Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Big Fat Commercial Writing Dump (part i)

The times they are a-changin'. It was October 2017 when I jumped off of that web design job security building and plunged into the vast freelance ocean of self-employed writing, without even so much of a CV lifeboat to my name. Response to this daring stunt has been diverse. Many kind folk have praised the action as "brave", blatantly unaware that the said building I jumped from was on fire and my leap was one of desperate survival. Others labeled me as a careless fool, an idealist who was certain to drown or be eaten alive by sharks with utility bills in their mouths. And yet, what nobody seemed to be paying attention to was the questionable pachyderm in my bedroom, mumbling to itself, worried about the future of this very place right here. Juice Nothing. The blog you're currently reading, hello. These concerns were not unwarranted either. Now that people paid me for my words, and now that I had to fiercely dedicate every waking second of my time to elbow my way up in this already overcrowded industry, what crumbs of my dwindling resource could I possibly afford to feed to a personal project?

Thankfully, over the past few months of sitting in a stew, peeling carrots for minimum wage and storing up my potatoes to give to the tax man, my sweat in the soup bowl added a much-needed flavour of salt, and Jared has started to taste pretty pretty good right about now. I've hammered together a semi-stable structure over here. It's hardly wobbling at all, look! And I'm standing upon it, hands on my hips, staring at the sun without protective gear, a smug smile on my face, and a big Fuck You to everyone who doubted me. Fuck you!!!

Still, nothing changes the fact that my word-energy is finally being utilised like God intended it to be, as I trade my gifts for legit dolla until I go to bed each night, exhausted and without an original thought to spare. Meaning: despite my pockets' ever-increasing crisp scent, and despite the work/play seesaw of my time slowly seeing eye-to-eye, the threat towards Juice Nothing was still very real. If I was now confident enough to sell the depths of my mind to the corporate world, then why the hell would I give them to you for free?

I love happy endings, and so here one is: I figured everything out, don't you worry. Basically, shit is going to work much like before, as I routinely designate a portion of my daily hours giving birth to a sellable product, specifically tailored with a publication in mind, presenting it to their kingdom on one knee. If rejected, I will gracefully bow myself out, and then it will be discarded face-first into the Juice Nothing streets, forced to fend for itself, lost in this ghetto where neglected children come to die. Using this approach, there should be more than enough content to keep this blog churning at the same speed as it did before, and possibly even manufacturing items of a higher quality because each idea's original purpose was all about potential money money money.

But wait! There's more! Beyond any scraps who find themselves buried beneath this url, I will also continue to dig my teeth into album reviews until I get lockjaw, as there are some things money cannot take away from us and I refuse to let go of this specific passion. These posts will usually manifest in the form of Worst to Best articles, and there are plenty of good reasons for this, namely: I adore writing these bits; I want to show off my superior music taste to the world; these pieces attract a surprising amount of page views; I want to build lists which encourage people to buy me more vinyl; and no one would actually pay me for work like this because it's too personal and indulgent. Which basically means, I might as well rename this blog to "JUICE WORST TO BEST SOMETHING" because it's about to essentially become just that. Prepare your anus.

On a side note: has anyone been checking out my Instagram accout recently? I'm doing this sweet thing where I draw a new hilarious cartoon picture every work day, oh my lols. And also, don't forget to keep refreshing my colourful vectors page, and maybe even support me by buying one or two? I guess when looking at these guys, how strapped for time could I possibly be?

Cool, so that's the update, hope you enjoyed it, and while you're down here, I also just wanted to quickly be the millionth person to remind you to follow your dreams. People always said that to me, "follow your dreams, Jared", it sounded so basic and stupid, but now that I've actually done it, I understand what they were getting at. The struggle was really struggly, but even when my entire life was uprooted and uncertain, I was having a wonderful time, and look at me now! I have reached a level of professional bliss so elevated from my former self that I hardly even think about pussy anymore. To end off, here is a looooong list of every single external bit of writing I've put together so far, all of which have fed me in varying degrees, thanks!

