Just Push Play
steve's score: 2.5 out of 5.0
paul's score: 4.0 out of 5.0
buy it: here
Stuff or a New Beginning?
jacobetz and paul
Aerosmith have returned with their latest studio album, Just
Push Play. The album is flying off the shelves, but is there
more to the album than the new single? Our reviewers have a disagreeance
on this - read on for both sides of the story:
The way you
feel about modern-day Aerosmith depends on your personal musical
If you like
pop/rock specifically tailored for radio and video airplay, then
to you today's Aerosmith is great. Just Push Play is another
album in this vein continuing in the style of 90s albums like
Get A Grip and Nine Lives.
you prefer a more raw, raunchy, straight guitar rock sound which
is much more simply produced, then you prefer the albums from
the 70s. You feel Aerosmith has sold its soul in the last 15 years
in return for continued commercial success.
of Aerosmith is really the story of two completely different bands
with these opposing musical philosophies. Amazingly, the band
members are exactly the same.
may stem from a lack of confidence on the part of the band members.
In the mid-80s, the band was at a crossroads in its career. The
reunion album, Done With Mirrors was a commercial disappointment,
so the powers that be at Geffen Records made the band work with
a string of collaborators, professional songwriters, in order
to make the band more commercially attractive. It worked. 1987's
Permanent Vacation started a new wave of success which
the band has ridden since then.
is, the band quickly started to believe that it needed songwriting
help in order to function. In a 1990 behind-the scenes documentary
on the making of the Pump album, Steven Tyler says that
he needs these people to make sense out of the bits and pieces
in his head. From there, the influence of the record companies
only got more dominant, until we get to where we are today.
is big business, a corporate machine. The mission is to be "America's
best band." Albums take four years to craft to perfection.
The band plays the Super Bowl halftime show, sharing its 70s classic
"Walk This Way" with other prominent pop stars of the
day, like Britney Spears and N'Sync. In reality, the band is just
like those other artists now.
shared the same song with rappers Run-DMC 15 years ago, it was
a groundbreaking social statement about brotherhood between the
races. The Super Bowl is pure corporate promotional manipulation.
No time for social commentary now, this is business. It's on to
promotional appearances on Letterman, Saturday Night Live, Good
Morning America and what have you. This is the life of America's
biggest pop band. There's no stopping this machine now.
at the songwriting credits on the new album. Not a single song
was written without the aid of a collaborator. In fact, band members
get no writing credit on the ballad, "Fly Away From Here."
Guess what? That song will be one of the singles.
the way it's always been. By comparison, no collaborators at all
appeared on the 1976 album Rocks. That album produced classics
like, "Back In The Saddle" and "Last Child."
That album is considered by band members and many critics to be
the pinnacle of the band's 70s output. It's songs like those,
and "Walk This Way" "Sweet Emotion" and "Dream
On" etc. that got the band inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame, not the recent stuff.
The new pop
songs won't last more than a couple of years. They're not designed
to. A new batch will replace them in a few years. Do you still
hear people talking about songs like "Cryin'" "Crazy"
and "Amazing"? No, but "Walk This Way" lives
forever. What does this tell you? Aerosmith did a fine job of
writing its own material back in the day.
current bands wanted to be like Aerosmith. Now it seems Aerosmith
wants to be like current bands. The title track of the new album,
"Just Push Play" has Tyler singing in "Jamaican
patois" giving the song a feel similar to the Red Hot Chilli
Peppers' "Give It Away." It's good to experiment, but
this sounds too much like a calculated attempt to sound contemporary.
again on "Outta Your Head." Others like "Drop Dead
Gorgeous" feature industrial guitar effects and plenty of
vocal effects like back-masking. The attempt to approximate the
sound of popular rap-metal bands like Rage Against The Machine
and Limp Bizkit is clear. This is not your father's Aerosmith.
However, there's a 60s psychedelic sound that pervades the vocals
on most tracks that betrays them and reveals their age and their
roots after all.
Play is too slick and overproduced to be fresh and interesting.
If you listen close enough, you can still hear some cool guitar
riffs from Joe Perry, traces of the power and swagger that used
to be the band's core, but it's buried under so much studio production,
it's hard to hear the germ of inspiration that was there when
these songs were first written. Corporate control is too intense.
will do fine. Ballads like "Jaded" "Fly Away From
Here" and "Luv Lies" will draw in female fans.
Just Push Play will be another big commercial success, but something
was lost. Where's the soul, the spontaneity? The loss of personality
and total creative control is the price of success.
To some, Aerosmith
is one of the greatest musical tragedies in rock and roll history.
To others, the band is bigger now than ever. Wherever you stand,
one thing is certain; there's no going back to the past. The corporate
machine has control. It's big business. That's just the way it
is, so accept it for what it is. Nothing is going to change anytime
Second Coming of Aerosmith
soon will achieve the rare feat of being inducted into the rockhall
of fame and releasing a huge commercially successful album of
original material in the same year. Their latest release, Just
Push Play, shows that Aerosmith wants to stake the claim as
America's greatest current rock and roll band and that they don't
plan on becoming a museum piece anytime soon.
Play is Aerosmith's best outing since 1989's Pump.
The production of the album, which was handled by Steven Tyler,
Joe Perry and songwriting partners Marti Frederiksen and Mark
Hudson under the pseudonym the "Boneyard Boys", provides
an excellent balance that allows the album to sound current without
sterilizing the distinctive dirty raw edge that makes the band
great. This element had been missing in their last few releases.
the lead single off the album is already a smash on rock radio
and there are more hits to follow. "Beyond Beautiful"
and "Outta Your Head" are solid tracks that provide
great riffs, soaring catchy choruses and Tyler lyrics full of
sexual double- entandre (All this time did you ever think / do
the girl see red/ when the man sees pink), which are all trademarks
of classic Aerosmith.
aspect of their music that the band has rediscovered here is their
great use of horns. The Tower of Power horns provided a solid
groove on "Trip Hoppin'" which happens to be the best
track on the album. "Drop Dead Gorgeous" rocks as hard
as any song on the album, although I can't quite figure out what
Joe Perry is doing on lead vocals.
"Fly Away From Here" is a blatant effort at repeating
the success of their monster ballad from a few summers back "I
Don't Want To Miss A Thing". The song will no doubt be a
major hit and another multi-million dollar video on MTV starring
a young Hollywood starlet can't be far behind.
It may be
true that Tyler and Perry are no longer the "toxic twins"
and this album won't make the band's true fans forget Rocks anytime
soon but on Just Push Play the new millennium version of
Aerosmith has shown that, thirty years on, it can still keep up
with the times and is probably still America's greatest true rock
and roll band.
liked Just Push Play...