1987 and it has a 5x Platinum certification in the U.S.
“Pump” released in 1989 has a 7x Platinum certification in the U.S and “Get a Grip” released in 1993 has a 7x Platinum certification in the U.S.
These two albums are the pinnacle of Aerosmith’s comeback.
“Nine Lives” released in 1997 showed a downward trend as it has a 2x Platinum certification in the U.S and “Just Push Play” only has a Platinum certification in the U.S.
It sounds heavy and exotic while Kramer is channelling John Bonham, with his Kashmir like groove.
And it doesn’t sound anything like the blues, but that verse riff is a bluesy groove. If you don’t believe me, check out that bluesy solo in the outro which is played over the verse riff.
Just Push Play
“Walk This Way” gets a rewrite.
Even in the Chorus, instead of saying “Walk This Way”, Tyler is singing “Just Push Play”. Replacing three single syllable words with three other single syllable words.
And I like it.
Kramer lays down a groove, while Perry and Whitford bring out riffs that reminds me of bands like “The Foo Fighters”, “Filter”, “Matchbox 20” and “Tonic”.
Fly Away From Here
Piano ballads and Aerosmith go hand in hand.
While “Dream On” is my favourite, its “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” which is their streaming star, much to the disgust of Tyler and Perry.
While they were paid well for doing the song for the “Armageddon” movie, they didn’t think that it would become their most streamed song ever. Well they couldn’t have, because streaming didn’t exist back then.
For the numbers, “Dream On” is at 541.59 million Spotify streams and “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” is at 650.1 million Spotify streams.
And this one doesn’t have an Aerosmith member in the songwriting credits either.
But, there is this section which I call the Bridge, that reminds of a section in “Livin On The Edge”.
Its old school Aerosmith, jamming on a blues groove and writing about having a good time and getting laid.
With the addition of the horn section, the song takes on a Soul Rock feel.
I like this song.
The riff has this laid back feel which sort of reminds me of “Kings And Queens” and “Don’t Fear The Reaper” in the Verses.
And lyrically, Tyler is in his element here.
Under My Skin
Like the song “Beyond Beautiful”, this one is also a great example of taking the generic blues riffs and making em sound heavy and current.
The verses are my favourites here, how the guitar riff and the vocal melody are the same, and while they pause the horns mimic it.
In the Pre, there is a symphony, evoking memories of “Kashmir”.
A ballad that reminds me of songs like “What It Takes” and “Crazy”. Perry is bringing out his repertoire of country licks here.
Outta My Head
Another attempt to recreate “Walk This Way” in the verses, with a more modern Alanis Morrisette style Chorus.
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Check out the groove that Hamilton and Kramer set up to allow Perry and Whitford to play blues/jazz like 7ths and 9ths triads.
But the vocal melodies are pretty average.
Electronica drums start it off, but as soon as the fast bass riff from Hamilton kicks in, the song is anything but electronica.
Its heavy for an Aerosmith song. The Modern Rock sounds are different and I like it.
I think this is one of Aerosmith’s better ballads.
It has a chord progression that reminds me of “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Werewolves In London” in the verses and a Chorus which has this Beatles feel.
Check out the Bridge, very ELO with the violins and the debop backing vocals.
And finally, Perry gets a chance to do a guitar solo longer than 5 seconds.
And Perry goes a chance to go again in the outro.
Press play on the album just to check out this track.
Overall, it’s Aerosmith trying to be modern, trying to be bluesy, trying to have Arena Rock choruses and trying to have a bigger ballad to rival the ballad that they didn’t write.
At times it comes across confusing, but it’s still Aerosmith and I’m okay when artists don’t stick to formula and try something different.
But it’s not an album I push play on a lot.