Pencilmation Scrips

Phoney Baloney
Chopsticky Situation

A Den of Geek Article

The History Behind 10 Cartoon Catchphrases

The Clever Articles

15 Mysteries Science CAN’T Explain
15 Celebrities Who Mysteriously Disappeared
15 Real And Sinister Alien Abduction Stories
15 Lesser-Known Facts About The Late Charles Manson
15 Types Of Tinder Profiles To Avoid
15 Roles That Nearly Destroyed The Actor
15 Confessions From Men In Open Relationships
15 Reasons Why People Keep Vanishing In The Alaska Triangle
15 Weird Corners Of Wikipedia People Don’t Know About
15 Craziest Conspiracy Theories Of All Time
15 Of The Strangest Phobias From Around The World

The Richest Articles

Drake’s Pick 6ix Is Overrated (And So Are These 15 Other Celeb Restaurants
Beyonce’s Baby Bump And 15 Other Stylish Pregnant Mothers Who Broke Instagram
50 Cent’s Accidental $7 Million Bitcoin Investment And 15 Other Surprise Celeb Riches
Justin Timberlake’s New Rustic Look And 15 Other Celeb Styles We Don’t Get
Jay-Z And Bey’s $1.16 B Fortune And 15 Other Couples Who Belong To The 1%
15 Trust Fund Celebs Who Got Famous Because Of Their Rich Parents
20 Advantages Of Being Born Under The Billionaire Ruler Of Dubai
15 Random Things Michael Jackson Spent His Millions On
15 Celebs Who Made Multi-Millions (And Then Lost It All In A Second)
15 Priceless Items Celebs Auctioned Off (To Pay The Bills)

Flick Fans Articles

10 Horror Film Villains That Are Still Scary Today
Why ‘Get Out’ Deserves to Be in Contention for 2018’s Best Picture
Sundance: A Quick History Lesson

Millions of Miscellaneous Ghostwritten Health Articles

10 Simple Ways to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Senior Health: 5 Steps for Dealing with Falls
5 Lesser Known Tips to Avoid ACL and Other Knee Related Injuries
10 Essential Suggestions for Dealing with Plantar Fasciitis
5 Common Myths About Arthritis
5 Simple Home Remedies For Knee Injuries
The 5 Worst Foam Rolling Mistakes People Make
10 Quick Tips to Help Athletes Avoid Knee Injuries
5 Common Desk Job Injuries (And How To Avoid Them)
Five Wheelchair Accessories That Will Make Your Life Easier
Core Strength: Why Is It so Important?
Five Ways to Stay Motivated During Retirement
Five Technology Gifts for Seniors This Christmas
10 Health & Safety Tips for Protecting Your Eyesight as You Get Older
Top Tips to Feel 10 Years Younger
Everything You Need to Know About Lifting Heavy Objects
Cold Showers vs. Hot Showers: Which is the Most Beneficial Option?
Senior Health: Important Tips For Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
5 Tips for a More Senior-friendly Household This Christmas
Five Essential Safety Items Most Homes Are Missing
Tips for Coping with a Broken Bone in a Plaster Cast
10 Quick Tips for Senior Foot Care
10 Reasons Why You Should Learn a Musical Instrument During Retirement
5 Fun Ways to Improve Your Hand-Eye Coordination
Simple Tricks To Make Living With Parkinson’s Easier
10 Lesser Known Bad Habits Which May Hurt Your Spine
8 Steps in Buying the Best Running Shoes
Why Are Women More Susceptible to Arthritis?
The 10 Best Exercises For Strengthening Your Flat Feet
Woke up with a Stiff Neck? Follow These 10 Steps to Fix the Problem.
10 Small Health Changes That Can Make A Big Difference
10 Easy Ways to Exercise Throughout the Day Without The Gym
10 Clever Ways to Trick Your Child into a Healthy Lifestyle
The Essential Room-by-Room Guide for Fall-Proofing Your Home
5 Common Running Injuries, and What to Do about Them
10 Common Misconceptions About Parkinson's Disease
10 Ways to Help Your Teenager Struggling With Depression
The 10 Worst Habits Which Are Damaging Your Skin
10 Ways to Make Exercising More Fun
10 Lesser-known Ways to Combat Anxiety at the Workplace
10 Lesser-known Facts about Breast Cancer
From Head to Toe: The Essential Guide to Senior Health
10 Reasons Why You May Have Bad Body Odor (and What to Do about It)
Step by Step Guide to Approaching Wrist-related Yoga Injuries
10 Ways to Help Bedridden Seniors Feel More Comfortable
10 Steps to Keeping Your Feet Soft and Healthy
The 5 Most Common Sleeping Disorders (and What to Do about Them)
10 Ways to Encourage Creativity with Arthritis Patients
Essential Guide for Nature Walks with the Whole Family
Yoga Poses You Should Avoid with Back Injuries
Improve Your Running: 10 Lesser-known Tips to Follow Immediately
10 Common Myths About Hand Injuries and Disorders
Top 10 Ways to Fight the Common Cold
10 Ways to Stay Fit with Injured Knees
10 Tips for a Healthier, More Productive Shower
10 Lesser-Known Tricks to Instantly Improve Your Mental Happiness
The Essential Five-Step Guide to a Quick Detox
10 Tips for Falling Asleep Faster
10 Steps in Helping Someone with Hearing Loss
The 10 Essential Steps in Recovering from an Injury
The 10 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Building a Six-Pack
Tennis Elbow: Is It Ok to Keep Lifting Weights?
10 Lesser-Known Tricks to Flatten Your Stomach Fast

