Funny thing about some pretty bad albums: sometimes the bands con you into buying them twice. They do this with bonus tracks you may need and can’t find elsewhere. Aerosmith have been guilty of this on multiple occasions. You know what they say about fools and money.
In 2001, Aerosmith did it with Just Push Play. They placed a bonus track on the European CD (“Face”), and a completely different set of bonus tracks in Japan…but excluding “Face”. As one of the looser songs on a pretty stiff album, “Face” is pretty enjoyable. So what about Japan’s exclusive song, “Won’t Let You Down”? Well, for one it’s heavy. For Aerosmith, it’s really heavy. You could picture it on a better album like Nine Lives. Though not perfect it’s a damn fine latter-day Aerosmith track. It just needs another hook.
“Won’t Let You Down” and its associated Joe Perry guitar wizardry is the most interesting of the bonus tracks, but that doesn’t mean the rest are not. Though “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” is more than slightly boring today, it was Aerosmith’s biggest hit to date. This was the first time it appeared on an Aerosmith album, and only in Japan.
The second CD has a diverse stew of bonuses. The first is a 3:17 radio remix of “Just Push Play”. It’s mostly a matter of making the guitar, drums and other elements more prominent in the mix. It’s quite a bit better than the album cut, though just as silly. You gotta wonder if anybody in the studio told Steven to try it without the rasta accent. That’s the remix I want to hear, because the chorus is great.
Moving on to live rarities, Aerosmith included a handful of previously released tracks that weren’t necessarily already in your collection. First up: California Jam II. “Same Old Song and Dance”, “Draw the Line” and “Chip Away the Stone” were all available on the various artists album California Jam II. If you have this, you don’t need to buy that. The year was 1978 and Aerosmith were still cooking live. Whether it comes from youthful or chemical energy, these tracks are faster than their studio counterparts. Rough and dirty live Aerosmith without the backing tapes and fixes: what’s not to love? “Draw the Line” has more…definition?…than the original. Still, smoking so hot that Joe Perry probably melted his strings. It’s just plain great to any live version of “Chip Away the Stone“. Top five Aerosmith song? Welcome to the collection.
That’s not all folks, as we stick to 1978 and the famous Texxas Jam. “Big Ten-Inch Record” and “Lord of the Thighs” would be familiar if you own Pandora’s Box. Strange they included two tracks that were readily available, but here they are and there’s nothing wrong with ’em.
A brief word on the album Just Push Play itself. We’ve already reviewed it in full, so let’s not rehash. Joe Perry’s least favourite Aerosmith albumy panders for hits in the most embarrassing ways. Hi-tech recording and outside songwriters watered it down. The old Tyler/Perry combination was not to be found on a single track. The other three guys have not a single writing credit between them. It’s a sad state of affairs.
If you’re a masochist like me, you’ll want to get this one for the bonus tracks. If not, just stay away.
Just Push Play – 1/5 stars
Bonus CD – 3/5 stars