Aerosmith Album By Album Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Rose River Bear, May 1, 2022.

  1. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    I really like Draw the Line. When I first got onboard with 70s Aerosmith (I was brought there ca. 1988, by GN’R Lies and “Mama Kin,” like a lot of folks), I had no idea of the relative critical standing of the different 70s albums. I loved all of them up through and including Night in the Ruts. Still do.

    I didn’t know (at the time) that critics disregarded Draw the Line & Night in the Ruts. It was an early lesson in how critics miss things, at times.

    Draw the Line is missing some of the layered production that made “Rocks” so interesting & deep. It’s supremely scuzzy. At times it sounds almost mono. It’s, dare I say it, slightly punky. For some reason, “I Wanna Know Why” sounds noticeably clearer than the other tracks. “Critical Mass” is a great & frantic track, full of edginess. Tyler sounds magnificently deranged, pretty wasted and sleazy throughout.

    I generally don’t do “fantasy” type lyrics (so no Rainbow for me), but “Kings and Queens” sounds so great that I can overlook the fantasy lyrics. The Bernard Herrmann strings bit is beautifully integrated. When I learned that Brad plays the icy-toned solo, I took notice. That was when I realized he’s Aerosmith’s secret weapon.
     
  2. Mark7

    Mark7 Forum Resident

    I LOVE Draw The Line..."Side A" is like being on a rollercoaster, just a rollicking effort from DTL to Bright Light Fright. Love blasting it in the car. "Side B" slows a bit but still is solid. It's definitely not as polished as Toys and Rocks, but that's what makes it great IMHO...just some sloppy, almost-off-the-rails, kick a** rock and roll! To me this sounds like progress from the Toys and Rocks, though the tunes were not as commercially accessible.
     
  3. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    Yeah, my opinion is that DTL was the final stop on the classic album list for Aerosmith. The highs for me - the title track, "Bright Light Fright" (Joe Perry almost going punk rock - who knew) and "Sight For Sore Eyes" are good, but it's the first album in a while that there are at least as many "meh" moments as standouts. I listened to the album yesterday in the car and was immediately hit by "I Wanna Know Why" sounding to me like a let down from the charged title track. I thought it was like a five-minute song and later saw that it was like only 3 minutes.

    Also, I have to note: I don't think "Kings And Queens" is that good. Sorry not sorry.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022
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  4. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    Good point on that. This album definitely sounds like there was less attention paid to how it sounded, or at least less focus on those sounds. Beyond "Kings And Queens," everything is pretty much fuzzed-up guitars and futzed-up Tyler.
     
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  5. 9 Volt

    9 Volt That cat's something I can't explain

    Location:
    L.A.
    The stripped down, almost punk rock production and raw in-yer-face immediacy of the tracks are exactly what make this album so endearing to me. It’s almost like listening to a demo tape with all that pure energy that many times goes missing on the finished album. Not here though. It’s all guts and no gimmicks.
     
  6. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    Draw the Line is a pretty dour album. At no point does this sound like anyone’s having fun. Blasted, maybe - numb, wasted as can be. But on the first three albums, the band sound like they’re having a great time, figuring out what they’re capable of. It’s still there on “Rocks,”too (although a darkness has crept in), but Draw the Line, while celebrating decadence, is a decidedly un-fun record. And I mean that as a compliment. It’s like a well-earned hangover from hell, after the best night out ever.
     
  7. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    "Excessive living" is a pretty fun euphemism.
     
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  8. 9 Volt

    9 Volt That cat's something I can't explain

    Location:
    L.A.
    I agree to a certain extent. There are indeed some very lackluster moments here. But listen to the high energy levels on tracks like The Hand That Feeds and the title track. Especially Tyler’s vocals. At the very least it sounds like he’s having a blast. My adrenaline shoots up like a rocket when I hear some of these tunes. To me that’s the mark of a great rock song.
     
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  9. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    Oh, when I say that, I don’t mean it as a criticism. It’s just a darker album than just about all their others. Even RIAHP has more “fun” moments than this one, and Toys is practically a backyard summer BBQ. This is cold & filthy. It’s near-impossible to imagine that this is the same band who did all those Get a Grip ballads… It’s hard to listen to this album closely & imagine these same guys playing the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
     
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  10. John Fell

    John Fell Forum Survivor

    Location:
    Undisclosed
    Sounds like a good name for a band.
     
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  11. 9 Volt

    9 Volt That cat's something I can't explain

    Location:
    L.A.
    Yeah I got what you meant. I really dig that raw, in your face down and dirty ‘We’re rock stars so we don’t give a damn’ attitude that’s plastered all over Draw The Line. The best art in any genre is a delicate balance of shadows and light and that’s exactly what we’ve got here.
     
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  12. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member Thread Starter

    Thanks for that but at this point, feel free to comment on Draw The Line. I guess I should not complain since posts will be far and few between going forward. Also, I will not be able to post something until tomorrow. :wave:
     
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  13. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    I consider RRB's posts to be the definitive description of the album. The rest is us just adding our two cents.
     