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Worst to Best: Aerosmith

Worst to Best: Aerosmith

Hi, my name is Jared and I’m an Aerosmith fan (hi Jared!). You might be wondering how I ended up like this, and from what I can tell, it's probably a common story. You see, I’ve been dabbling in Aerosmith off and on since I was about 14 years old. It was a casual casual easy thing, you must understand. My friend introduced me to the crew, played me some of their more popular singles and I was curious, even buying a couple of their albums here and there. Oh, and boy, when Armageddon came out? Well, everyone was doing Aerosmith back then, weren’t they?

And then life went on. Yup, life went on without Aerosmith. The cool kids left them behind not long after that film, and I moved with them, because I didn’t want to look foolish. There were better bands out there, or so we were told. Aerosmith was for old people, or so we were told. Their bluesy hard rock licks became something better suited for nostalgic alone times, nothing more than a dinosaur joke when the name came up in public, some of us almost embarrassed of our long gone youthful dedication. Some of us, even refusing to admit the brief fling had ever happened.

The thing is, though, I’ve always had the taste for it. And once you get a sniff of the Aerosmith, no matter how long it’s been, it’s always somewhere on your mind—a dull nag, a certain excitable flair every time you hear a Perry riff or witness Tyler’s lips stretching out—there is a quick tingle even if you hide the sparkle well. It’s in these reflections that the blessing of age becomes apparent, as when Aerosmith announced their supposed final Aero-Vederci Baby! Tour, I nearly collapsed from a sudden panic attack, realising that this could be it. This could very well be my last chance to get a shot into my veins from the mothership, and it didn’t matter if no one understood, because this was my destiny. I immediately logged onto their website and frantically clicked a bunch of random links, filling out my credit card details until I had successfully purchased a ticket for their show in Lisbon even though I live in London.

So I flew over to Portugal, strolled into the venue, pushed reasonably close to the front, and stood there with a smirk, a beer in each hand, and a cigarette smoking from my mouth because no one seems to care over there. And then... they burst onto the stage... and I knew I was in trouble. All those past memories of Aerosmith, all those years of juvenile intoxication, it bubbled, resurfaced, amplified. I had never heard these songs so loud before. They were being created right in front of my very eyes, over there. This was not a prerecorded experience. This was the real thing. The A-grade quality, the good shit, manufactured by the chemists themselves, who were over double my age and at least twice as sexy. I never did find out what happened to that cigarette.

