Album Review: Aerosmith – Aerosmith (1973)

“Every time when I look in the mirror, all these lines on my face getting clearer”

Aerosmith

Rating : 8/10

Coming straight out of Boston, Massachusetts – ladies and gentlemen, I give you…AEROSMITH! Wow, just look at that cover picture. Long hair, unbuttoned shirts, “I-don’t-give-a-fuck” attitude shown on their facial expressions – isn’t this the image of a budding rock star? But will they make it?

Well, this Wikipedia site tells me they’ve sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, so I guess the answer is yes. But why don’t we go back in time for a bit and see what their debut has to offer. The band doesn’t really step out of their comfort zone – much of this record gravitates between bluesy rockers – some slower, some with a bit of a hard edge added, but most important, all handled convincingly enough. Maybe we can’t yet mention masterfulness, but hey, rock is not about perfectionism anyway, is it? It’s about attitude! And this little band’s got plenty o’ attitude, that’s for sure. Proofs are present at every step – the guitar tones, Perry’s kick-ass solos and even Tyler’s gruff vocal performances. Rarely would the “Screamin’ Demon” return to this singing style in the future (perhaps he gained a little bit more self-confidence?) but he was a fine, distinct singer from the very beginning, nevertheless.

When speaking about stone-cold classics, you need to look no further than ‘Mama Kin’ – a song that is mostly well-known today (Guns ‘N’ Roses certainly had a hand in that), even though not really making an impact of any sorts back in ’73, charting-wise. But man, from Perry’s cool, energy-blasting guitar riff to Tyler’s almost-incomprehensible mumble, everything comes together perfectly – resulting in an exciting, exuberant and effective rocker that would cement Aerosmith’s persona for the next 13 years. Just as good (if less relevant for the band’s image) is the unbearably-overplayed ‘Dream On’, a power ballad lost in a sea of rockers. The song’s got its fair share of haters (a 23-year old Joe Perry being one of them), and I must admit, after growing up with “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing – Amazing – Angel – Crying – Crazy” as a soundtrack, I’m not too keen on associating Aerosmith with ballads either. But fortunately, ‘Dream On’ is miles and miles above any of those songs on every front imaginable: atmosphere, delivery, lyrics, unpredictability (what a stunning build-up!) and most of all, sheer emotional power. Simply put, it is one of those classics that fully deserves its status.

Other than that, we all may have our own personal favourites. ‘Movin’ Out’ holds a special significance for me (as I’m sure it does for Tyler and Perry, since it’s the first song they ever wrote together), and I’ve always loved how it shifts from gritty (the beginning) to a bit more bouncy and optimistic (the chorus), then sort of contemplative (the bridge), before finally ending the same way it started. Of course, it’s only understandable if you consider other songs to be highlights, since every single one of them has something to offer. And that’s the key to what makes ‘Aerosmith’ deserve the rating of 8: it’s a fine debut album with no weak spots that also establishes Aerosmith as an original and promising band. Soon enough they would write even better tunes and rock even harder, but that doesn’t make this record any less recommended of a listen.

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4 replies

  1. Nice write-up – I’d say Joe Perry is one of the great underrated guitarists.

    Like

  2. This one and TOYS IN THE ATTIC are my two all-time favorite Aerosmith albums. Definitely from an era when bands put out all-killer-no-filler albums.

    Like

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