REVIEW: Aerosmith – Get A Grip (1993 “cow hide” cover)

Let the arrows fly!

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AEROSMITH – Get A Grip (1993 “cow hide” cover)

As an Aero-accolyte, I thought Pump was a great album. All killer no filler, just like they made in the early to mid 1970’s. Permanent Vacation, while laden with huge hits, also had a lot of filler. I think Get A Grip falls somewhere between those two albums. It’s heavier than Vacation, but suffers from filler syndrome.

Witness: “Gotta Love It”. “Shut Up And Dance”. “Boogie Man”. Crap, crap, and crap!

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I think Get A Grip has some of the best Aerosmith tunage of the past 20 years though: “Eat The Rich” is absolutely brilliant. “Fever” as well, musically and lyrically: “The high you be gettin’ from the crack don’t last, I’d rather be OD’ing on the crack of her ass.” That is the Steven Tyler I love! I could do without two of the ballads: “Cryin'” (which maybe is more of a blues?), and “Crazy” I could do without. Even if I liked those two songs, they’ve been so overplayed. “Amazing” on the other hand is string-laden Aero-brilliance, a worthy successor to tracks like “Angel” or even dare-I-say-it, “Dream On”. I also enjoyed “Line Up”, with Lenny Kravitz’ cameo. “Come on, Joe!”

The crown jewel of this album is the lengthy “Living On The Edge”. What a great song, and adventurous too. It wasn’t commercial but became a massive hit. Maybe the last time Aerosmith did a really adventurous single that really wasn’t very single-like.

I think production-wise, this album didn’t shine like Pump did.  Fairbairn produced both and Get A Grip was considered by the band to have a better sound, but I don’t know. I think Pump rocks harder and cleaner.  On the plus side, Get A Grip has good separation between Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, so you can really hear them playing and meshing. Same with Tom Hamilton’s rolling bass, you can pick it out and listen to the notes rather than just the groove. And, of course, Joey — Joey Kramer is one of the most underrated drummers in rock. His thrift is Bonham-esque and his groove is legendary.

I hate the standard album cover, it’s dated and stupid. It was even stupid in 1993, let alone now. Much better is the “cowhide” cover. There are no bonus tracks on that version, but it looks cool sitting in my collection (right next to my faux-leather edition of Pump).

There were numerous notable B-sides and other tracks available elsewhere, now all very easy to get on assorted Geffen compilations. Noteworthy, and worth tracking down, are “Deuces Are Wild”, and the two bonus tracks from the “Living on the Edge” single (“Don’t Stop” and “Can’t Stop Messin'”). There was also a good song called “Head First” that was an early attempt at digital distribution and song downloading!

3.5/5 stars. I wish it were better, but I think it’s too long and loaded with filler. I think it could have been 10 songs, like the Aero-classics of old.

 

18 comments

  1. This is the album where they lost me, and I’ve never really gone back. I did own it for years but eventually unloaded it. At least on “Pump” they were still creating some unique songs along with the typical Aerosmith ballads & rockers, but everything here came across as a retread of things they had previously done better. That being said, there are still songs I like from this album, but if I never hear them again I won’t feel like I’m missing out. I can’t say that about most of their discography prior to this.

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    1. I hung around for one more album, which was Nine Lives. I haven’t listened to Nine Lives for a couple years but my memory of it is that it was better than Get A Grip. Significantly better, for me. I loved the track “Taste of India” and I was really into that album during the 1990’s. Maybe I should dig it out and review it eh?

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  2. I remember at the time major promotion of this record. Tyler/Perry were on Muchmusic about a month before this album came out and when they premiered Livin On The Edge I was hooked ,I mean even today I would say its up there with some of there best rock tracks.
    I found the album sound dry,trying to go back to basics as millionaires could I guess.
    I caught this tour about the second week in back in 93 in Miinieapolis and they started of the show with Eat The Rich,Get A Grip and Fever..a triple header right off the new album they were plugging….good show even the stage was stripped down to bare essentials unlike the Pump tour.
    The album itself I do find to be good not as good as Pump but not bad but yeah a little,heavy on the power ballads as mentioned…for sure they coulda kept it down to 10 songs……

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    1. Deke, regarding that MuchMusic interview, do you remember Tyler drawing on his jeans with magic marker? I might have that interview on VHS tape somewhere.

      Get A Grip is the last time Aerosmith were truly untouchable superstars. They took way too long between albums after this. Even before this.

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  3. Yeah I do remember that !..hahahaha…..course it was a Erica Ehm interview so I guess they were bored,that was the impression I got,but you know what I really dig Nine Lives,more than Get A Grip ,if you review it I will say why? Haha..how’s that for a offer!

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    1. Nine Lives is a better album…I’ll get around to it, maybe even sooner than later because I have a whack of bonus tracks to talk about with that album. It was a grower.

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  4. Not a lot to enjoy about this one. I think Pump and Nine Lives both bury it. I did really like Livin’ on the Edge and I think the video was great for that too! I liked a few songs but, like you say, too much filler and too many ballads. An extra point for the massive belch! I’m guessing from the cavernous acoustics it must have been one of Tyler’s. I seem to remember him doing an incredible burp in the Making of Pump video too!

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  5. Completely agreed on the 2 highlights – I’m surprised Eat the Rich wasn’t a bigger hit, an outstanding opener. Amazing has one of my favourite outros from the 90s as well.

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    1. Eat the Rich wasn’t as played as the other singles around here. It was barely a single at all in fact, seems like they rolled out another ballad right after Eat the Rich! As far as singles go, this was definitely a ballad album. Even Living on the Edge had its ballady qualities.

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