After the high-speed freight train of a setlist ran me over and then backed over me again, I stumbled out of the venue and eventually found my hostel with my mind wiped clean. My whole life had changed, and even if I was over 40 years too late, I swore allegiance to the Blue Army right then and there, be damned if my friends didn’t understand. I returned to London and started from the beginning, listening to each album in chronological order in a hunger, desperate to locate the slightest scent of that magic I had been previously seduced by, and what’s more, I often found it. I took note of the songs I liked. I put them together in this 6h20m 86 song playlist, the Best of Aerosmith. I priced a tattoo. I read their memoir. I quit my job. And I told everyone... everyone... that Aerosmith were the only band that mattered in the whole world.

The truth is, I’m ok now. I went all the way to the top, I touched the tip of the Aerosmith wing, and then I plummeted back to Earth, screamin’ like a demon. Everything fades, and I’m grateful for this fact, as there was no way I could have kept my engines revving at that number. I’m still dealing with the aftermath. But I regret nothing. Mark my words: your stance means very little to the history channel, Aerosmith are legends, hard rock royalty, blues-metal gods. Their place in the textbooks might not be as widely respected or as applauded as loudly as some of their forefathers, but any rock band that came from the late-70s/80s era will tell you the same thing. Aerosmith ruins lives.

Here are all of their albums, ordered from worst to best, according to me myself.

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 15. Honkin’ on Bobo

15. Honkin’ on Bobo (2004)


For the record: Honkin’ on Bobo is far from Aerosmith’s worst album. The reasons why I have labeled it as such, however, are inarguable, watch as I raise so many red flags that eventually you will agree that this offering was essentially begging for stern scrutiny. My primary argument against its honour, is that it doesn’t legitimately qualify for this list, as Bobo is a collection of 11 cover songs from the 1950s/1960s blues era, with only one (surprisingly great!) original composition. Furthermore, in context of their overall catalogue, this contribution also came out when their career was already quickly losing credibility, not to mention that this was their final release for eight years, sold as a ‘back-to-their-roots’ record, which stank of a desperate regression to relocate some sort of a former relevance. Nevertheless, as tired as it read on paper, it was anything but, as the absence of authentic Aerosmith material appeared to take the pressure off, allowing each member to flex their performance without concern, stripping back the production and having a blast with their signature energetic dirt (reportedly only recording these tracks when they were in a good mood). I have minimal hostility and fans were pleased with the result, but it’s just not truly Aerosmith, is it?

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 14. Music From Another Dimension!

14. Music From Another Dimension! (2012)


Before you even listen to Music From Another Dimension! (Aerosmith’s “final” record), you know that you’re not in Kansas anymore. Observe their least witty album title, their most off-brand artwork, their first original collection in 11 years, and their longest runtime to date (20 minutes over an hour), which was preceded by an array of stage injuries, rehab stopovers, American Idol appearances, and break-up rumours. And then, when you actually listen to the damn thing, all of your greatest fears come true. Naturally, Joe Perry’s fingers may still be on fire with a respectable amount of decent tracks scattered throughout this assembly, but the majority of the album in question sounds confused and exhausted, dragged down by inexcusably limp production and a bloated sense of self-worth in dire need of generous trimming. The only redeeming factor here is that Aerosmith are being (or at least trying to be) Aerosmith, back to their core, not modernising themselves, acting their age, old, dated, almost dead. Otherwise, it’s a sloppy, depressing, and unmemorable album, with tormented fans begging the band to call it a day, rightfully labeling this release a “mistake” and “their worst ever”. But not me. I urge the band to give it one more go. Please, for the love of God, don’t leave us like this.

