Columbia Records, 1997
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/23/1997
Once again, it is the year of the dinosaur.
No, no, I'm not referring to the "Jurassic Park" sequel hitting the theatres - I refer to Aerosmith, the band that refuses to die. Despite in-fighting and full-scale drug abuse in the early '80s, the band regrouped, cleaned up and, despite the naysayers, returned to the top of the music world.
I guess it's only fitting that their latest studio effort is named Nine Lives, an album that isn't yet part of the vast Pierce Memorial Archives (unofficially 37 days until the move). Had it not been for a member of the Daily Vault Research And Photocopy Team ("We laugh at death") loaning me the disc, I would have passed it up for a while. While it shows the reasons this band has lasted so long, it also shows the band may be nearing the end of their creative rope.
The first single, "Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)" is a track you don't want to like. But despite being as politically correct as reading Playboy at a NOW meeting (take it from experience - don't try it), Steven Tyler and crew are able to reel you in quickly, making this one of their best tracks in a long time.
Aerosmith is able to keep pushing the envelope of hard rock on songs like "Taste Of India," (another song I wasn't fond of upon original listen) "Crash" and "Fallen Angels." You don't stay on top of the rock world putting out shit, and the band shows they're out to earn every cent of the deal they signed with their original label.
The creative juices start to dry up on songs like "Hole In My Soul." Sure, it's a good track, but why does the opening riff sound strangely similar to an early song of theirs, "Dream On"? I know it has been almost 25 years you guys have been together, but come on! Ripping off yourselves?
And can we please stop promoting the cock-rock style? Jesus, these guys probably get laid more in one night than I've gotten in my lifetime, and they sing songs like "Pink"? They spew lines like, from "Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)": "I feel like I have been hit by a fuck." How many more sexual images do you guys intend on putting in the liner notes and on the CD? (Where the hell did they get the main image on the CD - the Kama Sutra?) Remember: he who lives by the dick dies by the dick. Four words: Freddie Mercury, Eazy-E. 'Nuff said.
In many ways, Nine Lives is a typical Aerosmith album. It opens with a balls-out rocker ("Nine Lives"), and mixes solid rock numbers with soft-serve ballads that one either loves or hates. And it's sad to say that many of their ballads sound exactly like one another. The remainder of the album, then, would be filler.
So is this a bad album? I didn't say that. Cuts like "Crash," "Kiss Your Past Goodbye," "Fallen Angels" and even the title track show that Tyler et al. have not lost their edge even after all this time. The only thing I really missed was hearing Joe Perry take a turn as lead throat.
Like many recent releases, this disc is an Enhanced-CD, meaning you can discover more treasures by sticking it in the CD-ROM drive of your computer. However, I don't think I could have explained to my boss why I was playing a multimedia game instead of doing some serious number crunching, so I leave this for you to discover on your own.
Nine Lives proves that everything old is indeed new again, and Aerosmith still know how to entertain as if they were still in their glory days. But if they're not careful and don't allow their music to undergo some changes along with the times, they may be doomed to playing festival shows with Foghat and Boston before they know it.