  14. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    “Get It Up” sounds like a strip club anthem, but the lyrics pretty much kill that possibility - can you imagine a song that seems to be about substance-induced e.d. being popular in strip clubs? That’s the kind of album this is. Dysfunction abounds.

    Tom Hamilton completely rules on “Critical Mass,” also.
     
  15. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    Very good post. I’d like to amplify on “Big Ten Inch” here..
    And this is NOT a criticism of your opinion, just a counter feeling about it.

    First, BTI IS a novelty song, very much so. But To me it’s absolutely perfect ending side one of the album. PERFECT.
    The reason being that it shows the bands humor, and that’s one of the reasons I Love the Stones so much, they let their humor come through once in a while, it gives balance especially on their heavier albums, and that’s what Aerosmith provides here, and the execution is flawless.
    Now as a novelty song, if BTI was executed in a less then professional way, it would be horrible, but we don’t have that here. Being a lover of swing Jazz and Blues they put this song across in a way that gives it total validity on an otherwise very heavy and sometimes very DARK album, and that’s Just what the album needed. It’s NOT. A joke, it’s done so well that it’s both funny at the double entendres and it swings like the best Jazz records do. That’s no mean feat from a band, a hard rock band, on their 3rd album. If the band and the song had no integrity it would have been a joke, but it’s not.

    Very much like “Octapus’s Garden lightens up the mood right before the super heavy “I Want You” on the Beatles Abbey Road, BTI does what it’s supposed to do, end the side lightening things up a bit while swinging like crazy, pays homage to Tyler’s dad’s generation of music, (lookee Dad, we pulled one off for you and Mom), and sets up “Sweet Emotion” as the perfect opening to side two.

    In fact it works So well that in this case, side 2 of Toys could easily be side 1 of the album, There are VERY few albums where that happens. Very few. And much like the Stones “Far Away Eyes” it would be a joke if it wasn’t so well done. So you can’t laugh at it. I remember thinking that Far Away Eyes was So good at being real country music, that the Stones should have released it as a single for Country radio. When a song is done so we’ll, it’s not a joke, it’s the real thing and a gift the bans give us to show a bit of their roots going way back . McCartney did this identical thing with “Martha My Dear” on the white album.
    That song is scary because it NAILS the Jazz vibe from back in the 40’s, and pulls it off in the (then) modern day on a rock album. That song is NoT a joke, it’s a testament to how good the Beatles also were at pulling something like that off.


    So I understand your opinion and it’s valid, I just wanted to show a different opinion to it.
    And Toys IS my favorite Smith album. Toys isn’t far behind it, just a hair, but Toys is Dangerous, while Rocks marked the band going under the Big Tent, and they would never again have that danger factor, It would just get more and more circus like until their albums turned into perfect radio product.

    Long Live Toys In The Attic!

    Beave
     
  16. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    Same reason Martin brought in Andy White on drums.
    In a studio setting Douglas wasn’t getting what he wanted on Train fromJoe or Brad, so he brought in session men who could do it without WAISTING PRECIOUS STUDIO TIME.
    BEAVE
     
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  17. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    You nailed it with “Dysfunction abounds”.
    The album rocks hard, but the SWAGGER is gone. The lyrics, instead of being cock sure like GYW or Toys is now winey. “Why is everybody picking on me? Very apparent at what effect the drug use was having on the band, and it’s sad. Again, the album Rocks, but there’s very little connection, emotionally from the lyrics I could relate to. Again drugs rear their ugly head on a band that from this point forward would progressively become a caricature of itself.

    I still love it though.
    Beave
     
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  18. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    Bingo!
    BeaVe
     
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  19. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    Me too, and you sum it up well.

    I wonder if the album would’ve been better received in ‘77 if it was spelled out that this isn’t exactly “Rocks” part II - maybe instead of Draw the Line, they should’ve titled it something like “all of our dreams have come true, and it’s ruining our lives!”
     
  20. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    "Critical Mass" is one of the highlights of DTL.
    Listening to these albums over the past several days really reminds me how much Aerosmith used harmonica. You don't hear that instrument so much nowadays....
     
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  21. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member Thread Starter

    [​IMG]
    Draw The Line
    Draw the Line (Aerosmith album) - Wikipedia

    Track listing

    Side one
    No. Title Writer(s) Length
    1.
    "Draw the Line" Steven Tyler, Joe Perry 3:23
    2. "I Wanna Know Why" Tyler, Perry 3:09
    3. "Critical Mass" Tyler, Tom Hamilton, Jack Douglas 4:53
    4. "Get It Up" Tyler, Perry 4:02
    5. "Bright Light Fright" Perry 2:19
    Side two
    No. Title Writer(s) Length
    1.
    "Kings and Queens" Tyler, Brad Whitford, Hamilton, Joey Kramer, Douglas 4:55
    2. "The Hand That Feeds" Tyler, Whitford, Hamilton, Kramer, Douglas 4:23
    3. "Sight for Sore Eyes" Tyler, Perry, Douglas, David Johansen 3:56
    4. "Milk Cow Blues" Kokomo Arnold 4:14