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 13. Just Push Play

13. Just Push Play (2001)


The artwork of Just Push Play sums up this record exquisitely: it's still the same old trashy Aerosmith, except polished to glimmer, one highly (over)produced album where all the hard work and money behind its birth is glaringly evident, and this is exactly the problem. By livening up their colours with poppy icing and forced hip hop influences, this is Aerosmith daringly/desperately lunging towards relevance, panicking to better fit into the industry’s modern playing field, attempting to slink into a new generation of fan’s ears, and doing so completely wrong. Instead, they only managed to distance themselves from absolutely everyone, stuck in the middle of a very spacious crowd, the epitome of when selling out does not pay. The deepest pity of all, however, is that every song on offer here could have been fixed up nicely with a few minor tweaks whilst stripping off the gleam, but for some reason, that board meeting never happened. Rather, we find an iffy slip-up around just about every corner, the cringe almost toppling the redeeming factors right over, in more ways than any other Aerosmith release. Sadly, I do recognise this as a case of "damned if you do" (catch up to contemporary standards) and "damned if you don’t" (shamelessly repeating your trusted formula), but in all fairness, for a blunder, this is still almost good enough.

“It was a learning experience for me. It showed me how not to make an Aerosmith record.” - Joe Perry

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 12. Done with Mirrors

12. Done with Mirrors (1985)


Mirrors! Everything was cut into a perfectly straight line, neat, promising, ready for inhalation. After a six-year absence, Perry was back. Everyone was completely drug-free (despite the cheeky title innuendo). And the record was billed as their big comeback, quivering exec’s pockets and fan’s zippers alike. You’ve got to hand it to Aerosmith then, as they really went full force for it, yet missed it completely. The main issue probably came with the rusty dynamic between members, still trying to find themselves and retreating into safer ground whilst they did so, sticking to the hard rock formula which had made them famous, recoiling to recapture the live magic with yet another back to basics record. This approach made for a moderate Aerosmith offering at best, no massively memorable hits, the most obvious songs chosen for singles, softened with a little bit of filler padding (which a 35-minute record has no space for). So, naturally, it flopped a bit, no one hated it, no one was mad for it, it was badly produced, it lacked the vigour, and it sounded unfinished. However, it did have enough value to keep its head above water, and if nothing else, it was an important stepping stone for what shortly followed. But that's a different story.

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 11. Draw the Line

11. Draw the Line (1977)


When considering (the aptly titled) Draw the Line’s dismal reputation, it’s important to sympathise that this was Aerosmith’s fifth album in five years, which would be enough to burn anyone out, yet was not even a crumb to their troubles. By now, the members loathed one another, and the core Tyler/Perry dynamic were hardly even involved with the process, reportedly disinterested in the whole project from the very beginning. They had money and success, which meant the record’s budget was relatively open (they still went over) permitting the lethargic luxury of writing in the studio without any rehearsals. And, of course, the consecutive years of running full speed with their noses glued to the cocaine trail had started to catch up quickly, which is why this is often referred to as their #1 drug album (and if you know the context of Aerosmith, that's a pretty fucking big statement). Still, there’s nothing obviously wrong with this release (except perhaps the lack of inventiveness or any explosive hits), as it blasts forward perfectly, one non-stop hard rocker, the group refusing to slow their pace, never turning soft, and in the end, that's what truly matters. Due to their brand, it sold well and charted high (#11), but dropped out of sight soon after, known as the downturn towards their very first decline. They took a break after this one.

