I was born in the mid-70s, around the time of Aerosmith's first popular high point. By the time I was listening to pop music circa 1982, they had fallen off the map. American wanted its MTV and all the frothy British New Wave acts that actually had good videos. Aerosmith was drowning in a sea of drugs and their brand of AOR was no longer au courrant.
Inexplicably, they managed to mount a comeback with 1986's Permanent Vacation, and their pairing with Run DMC (who I adored) put them on my radar. As far as I was concerned, they were just a more experienced version of Poison and all the other lame hair metal bands of the time. I had no clue of their earlier incarnation until I started listening to classic rock radio circa 1991. All of a sudden, I was exposed to a very different and far more vital band.
This band rocked savagely, the edges not worn down by 80s production techniques. My favorite of that era then and now is "Back in the Saddle Again." ("Sweet Emotion" is a strong second.) It has a momentous buildup, sounding like the soundtrack of an old horror movie during a scene when the monster is secretly creeping behind the hero.
Then, all of a sudden, BLAM!
Steven Tyler gives his best scream of "I'M BAAAAACK!" and Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton unleash a truly monster riff, smashing through the speaker like Bigfoot crushing cars. Joey Kramer lays down a swaggering, swinging beat made for strutting down the street with this on your headphones. Brad Whitford jumps in with spashes of screeching guitar, like paint splattering against a canvas. The energy is just completely off the charts, but somehow it manages to keep building across the song to the point that it almost overheats and explodes until it settles into a groovy coda.
Put this in your Camaro and you'll blow the bloody doors off.
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