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Aerosmith Devil’s Got A New Disguise

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Tuesday, October 24, 2006 @ 7:35 AM

On Columbia Records

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“You can really fuck to a good Aerosmith song.”

Steven Tyler---Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years

I realize that that some of you are already screaming that the world needs another Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits disc about as much as Rosie O’ Donnell needs another penis or Eddie Trunk needs another doughnut. As usual, when it comes to packages such as this though, there are generally contractual issues behind the scenes that can result in the creation of releases like this one. It has been said that Devil’s Got A New Disguise is being released primarily to fulfill the band’s obligation to Sony/Columbia Records, and with all of the problems the band has had over the last year with Steven Tyler needing throat surgery last March and Tom Hamilton actually having throat cancer, finding an opportunity to create new material has been more than problematic, it has been damn near impossible, so it would stand to reason for some that the band would release yet another compilation record given the circumstances. Basically, Devil’s Got A New Disguise offers die hard fans eighteen tracks loaded onto one disc--two of which are being released for the first time now. Whether or not the prospect of purchasing all of these previously released and re-released hits gets you hotter than Gene Simmons in a room full of old women and hair weaves obviously depends on perspective, but….Tyler and company are certainly hoping you’re with the concept enough to shell out 15 of your hard earned welfare dollars at your local Best Buy.

It’s clear from the onset that the obvious selections are all here including the disc opener, “Dream On.” What follows are the predictable tracks such as “Momma Kin”, “Sweet Emotion” and what is probably Aerosmith’s best song ever “Back In The Saddle.” It was after about the fourth tune though that I started to consider the fact that I actually like the bands who were said to have been inspired by Steven and company way more than I’ve ever really liked Aerosmith. I know, I know that sounds like heresy and that some people really get into these guys, but….well, I’ve found that eighty-percent of the time fans who claim they regularly listen to Aerosmith tend to mostly listen to Rocks when they feel the compulsion to throw in one of the band’s discs. Really, I can’t remember the last time I actively pursued placing an Aerosmith cd into my stereo---I can tell you though that I recently stored a Cinderella disc in my Mp3 player just last week and consistently listen to them. I also know that’s not supposed to happen given that I was always led to believe that Tom Keifer was supposed to be nothing more than a “poor man’s Steven Tyler” or whatever, and in reality a lot of Keifer’s appearance and some of his stage antics are extremely reminiscent, but---I’m here to shout from the mountaintops that Cinderella’s cannon of songs is actually better than Aerosmith’s. Not only that--I’d take Faster Pussycat’s catalogue over Tyler and Perry too. It has gotten to such a point that I wonder if Aerosmith endures mostly because of their status as living legends rather than because their last record was good (by the way--it wasn’t) or whatever.

There is nothing from the middle of this disc up through the new tracks here to change my perception either. The 80’s were considered a renaissance of sorts for the group, and yes, it was doubtlessly a lucrative period for the band and they should be applauded for overcoming their various addictions, but….I don’t need to ever hear “Dude Looks Like A Lady” again. Ever. In fact, that song sucks worse than Sebastian Bach the last time he went to Uncle Ted’s ranch. Although “Rag Doll” was pretty good, “Love In An Elevator” bothered me more than an armless checkout clerk working the express lane at Wal-Mart. I had also wondered on numerous occasions that since “Janie’s Got A Gun”, why she didn’t have enough sense to just use it on herself thus putting an end to the misery I’d experience every time that melodramatic piece of cockroach jizz came on to MTV--basically, if a scantily clad Liv Tyler isn’t part of the festivities, I’m not interested. As for the two new selections, “Sedona Sunrise” and “Devil’s Got A New Disguise”, they will sound great blaring from the windows of your minivan on the way to taking the ol’ kids to soccer practice. By the way---the wifey still looks hot with all that layered, feathered hair. Lucky you! She finally looks exactly like Farrah. Of course…you know…Farrah is sixty now, but…you take what you can get, right?

When Steven Tyler made his historic declaration during the The Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years about the rhythms involved in a great Aerosmith tune, he was mostly accurate. The problem though with the group continuing to release records consisting primarily of the band’s tried and true standards--regardless of the circumstances--is that the burnout factor exponentially increases with the public every time this happens and that combined with classic rock airplay can tend to make people homicidal at the prospect of hearing certain tracks like “Livin’ On The Edge” again. Now, I understand more than anyone that I enjoy giving Kiss a ton of hell, but I also realize that they have contributed significantly to what rock is today—for better or worse, and for this reason, they will always be remembered. It is precisely for this reason that it is difficult to say what the true legacy of Aerosmith is going to be. Is their music really that good? Are they that great of a performing concert band? Personally, I would have to exclude them from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame simply for having the bad judgment to release a record entitled Honkin’ On Bobo--it sounds like something an old prostitute would do to a geriatric on his deathbed. I’m not even certain that forty years from now music fans are going to view Aerosmith any differently than they will Boston or REO Speedwagon. For those who are independently wealthy and can afford to shell out enough coin for this new disc in order to obtain a couple of new songs that you can probably hear on the radio twenty four hours a day in the near future, go right ahead. If that’s not the case, maybe you could take the money you would have spent on this and go get yourself a copy of “Long Cold Winter” by Cinderella or Faster Pussycat’s debut and go cavort around your house with a broomstick covered with long, flowing scarves and make pouty faces all by yourself in the mirror.


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