Young Lust: The Aerosmith Anthology


Geffen, 2001

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


The flood of Aerosmith collections on the market can make the casual fan's head spin. There are a few single disc compilations, one for the early years, one for the later years and one that covers the band's whole career. The double disc O Yeah does a good job trying to summarize the band's entire spectrum and is probably the best place to get all the radio hits. Young Lust, then, fills a specific niche: the band's comeback period for Geffen, the four studio albums and one live album between 1986 and 1998 (not counting Nine Lives, which was on another label).

This was a fertile commercial period for the band, although its creative merits divide Aerofans to this day. "Sweet Emotion" loyalists detest Get A Grip and the whole "Crazy"/"Cryin’"/"Amazing" triptych of sap. But a lot of new fans came on board with that disc and then worked backward to the glory days of the ‘70s. Besides, this is also the period that gave us Permanent Vacation and Pump, two of the great mainstream rock albums of the late ‘80s, so it wasn't all bad.

As such, there's no denying that this is a period deserving of an anthology, and Young Lust delivers. The first disc hits the high points of Done With Mirrors (the first comeback disc with the reunited band), Permanent Vacation and Pump, along with the rarity "Ain't Enough" and the Run-DMC collaboration "Walk This Way," which is what started the whole Aerosmith revival in the first place.

The greasy "Let The Music Do The Talking" and "My Fist Your Face" are prime meaty Aerosmith, suggesting what Draw The Line may have sounded like without all the substance abuse. It provides a necessary transition to the my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Permanent Vacation cuts, and half of that album is here: the power ballad "Angel," the stomping "Heart's Done Time" and "Rag Doll," the bluesy "Hangman Jury," the goofy title cut and, of course, the overplayed, indefatigable "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)," which makes fun of Motley Crue and so is necessary. That whole album is still recommended, but this is what casual fans need.

Six of Pump's 10 cuts are here, with the expected hits ("What It Takes," "Love In An Elevator," "Janie's Got A Gun" and "The Other Side"), as well as "Monkey On My Back" and "Young Lust," and that's all one needs from that disc. "Ain't Enough" is a nice inclusion, a Japan-only leftover from the Pump sessions that is a piece with the other cuts on the album, if a tad less inspired. Of course, given that the alternatives of the time were Poison, Whitesnake and about 50 other hair-metal wannabes that ripped off Aerosmith in the first place, I'll take an Aero B-side any day.

The second disc is useful for rounding up all the B-sides, soundtrack songs and compilation-only new songs in one handy place, as well as the five big hits from Get A Grip. For some reason, an acoustic remake of "Livin' On The Edge," which is identical to the original sans electric guitars, supplants the more famous Grammy-winning original, while the take on "Amazing" overdubs far more orchestral instruments than is necessary, since the original was over the top anyway. These gripes aside, the normal beloved "Eat The Rich," "Crazy" and "Cryin'" are all here, along with the servicable Doors cover "Love Me Two Times."

The B-sides "Head First," "Don't Stop" and "Can't Stop Messin'" all would have worked well on Eat The Rich; hardly lost treasures, but good for collectors. Much better is "Walk On Water," which first appeared on the popular Big Ones collection (as did "Blind Man") and which recalls the Aerosmith of old. To close the disc, four songs from the live A Little South Of Sanity are tacked on, two from Nine Lives to bring the story up to date and then two classic rock staples ("Dream On" and "Sweet Emotion") that bring things full circle and which all Aerofans love regardless of age.

So who is this for? Big Ones remains a great starting point for this era of Aerosmith, and O Yeah remains the best way to discover the biggest hits of the band's entire catalog, leaving this as a thorough reading of the band's comeback years on the Geffen label. The track selection is commendable, leaving nothing out and including all the stray songs in one place, making it a stellar overview and all the Aerosmith from this 1986-93 era that anybody will need (although Permanent Vacation and Pump should be heard in their entirety at least once). The set doesn't redeem the crass overproduced commercialism of those ballads and the Desmond Child assisted tunes, of course, and the addition of "Dream On" feels like a blatant sop to lure in old fans, but by and large this is still fine rock ‘n’ roll from a band that deserved a second chance.

Rating: B

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