It’s not unfair to suggest that I might be a little J-J-Jaded when it comes to 2000-era Aerosmith. People ask me when I think the decline hit. I answer, the abomination that is “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”. Nine Lives was a good album. It might not be an Aerosmith classic, but it was good, no two-ways about it. By the time Aerosmith hit 2001 with Just Push Play, the co-writers and love ballads had taken over completely.
That said, the first single from Just Push Play, “Jaded”, was a pretty good song. Joe Perry didn’t write that guitar hook, but it’s more the drum part that I am drawn to. Joey Kramer was capable of turning crap into class (not that “Jaded” is crap), he is so talented. “Jaded” boasts both catchy verses and choruses, and is firmly ensconced in acoustic-electric-pop land. I think it’s a great track actually, but in the context of its album, it was one of very few. You can handle something like this as a commercial track on a single. On an album where each song is more sold-out than the last, “Jaded” was a very minor victory.
But wait, there’s more! There is an acoustic and a “guitars mix” of “Jaded” as well. The stripped down acoustic version is pretty cool although it lacks punch. If you want to hear the song taken back to the basics without embellishment, here it is, and it’s still a good song. It just misses the soft/loud contrast of the album version. The guitar mix is the opposite. It’s the album track with the electric guitar parts turned up in lieu of the strings. So with the three tracks, you kind of get it in the full spectrum, from the light to the heavy. (Incidentally, there’s also a radio remix of “Jaded” out there, on a 2 CD version of Just Push Play from Japan that I don’t have.)
“Angel Eye” is a non-album track from the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack, saving you from buying that CD for one song. Thankfully it’s a heavy song, but without any serious hooks. The guitar riff is devastating, but once again, Joe didn’t write it. When it comes to this aeon of Aerosmith, perhaps we should just be grateful for a heavy song, period?
The final track is a bit of a throw-away at a mere 1:00. “Under My Skin” sounds like an album outro, or a piece of incidental music recorded for a soundtrack. I guess it’s a teaser for the full-length song that appeared on the album? Too bad because “Under My Skin” is one of the most irritating songs on Just Push Play. I don’t recognize this bit from the song, but I also don’t really want to investigate any further.