Big Ones

Aerosmith

Geffen Records, 1994

http://www.aerosmith.com

REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/14/2000

Whenever people talk about big-time comebacks, the name of Boston's raunchiest boys always comes up. It's to the point that the band has tried to move somewhat away from their past and continue their thriving career. Nevertheless, it seems that their legacy will be that of a great band that was torn apart by its abuse of drugs and the bloated egos that got in between before they cleaned up their act to return as one of the bigger arena-rock acts of the late 80s and 90s.

That means that Aerosmith's story will be forever thought of in two halves. The first as the 70s hard-rock arena band made up of hungry youths that wrote some of the dirtiest, funkiest rock around. Meanwhile, the second will speak of them as seasoned vets who went through a lot to put their band together during the glam rock days of the 80s and reached even greater success than before. Big Ones focuses on the Geffen days of that second era.

Or rather, it focuses on the big success they had while at Geffen. You will notice that Aerosmith's Geffen debut, Done With Mirrors, is surprisingly absent from this compilation. Instead, what lies here are the big hits from Aerosmith's chart-topping albums, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Permanent Vacation, Pump and Get A Grip. Even then, it's only the successful songs - don't expect any surprises here.

Well, for this album, the band did do two new songs, "Walk On Water" and "Blind Man." Of the two, "Blind Man" is the more radio-friendly and accessible. However, on repeat listens, "Walk On Water" turns out to be the better of the two songs. It's more in-tune with Aerosmith's funkiest while "Blind Man" sounds like a leftover from Get A Grip. Not bad, but not great. Besides that, there's also the other leftover they gave to The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience, "Deuces Are Wild." It's lite rock, but quite enjoyable.

The rest is the greatest hits portion of the album. Here is where you separate those who are into the raunch of Aerosmith and those who are into it just for the sweet ballads and easy confections. For the latter group, you will find here the Get A Grip trilogy - that is, "Cryin'," "Amazing" and "Crazy" - all present along with, what I think is their best ballad ever, "What It Takes." Along with those, you have their more pop-oriented songs - "The Other Side" and "Livin' On The Edge."

Now, if you like their ribald stuff more, then you'll like "Rag Doll," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Love In An Elevator" - which remains the best proof that Aerosmith does not need to hire all them writters to come up with new songs. Just stick Tyler and Perry in a small room and force them to come out with good stuff.

Missteps? A few. Perhaps one or two of the three Get A Grip trilogy would have been fine, but all three seems a bit of overkill. Second, a few of the cuts suffer from eighties-bigness. Particularly, "Angel" is so overwrought and big that you may cringe at it somewhat. Keep in mind that a lot of this material was done at the height of glam-rock. Finally, though there are 75 minutes' worth of music here, I do think some of their other material should be here. Stuff like "Hangman Jury," "St. John," "Monkey On My Back," "Get A Grip" or a track or two from Done With Mirrors could have gone in here and added a little spice to this greatest hits mix. I know that this is a greatest hits compilation, but they're designed to make you go out and get their others albums - not take their place.

If you are interested in what Aerosmith is like now, this is the best place to start. All the big songs are here - with lyrics to boot - and you can pretty soon start talking like a longtime fan. Now, if you want to get the essence of Aero, go out and buy Rocks or Toys In The Attic. Crank that baby up. Ahhh, bliss!

Rating: B+

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© 2000 Alfredo Narvaez and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Geffen Records, and is used for informational purposes only.