[Album Review] “Rocks” – Aerosmith (original review)

Rocks - AerosmithAlbum Title: Rocks
Artist: Aerosmith
Year: 1976
Running Time: 34m 34s

Track listing: 1 Back in the Saddle; 2 Last Child; 3 Rats in the Cellar; 4 Combination; 5 Sick as a Dog; 6 Nobody’s Fault; 7 Get the Lead Out; 8 Lick and a Promise; 9 Home Tonight

No bones about it – this is the best Aerosmith album. Ever.

‘Back in the Saddle’ blows things wide open with its homage to the wild west. Tom Hamilton plucks the bass along in fruity style with Joe Perry blowing off riffs in all directions. The good time groove of ‘…Saddle’ is prevalent in two great slices of stadium rock later on the disc. ‘Get the Lead Out’ will have you dancing in the aisles before it fades out in unsettling style only to be replaced by the anthemic ‘Lick and a Promise’ which could actually physically make you stand up, clench your fist, and cheer loudly.

‘Nobodys Fault’ is another classic track. Aeromsith stand on the edge of insanity as they proclaim the end of the world thanks to the danger posed by the San Andreas fault along California which has long been associated with the threat of earthquakes. Kramer pounds relentlessly, Hamilton grits his teeth as his demented bassline sounds out the alert, Tyler screams doomsday warnings in what is total lyrical heaven and Whitford and Perry exchange malicious guitar licks like there is no tomorrow. Which is exactly what this song is telling you.

More great stuff to come: ‘Rats in the Cellar’ picks up the ‘Toys in the Attic’ mantle as Aerosmith’s fastest rocker. This tale of urban disintegration comes complete with police siren sound affects, continuous snare drum, tortured harmonica and tension-enhancing lyrics; ‘Catch me if you can, throw me in the slam’, challenges Tyler.

‘Last Child’ rolls in melodically with a light guitar strain before reality kicks in and the funky, itchy beat takes over. ‘Last Child’ sees the band take a simple rhythm and hug it tightly for the entire experience with Whitford and Kramer hammering out a great understanding.

What’s left? ‘Sick as a Dog’ is a total pop experince with excellent guitar harmonies and the use of hand claps to further expose the obsessive beat, ‘Combination’ is a Joe Perry composition which is as dark as ‘Sick as a Dog’ is bright but wins through thanks to its brooding, pained concept and dual vocal offensive and finally ‘Home Tonight’ is another fine ballad which contains timely sentimentalilty, a beautiful Joe Perry solo and a 101 piece orchestra. Aerosmith really wound up a great album in dramatic style.

‘Rocks’ is rock and roll paradise and if Aerosmith were all to snuff it tomorrow, this album would deem them immortal forever.


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