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 10. Aerosmith

10. Aerosmith (1973)


Time has been kind to Aerosmith’s self-titled debut album, fans often presenting it as an optimal example of how spirited the band used to be, one proper tacky American rock outfit, long before they lost their blues filth to a more commercial-y ballad-y path. But for me personally, I have one major gripe with this record. And before you start guessing, let me stop you right there and inform you that, no, it’s not the often criticised lifeless production, as this rough atmospheric charm added to the bar-like quality within my ears. Oh, and also, no, it's not the influences that they wore so shamelessly on their scarves either (Stones, Yardbirds, Zeppelin, Dolls etc) even though that's a common disapproval too. Rather, my principle scorn comes with Tyler himself, as the singer deepened his vocals due to performance anxiety, and this removed so much of Aerosmith’s signature nature from the product, that it’s almost a completely different band. But if we ignore all of that, no one can deny that this was a fantastic career starter, their dirtiest offering to date with one sharp edge, crude bite, and, of course, Dream On. What I love even more than this, however, is that their introduction held no telltale signs of what was to come, as a generic and “of the time” work, running the risk of fading into nothing, just another one of those many cool lost bands of the era. It's pretty rad that this is not what happened. Not even close.

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 09. Night in the Ruts

09. Night in the Ruts (1979)


After earning the first two-year gap in their recorded history, Aerosmith returned to the studio refreshed and inspired, ready to reclaim their legacy. Just kidding! They were fucked! There was a sudden severe financial turbulence due to their disproportionate exuberant lifestyles; the drug use had escalated into a much harder category; and their live shows were famously catastrophic—all of which came to an exhausted meltdown after Tyler couldn’t remember how to write lyrics anymore, and Perry quit the band in the middle of these very sessions. At a loss, the band quickly recorded three cover songs to fill in the Joe cracks, but nothing could distract from the obvious: the dream was crashing down. The wheels were falling off. And yet... the results were still remarkably satisfactory. The critics claimed that they were happier with this record in comparison to the former Draw the Line, welcoming the return of hard blues and dirty metal, whilst Aerosmith themselves have always spoken fondly about the spooneristic Night in the Ruts in hindsight. Certainly, it’ll never be dubbed a fan favourite, but I consider this to be one dishonourably underrated trademark Aerosmith offering, perhaps never fully realised, but definitely on to something or other, and deserving to be cherished much higher than it unfairly has been.

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 08. Rock in a Hard Place

08. Rock in a Hard Place (1982)


Talk about rocks and hard places, this 1982 offering is, without a doubt, the least Aerosmith Aerosmith album ever made. It’s the only record without Perry, and guitarist Whitford left during the recording too, which left Tyler mostly up to his own spices, meaning: three years of production time and $1.5 million flushed beneath an increasingly dangerous drug habit. Consequences of said intoxication can be clearly heard within these songs, for while the signature guitar-driven hard rockers may still be the epicenter, experimental studio trickery and synthy/vocoder gimmicks made a desperate appearance too, one obvious exertion aimed towards more contemporary audiences. So take this shift in a shameless direction with the loss of two essential members, and naturally, you have snobby fans who shunned and undervalued this record for all the wrong reasons. But with an open mind, Rock in a Hard Place is way better than everyone thinks. Perhaps it’s dated worse than many others due to 'modernized' 80s techniques, true, but in my opinion, it’s the most interesting release the Aerosmith brand ever put together, still today, unchallenged as so. Saying that, there is a certain relief to its floppage, because if this new Aerosmith incarnation was a soaring success, then there would be no need for Perry anymore, and we do need Perry.

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 07. Get a Grip

07. Get a Grip (1993)


As part of Aerosmith’s big comeback binge, Get a Grip may not have been the most thrilling from the team, but it is their best-selling album worldwide (not to mention that the associated music videos put Alicia Silverstone on the map), so it deserves all the respectful praise that I’m happy to gift it with. Of course, they were still hiring outside collaborators to help rejuvenate their creaky bones at this point. Of course, their cocks were aimed directly at the 90s MTV screen scene. And, of course, these disloyal principles would always churn out slightly iffy moments which have aged a touch sideways. But what it lacks in their former reckless rockstar destruction, it makes up for with a spiritedness beyond their years, following the Aero blueprint to the margin: fast, sharp, punchy hard rocking songs, with the odd power(ful!) ballad thrown in to moisten the heartbeat, all cleaned up to shout within an enormously spacious production value. Above even this, Grip is a hits album, housing some of the most adored Aerosmith concert staples to this very day, and when considering the seven singles released from a record which ran for over an hour, I guess we can say that they really... milked it. Geddit? The cover artwork? Ha!

