Get A Grip


Geffen Records, 1993

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


If the success that Aerosmith found with their album Pump taught them anything, it was one dangerous lesson: the ballad can be a powerful, albeit overused, tool.

When it came time for Steven Tyler and company to regroup for a new studio effort, 1993's Get A Grip, they took the lesson of the ballad to heart, chalking up three hits in that vein. Too bad, since the bulk of this album is a major return to form for Aerosmith after following down a safer rock vein with Pump.

Fact is, Tyler and crew hadn't rocked this hard since at least Done With Mirrors, and possibly as long as 1976's my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Rocks. The crisp production (thanks to Bruce Fairbairn) and raw bluesy rock easily qualifies as some of Aerosmith's best, even daring to feature a Joe Perry lead vocal. In the end, the over-reliance on ballads tends to weaken the album as a whole, but it's still an admirable effort.

From the lead-off kick of "Eat The Rich" and its irreverent look at high society, Aerosmith announce that they're tired of playing it safe and want more of an edge to their music. They get it in droves, and it is a welcome change following Pump's almost bending over backwards for rock radio. Tracks like "Fever," "Gotta Love It" and "Shut Up And Dance" demand that the listener take these songs on on their terms, and it turns out to be a remarkable journey. Tyler sounds more filled with life than I've heard in the longest time, and the rhythm section of guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer have rarely sounded better.

Even Perry turns in a surprise as he delivers the vocal on "Walk On Down," an absolutely amazing track which makes me wonder why Perry hasn't tried more of this. Granted, the development of the verses is a little weak, but the overall result is nothing short of magical.

So why would Aerosmith include a whopping three ballads on Get A Grip -- "Cryin'," "Crazy" (which is almost the same friggin' song, for God's sake) and "Amazing"? Well, maybe -- just maybe -- Aerosmith wasn't ready to jettison all things comfortable. After all, they were getting regular airplay again, and they were gaining new fans with the ballads. Why they went over so well, I don't think I'll ever understand. So, maybe these three tracks -- none of which are really strong efforts -- is Aerosmith's way of keeping their fingers on the pulses of their newly-gained fanbase.

Get A Grip is not really viewed in the same light as albums like Permanent Vacation or Pump -- in a sense, this one has kind of been forgotten. Too bad, 'cause next to Done With Mirrors, this disc is one of Aerosmith's best during their stay on Geffen. Maybe it's time to take another yank at its udders and get people to rediscover how good this disc really was.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B



© 2004 Christopher Thelen 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.