Let the arrows fly!
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!
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.