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 06. Get Your Wings

06. Get Your Wings (1974)


Yeah, sure, Aerosmith’s debut was great, but their second attempt, Get Your Wings, was a far more significant step up the stairway ascending towards noble stardom. The band had begun to explore their individual styling by weaning their influences out of their veins, whilst visibly seeping their own special brand of dirty confidence which dribbled from their pores—so much so, that Tyler even used his real voice this round! Hooray! The additional cash thrown towards the production output didn’t hurt either, as the youthful chemistry and hyper sex drive of these mid-20-year-olds had never sounded better, manifesting into a much harder rock record, rolling along with the blues groove which is necessary to make a true Aerosmith release. Actually, this is the very first true Aerosmith release, if we think about it. So just imagine everyone’s disappointment when the buying public weren’t quite ready for it, Get Your Wings failing to grow into the massive success it deserved to be, and yet, in hindsight, we can now value this as a very loud indication of what was to come. And what was to come... came very soon indeed, as this was the band’s final album of obscurity, moments before they exploded all the way to hell.

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 05. Permanent Vacation

05. Permanent Vacation (1987)


When 1985’s Mirrors failed to be the reinvigorated comeback record everyone had been promised, the Aerosmith base camp panicked, and pressed the emergency button, their final line of defence. Outside writers were called in to guarantee smash hits. Bon Jovi’s producer was summoned to make the guitars sound fucking huge. A Beatles cover was thrown in to secure credibility. And they all had the one same goal in mind: to create songs which would fuel the radio into first place whilst feeding the stadium crowds such boisterous bangers that everyone would forget how much money they’d spent just to be there. This means that Permanent Vacation is arguably Aerosmith’s silliest, most nauseating, and most shameful record to date. What makes it even worse, however, is that the plan totally worked! The album was a gigantic triumph, embraced by the commercial market, now known as Aerosmith’s true second wind, and admittedly, it does sound like the band had a spark lit under their asses for the first time in years. Their hard pop-rock performances were polished to shine, each track had a joyous spirit in the middle as if they were finally having fun again, and when it was good... it was as good as anything they’ve ever done. And it’s all good, baby!

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 04. Nine Lives

04. Nine Lives (1997)


And this is where me and every other fan/critic collide. I wear my bias in daylight, confessing this as the first Aerosmith record which made an impact on me, licking the insides of my 14-year-old ears, and every listen since bringing me right back to those impressionable days. 20 years have come and gone, and I revisit this album often, defending it all the way into my old age, and taking personal offense to the unwarranted accusations so many have been far too hasty to make. Fuck you, as every song on Nine Lives works perfectly for me, I hear none of this filler you are whining about, all the while the band sounded energised and full of attitude, flawlessly balancing their heavy rockers with comfy ballads, tied together with an Indian flavouring sprinkled throughout. Musically? Vocally? Lyrically? Compositionally? Top performances from all parties, as truly an inexcusably unsung Aerosmith classic. Still, thanks to an opening run of impeccably solid single choices, this offering did top the Billboard Top 200 and win a Grammy, with everyone (even the skeptics) since agreeing that this was the band's last good album. But in my head, Nine Lives is so much more. It's as great as anything they’ve ever done. My Aerosmith record, you can’t have it.

