Get Your Wings
Columbia Records, 1974
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/19/2002
Anyone who has read this site knows the term "sophomore slump". It refers to what happens when an artist or band, after releasing a debut album which astounds listeners and critics, tries to re-live that glory and fall short of the mark. In 1974, Aerosmith didn't just miss the mark with Get Your Wings, they landed with a hard "thud".
Is this really a bad album? I wouldn't go that far. But after coming out with such a strong debut, one would have expected them to keep the string going with this disc. They didn't... too bad.
Granted, Get Your Wings opens strongly with a one-two punch to the gut of "Same Old Song And Dance" and "Lord Of The Thighs," the latter probably one of Aerosmith's most overlooked gems. "Same Old Song And Dance" features Steven Tyler and crew getting down and dirty with the tune, adding a bit of funk to the raunch 'n' roll, just the way Aerosmith fans like it. So far, so good.
Only one other track, "Seasons Of Wither," even comes close to reaching such a level of success. A major challenge for the band (though not their first crack at a ballad - remember "Dream On"?), Aerosmith is challenged to come up with a song that is powerful without resorting to screaming guitars or vocals. While this isn't quite as strong as I'd like it to be (or how I remembered it from the last time I listened to this album), it still is admirable enough.
So what happened to the rest of this album? Truth is, I don't know - and something tells me Tyler, Joe Perry and the rest of the band are still scratching their heads. The first half of the album collapses under the weight of "Spaces" and "Woman Of The World," two tracks which sound forced, as if Aerosmith had no choice but to include them. And I know I'm gonna get hate mail for this one, but I just can't stand "Train Kept A Rollin'" - a song which stretches out about three minutes too long. Nothing against Aerosmith, but I just don't like this song - hell, I didn't like the version Led Zeppelin was doing on their final tour prior to John Bonham's death. But I can almost understand its inclusion; where Aerosmith seemed like a weird album to have a cover since the originals were so powerful, Get Your Wings needs an adrenalin shot. If only this were it.
And while Tyler is known for putting together some of the strangest rhymes in the history of music and making them work, someone really needed to buy him a rhyming dictionary for the song "Pandora's Box," another one of the majestic failures of this album. Observe the chorus: "Sweet Pandora / Good-like aura / Smell like a flora / Open up your door-a for me". Give me a fuckin' break. (To play devil's advocate, I didn't like it when Frank Zappa did it on "Dinah Moe-Humm" either. So there.) At one time, I liked this song; nowadays, it sounds rather pedestrian.
It's not that Get Your Wings is without merit, but there's not enough solid material on this disc to make me want to sing its praises to the masses. The solid tracks can be found on any number of best-of collections, and are probably your best bet. If you have to own this disc to complete your Aerosmith discography, fine - but Get Your Wings is one album which needed to be clipped.