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Aerosmith - Nine Lives

Review: 087
Date: 5 Aug 02


Rating: 3 Stars

Steven Tyler - Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Hammer Dulcimer, Percussion, Hand Organ, Harmonica
Joe Perry - Guitar, Dulcimer, Slide Guitar, Background Vocals
Brad Whitford - Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Tom Hamilton - Bass, Chapman Stick
Joey Kramer - Drums

Tracks Listing:
1. Nine Lives
2. Falling In Love
3. Hole In My Soul
4. Taste Of India
5. Full Circle
6. Something’s Gotta Give
7. Ain’t That A Bitch
8. The Farm
9. Crash
10. Kiss Your Past Good-bye
11. Pink
12. Falling Off
13. Attitude Adjustment
14. Fallen Angels
15. I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing


The trouble is when you’re a classic rock band riding on the crest of a second wave with all the trappings of being a rock star still regarded as cool, regardless of obvious wealth, and showing the odd sign of wear and tear, and a huge recording contract round your neck that you have to produce albums every three years whether you want to or not. Quite clearly, in 1996 the Boston Bad Boys were not really ready. I wouldn’t dare presume this is not a good album, by any other band perhaps great, but for Aerosmith it is just ordinary.

From the opening squally feedback and Steve Tyler’s trademark caterwauling, there’s no mistaking whose album this is; there are some true stormers here. The first single from the album was the tongue-in-cheek “Falling In Love” with it’s smirk some bracketed suffix “(is so hard on the knees)” is pure vintage Aerosmith. It’s all sex, heavy innuendo, with a swaggering horn section. Joe Perry’s sultry guitar poking out a nifty riff to hang the whole thing on.

Though its not all straight ahead Rock ‘n’ Roll as Aerosmith enjoy themselves in the studio with dulcimers, fiddles, and a bevy of Indian influences. And while it’s not exactly as overt as the Beatles transformation to all things mystic in the mid-sixties, it does seem that the boys have been listening to a great deal more than a few old Rolling Stones albums for inspiration.

Sometimes all this experimentation works like in the title track, where Perry’s main riff is enhanced by a sitar sound, whereas “A Taste Of India” seems to have been recorded for the sake of having a George Harrison sounding track on the album, and comes off sounding like a gimmick.

As a complete piece of work “Nine Lives” is not as immediately accessible as it’s predecessors “Permanent Vacation”, “Pump” or “Get a Grip”, nor did it have the hit singles. How many songs will remain in the live set for another tour remains to be seen. However, it’s an album that is rewarding with repeated listening as it all hangs together rather well as a whole. Well, that is until it was re-released this year with the added inclusion of their monster hit “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” (all thanks to the ham fisted movie “Armageddon”, where Bruce Willis saves the world….. again). Obviously the inclusion of this song will boost sales, but I have always felt at odds with this song as an Aerosmith fan as it’s a shame that this slushy ballad, written by Diane Warren, was the song to finally take them to number one, not one of their own songs.

For those lulled into a false sense that Aerosmith have lost their rockin' bottle and gone all soft, fear not, there is no need for alarm. We get the riotous “Crash” which is as close as punk rock as the Toxic Twins are ever likely to get, while “Pink”, with the kind of over the top lyric only Tyler could get away with, is simply outrageous and sees the vocalist breakout the blues harp for a bit of good old bar room boogie.

Remarkably, considering the band had been together (on and off) for well over a quarter of a century when “Nine Lives” was released, it’s still the sound of a band firing on all cylinders.

Not a classic album, but it is Aerosmith and you’ve just got to love ‘em.


Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew


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