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 03. Toys in the Attic

03. Toys in the Attic (1975)


Toys in the Attic marks that sweet spot all rockstars are salivating for: when the drugs are still correctly blending with the creative juices, and (thanks to years of non-stop touring) the individual member cogs had unified as one confident machine. Take this with a cleaner production value, and we must once again emphasise the magical dynamic between the Toxic Twins. It was here that Perry proved himself as a virtuoso capable of composing riffs as recognisable as any guitarist in all of the rock heavyweights, whilst Tyler’s Attic deliveries were some of his most unique, spilling his seedy lyrical themes out from the inside of his cock alone. Unfortunately, the band were unable to shake the clutches of critical Zeppelin/Stones comparisons just yet, but they were getting super close, finally managing to achieve what they’d always set out to do: creating one of the better albums ever made by anyone, and as a result, placing Aerosmith on the map under their own name, armed with a massive radio hit or two now firmly secured within their repertoire. Like, I dunno, Walk this Way for example? The song which broke them into the mainstream? And also revitalised their career in the 80s when they recorded that new version with Run DMC? The new version which single-handedly invented rap-rock? Was any of this a good thing actually?

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 02. Pump

02. Pump (1989)


Reportedly “making up for the lost time”, newly-sober Tyler traded his long-suffocating drug addiction for a rampage of sexual pursuits with equal vigour. And these immoral quests screamed nice and loudly on Pump, one high-speed full-steam charge ahead into a dirtier, coarser manifestation of their standard polished commercial comeback offerings. But while the overexcitable heart of Tyler is complemented by some of Perry’s most inventive finger work (conspiring together to build doors just to kick them down), this hard energy is still nothing more than energetic petrol, propelling a fundamentally pop-oriented craft upwards, sticking to the roof of my mouth as potentially the hookiest Aerosmith product on the market. Point proven with its singles which were all gigantic hits, like when Janie’s Got a Gun won the band their first Grammy, or when Love in an Elevator became their first #1 Mainstream Rock Track, or when I personally said What it Takes was up there with the greatest breakup songs ever written. In fact, to date this is the only Aerorecord to have three Top 10 singles in its arsenal, standing tall as one important career highlight, adored by the world, and living up to its name completely. Pump is right, mate! I’m fucking pumped!

"Pump changed my life. I'd been listening to bands like The Cult and The Mission and then discovered this album that was about fucking from beginning to end... It just blew me away." - Justin Hawkins, The Darkness

Worst to Best: Aerosmith: 01. Rocks

01. Rocks (1976)


After the preceding Toys in the Attic album had shone the fame spotlight directly into Aerosmith’s bloodshot eyes, one would worry that their creativity candle may be snuffed out by this fresh pressure, but nope, the additional attention only served to water their dirt, as they blossomed under demand, finally where they were always supposed to be. Meet Rocks, the crudest, most heaviest record in the band’s entire armoury, the Bad Boys from Boston only getting louder and more merciless, artistically grinding up against the strict hard rock boundaries with an onslaught of spunk, shooting in her eyes with passionate intent, whilst the band’s chemistry was at an all-time high—and I’m not (only) talking about the drugs here. Surprisingly, what truly works in Rocks’ favour above all else, was the lack of hit songs, as they preferred a steady half-hour charge of reliable quality, no radio pity, blasting out the other side as one of the most classic hard rock albums to ever set fire to the genre (according to Mötley Crüe, Metallica, Guns N' Roses, and Nirvana). Basically, it changed the game forever, and I wouldn’t dare fuck with that, so here we are, the best Aerosmith album ever made, done.

“I first heard Rocks when I was 13 or 14. There was this girl, Laurie, and I'd been trying to get into her pants for what seemed like forever. She was the hottest chick in school and just exuded—no, excreted—sex appeal. One day I rode my BMX bike over to her place. We smoked a bunch of pot, and she started playing me records. [...] From the moment she put it on and "Back in the Saddle" started playing, I was glued to the album. She just vanished into the shadows, and I completely forgot about her. [...] After I digested the album six or seven times at this chick's apartment, I just got up, grabbed my smokes, jumped on my bike and went home. I never did get laid. But not too long after, I picked up my guitar, and I've been doing this ever since.” - Slash, Guns N' Roses