    Personnel

    Aerosmith
    Guest musicians
    • Stan Bronstein – saxophone on "I Wanna Know Why" and "Bright Light Fright"
    • Scott Cushnie – piano on "I Wanna Know Why" and "Critical Mass"
    • Karen Lawrence – backing vocals on "Get It Up"
    • Jack Douglas – mandolin on "Kings and Queens"
    • Paul Prestopino – acoustic guitar, banjo guitar on "Kings and Queens"
    Production
     
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  22. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member Thread Starter

    Draw The Line

    Draw The Line
    I will post a full music breakdown on the title track. 10/10

    I Wanna Know Why
    A cool boogie that would make Status Quo proud. A neat twist on a 16 bar blues with shifts and turns in 22 bars that keeps the tension high. I like the passing chords between the standard blues shifts. The chorus is a memorable one as well. Another song from the band that takes simple chord changes and makes it unique with variations to the usual stuff. 8/10

    Critical Mass
    Backwards guitars lead the song off. Another boogie based song with a killer groove from Tom on bass. The chorus at :32 is another winner with Steven cranking it out. A quick key change leads back to the verse and Steven resets the melody…great move that adds to the variety of what could be a boring song without it. Subtle rhythmic and melodic changes all thru the song help keep it going. A testament of how a great band can make a simple chord progression sound interesting. The outro really pile drives and eventually eats itself but then returns for another go at it with effects on the guitars. Padding? Not IMO. 8/10

    Get It Up
    Opens with slide guitar that reminds me of Johnny Winter. The verse is like a hard rock Hooker boogie. John Lee that is. The chorus gets funky with tricky stops and starts and a jazzy line. The break is another example of how a flashy solo is not always the right formula. The chorus follows with some added vocals from Karen Lawrence in the background. The final verse adds more guitars to the arrangement, and it gets dense but in a cool way. A jam/grove follows that leads to a quick utterance of the chorus that brings the song to its conclusion. Great stuff. 9/10

    Bright Light Fright
    Darn near sounds like a surf song will follow that opening riff but I jest. A ramrodding rhythm pounds out and then the verse follows. I am sure that Joe had the chorus to Jumpin’ Jack Flash in mind when he wrote this. The chord changes are similar. The star here is Joey with a tough downbeat on the drums. Strict to the blues, no distinct chorus or contrasting sections per se. I like Joe’s vocals. Lots of attitude. Decent song for me. A testament to how the guys can dial it up to stun. 7/10

    Kings and Queens
    I will do a detailed take on this fine song. 10/10

    The Hand That Feeds
    This is a strange one to say the least. The best way I can describe it is a drone boogie blues with a chorus that is a simple rise out. A nod to Lick and A Promise in the bridge section tail. Spitfire guitars abound. The break is a blues bend fest. After the chorus at 2:45 a Yardbirds like rave-up enters with everyone sounding like they are trying to bully every other instrument. Sort of humorous and like I said…..strange and unusual and……real loose. 7/10

    Sight For Sore Eyes
    It sounds like David Jo showed Steven some of the drum things he was hearing in New York clubs at the time. The song has some funk chords that I think are a first for the band. Damn near a disco four bar to the beat from Joey. The break has Joe with a skittering solo that fits the bill. The chorus follows and outros the song with a long jam. Trademark legato Steven vocals that fill the landscape in. Some of the guitars sound clumsy but that adds to the danger for me. 7/10

    Milk Cow Blues
    Funky cover is decent but at times Steven sounds like he could give a crap at this point in the album. Does not really connect with me for most of the song but the break goes hard rock and is a nice repast. Everyone has covered the song and added their own style to it and for what its worth, Aerosmith do make it their own with the changes to the structure and the repeating riffs. Makes me think of how the NY Dolls would have covered it so I guess I am forced to like it overall. 7/10

    This is one of those albums that I don’t play as much as other albums by the band but, when I do, it reminds me of how tough they can sound. There are no unique transparent riffs with open strings, no dreamy chord fragments and such. Instead, a torrent of rock noise. Someone else stated that at times the production sounds close to mono and that appeals to me on some level. No distinct melodic guitar solos but in some ways, a thoughtful change from the usual. This album took me a while to warm up to, but it has grown on me over time.
     
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  23. Doomster

    Doomster Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    That’s a fabulous defense of “Big Ten Inch Record” … I’m not quite sure the song deserves such high quality advocacy, so bravo!

    For me, the musicianship is there - it’s just that I just find the core gag too corny / lame to get over, or to listen to multiple times, and so for me, it weakens the album.

    On this thread, I’m in the minority. :help:
     
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  24. Spitfire

    Spitfire Senior Member

    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Draw The Line

    To me this was the end of the classic run of Aerosmith albums and the last studio album I would buy new for quite some time. Kind of a different vibe from Rocks as the drugs and heavy touring were starting to take a toll. Highlights for me are the title track, I Wanna Know Why, Get It Up and Sight For Sore Eyes. 7.5/10
     
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  25. Doomster

    Doomster Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Worth the wait - looking forward to the individual song break downs.
     
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