REVIEW: Aerosmith – Just Push Play (2001 import version with bonus track)

scan_20170109AEROSMITH – Just Push Play (2001 Sony, includes bonus track “Face”)

“I don’t think we’ve made a decent album in years. Just Push Play is my least favorite.” – Joe Perry

The sad and depressing fact of the matter is, Aerosmith could have retired long before Just Push Play, and we would have lost nothing terribly valuable.  They’ve pandered for hits before, but never as blatantly contrived as Just Push Play.  It’s an embarrassing state of affairs that deserves every inch of scorn we’re about to unload upon it.

Hi-tech digital tracks written and produced with outsiders make up Just Push Play, a weak attempt to be young hip and cool when Aerosmith were anything but. Look at the sleek haircuts in the band photo. Only Joe Perry appears to know what band he’s in. The album was recorded with sterility. At no time were all five members in the studio together, according to Joe, and that’s exactly how it sounds.

If their heads weren’t in the clouds (coming off their biggest hit single ever) they might have made a rock album.  “Beyond Beautiful” is a close imitation, a robotic and stiff carbon copy.  Ballads like “Fly Away From Here” sound as if faxed in from the office.  These blatant attempts to repeat past glories are among the most offensive on Just Push Play.  It is true that one of Aerosmith’s first hits (“Dream On”) was a ballad.  That was a long time ago and a long way from being flat broke and banging out a song in the middle of the night on a piano.  These new ballads like “Luv Lies” and “Sunshine” are written specifically by hitsmiths in order to appeal to people who would not normally buy an Aerosmith CD.  The result is that they appeal to nobody.

As bland and unappealing as these forgettable ballads are, none are as offensive as the title track “Just Push Play”.  Nobody asked Aerosmith to do a rasta-hip-hop track.  The Run-DMC version of “Walk This Way” is the definitive Aero-rap, a masterpiece of serendipity and cutting edge ambition.  Aerosmith thought it was necessary to revisit that sound 15 years later, and once again the result is a blurry facsimile that pales in comparison.

“Jaded”, the first single, is a great Aero-hit, one of the few from this era of co-writers and collaborators.  Fortunately you don’t have to buy the album to get it, as there was a five track EP you could buy instead.  If you go that way, you can still enjoy a couple different versions of the charismatic single.  “Jaded” had the kind of chorus that Aerosmith used to be able to write in their sleep, but now apparently need help to do.

There were different bonus tracks for different regions.  US and Canada got nil, but Europe got “Face” while Japan received “Won’t Let You Down” and a bunch of other stuff including five live tracks from 1978 (California and Texxas Jams).  That 2 CD Japanese edition might be worth tracking down for the bonus material, but “Face” remained exclusive to Europe.  Is it worth it?  Actually…it might be.  “Face” is an acoustic track that sounds a bit like a B-side.  It’s closest to “Jaded” in sound, and sounds looser than most of the rest of the album.  It’s certainly not going to become a lost favourite, but if you find a copy at the right price, consider it.

Just Push Play deserves the dreaded Flaming Turd.

FLAMING TURDS

1/5 stars

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43 comments

  1. I remember this album mostly because it was from an era where I was battling a life-changing illness, and still buying CD’s and trying my hardest to enjoy music at the time. That cover artwork is such a tip-off to the junk on the silver disc inside the jewel case. I know this CD found its way into the bottom of a box and then out to a dumpster during on of my cleaning sessions/purges in the mid-2000’s. An inglorious end that I reserve for only my least-desired physical media. I also recall like so many albums from 2001, that it befell being released around 9/11, where so much music, both good AND bad, got forgotten by the public (but strangely, always remembered by me as being from around that time).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yikes hope you are well today, uncleb13!

      The artwork immediately reminded me of Autograph, Sign In Please. Either way, hardly original or even clever. However when you look at all the Aerosmith albums in a big collage, it sticks out like a big pink sore thumb — you can tell just by looking “That’s the sell out album.”

      Like

  2. This was, for better or for worse, the very first Aerosmith album I purchased. As a teenager, I was very familiar with ‘Permanent Vacation’ and ‘Pump,’ but I never thoroughly enjoyed those albums enough to want to own them. I heard ‘Get A Grip’ when it came out, thought it was terrible, then subsequently ignored ‘Nine Lives.”

    Simply put, Aerosmith felt like corporate rock. Their ballads were predictable and boring, their sexual innuendo schtick old an annoying. And, to a large degree, that criticism still holds true.

    But my respect for Aerosmith changed in 2001 when I saw them live in San Diego. They were touring ‘Just Push Play’ and the concert was phenomenal. I bought ‘Just Push Play’ thereafter and enjoyed it for what it was. The tracks “Beyond Beautiful,” “Jaded” and “Face” (glad I’m not alone in liking that one!) are great. The rest is listenable (if you aren’t “jaded”) but its far from essential.

    Over the next few years, I would slowly acquire most of Aerosmith’s back catalogue. As for studio albums, I’m only missing ‘Rock in a Hard Place.’

    These days, I mostly listen to the first six Aerosmith albums. Anything beyond ‘Night in the Ruts’ sounds too slick, too polished, too commercial. But ‘Just Push Play’—though deserving of all its harsh criticism—is where it began for me. It brings back good memories… and for me, that’s enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good post Christopher always nice to get a different take on such records and there’s plenty similar albums in my collection I have a ton of respect for which others regard flaming turds LOL.

      It’s all relative ;)

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I love all these comments, but Christopher really nailed something special about music!

      I have my own albums that aren’t considered to be good or even great. Lord knows look at Kiss! But I have feelings for ’em. If you dive in at a certain point, that point will always sound special. Even if it’s not special to anyone else in the room, holding their hands to their ears!

      Rock in a Hard Place is an interesting one. I’ll leave it at that! It does have one of my favourite songs ever, though.

      I listen to the first five or six, Live Bootleg, and Pump. Although I hear the singles from Pump far too much these days, the other six tracks are all F.I.N.E. fine!

      Liked by 2 people

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