I first heard a few of these songs at a school dance. When the DJ put “Jaded” on, i thought at first it was a Matchbox 20 song~ surprised to find out that it was a lousy and overrated song from one of my favorite classic rock bands. Stay away from this, Rock band gone pop’s album. If you want some Aerosmith stuff from when they were still good, get “The Greatest Hits.”
It’s difficult to separate Aerosmith from their glorious/inglorious history–one that’s seen more revivals than West Side Story. For better or worse, the stalwart Boston quintet carry a load of preconceptions that are impossible to shake. Thus Just Push Play begs the question: If this 12-song set was the product of a bunch of upstarts, would it cause much of a commotion? The answer: Absolutely! Working with coproducers and song collaborators Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson, Aerosmith have forged an album that gracefully fuses ’70s hard-rock grit with contemporary gloss. The pop-infused likes of the sweeping ”Jaded” and the insistent ”Sunshine” best demonstrate the formula that Tyler, Perry, and company have settled on for now, while gliding strings surge over Tyler’s patented screech and the no-nonsense grind of the four instrumentalists. Mailed-in lyrics and a few self-conscious nods to the times mar Just Push Play, but the pleasures to be had here overwhelm the album’s deficiencies. –Steven Stolder
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Ok, so you’ve picked up this Aerosmith album, and you’re looking at the cover thinking, “What the h-e-double hockey sticks is up with this robot lady and all that dang pink?” I mean, we all know that Aerosmith isn’t a band that one would associate with the color pink. (At least not until 1997, that is.) This was my big problem when I gave the record its first spin. I couldn’t get past that cover. It’s just so…NOT Aerosmith! And to tell you the truth, the first time I listened to the album, it didn’t really strike me as worthy. But I love this album. There is just a certain way you have to listen to this album. If you listen to it with “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” as the last Aero song you’ve heard, you’re gonna think it’s a bomb. You’re approaching the music in totally the wrong way. Put down the cd case. Bury that cover under your bed somewhere and don’t look at it at all. Now take out “Toys”. Take out “Pump”. And listen. Listen to that. NOW, put “Play” back in. And listen to it again. I think you’ll find it’s a different experience, and I’ll tell you why. Because this time, you’re not listening for something to explain that cover. This time, you’re listening to the music. You’re hearing what Steve, Joe, Tom, Joey and Brad heard when they wrote the stuff. You’re hearing the connections between songs like “The Other Side” and “Under My Skin”. You can feel the way that “You See Me Crying” evokes the same kinds of emotion as “Fly Away From Here”, and that Steven’s harmonica hasn’t rusted between “Crazy” and “Luv Lies”. Can you hear it? Once you get past all the hype and the promos, you’ll realize it’s still Aerosmith, and it’s still rock’n'roll. And it just rocks. What’s that? You don’t hear anything? Well, my friend, just push play.
Since the band’s reincarnation in 1985 (with the rejoining of Joe Perry after an extended hiatus), we were able to forgive them for the fact that they began their songs with professionals outside the band because, quite simply, ‘Permanent Vacation’ (1987) and ‘Pump’ (1989) ranked among Aerosmith’s very best records. But the band’s slip began with a penchant for power ballads, some that worked (“Cryin” and “What It Takes”) and some that did not (“Crazy” and “Angel”) and became more pronounced on ‘Get a Grip’ (1993) and ‘Nine Lives’ (1997). (Coincidentally, this is also the time when band members other than Steven Tyler and Joe Perry stopped participating in the songwriting.)On their first self-produced record, ‘Just Push Play’ (2001), the trend continues. If you can get past the image of Aerosmith performing live at the superbowl with Britney Spears, then I suppose the record’s first single, “Jaded”, is not so bad. However, the record’s second single, “Fly Away from Here” is the culmination of all that has precipitated the band’s demise – a god-awfully predictable ballad written entirely by non-band members.To be sure, the band adds a few touches of electronica in an attempt to update their sound (“Outta Your Head”). But even the record’s strongest cut, “Just Push Play”, a return to Aerosmith’s riff-rockers, lacks the lyrical play that Steven Tyler characteristically brought to such classics as “Walk This Way” and “Rag Doll”.In summary, while ‘Just Push Play’ is a bit of a disappointment, there is still hope that the band could still produce another classic record someday. (…)
By the time you’ve toured the world over, sold millions of albums whose discography spans 3 decades and cuts a pretty wide swath of rock and roll between the 20th and 21st centuries, there are many fans who think there is not much more you can do without truly being mocked as a band living off past accolades with no future vision or direction musically.
With “Just push Play”, Aerosmith defied the odds and critics, producing the album themselves for the first time in the bands history. The rock songs like “Just push play” take us back to their gritty roots, bypassing some of the more orchestral feel of their late 80’s and early 90’s stuff. While at the same time, the songwriting and production is strong and soothing in softer, slower tracks like “Fly away from here” and “Beyond Beautiful”. At first listen many fans seem to completely abandon this record, but I feel it isn’t so much an acquired taste this time around as a fully expected one. Just Push Play shows that they still can write, record, produce, and play some innovative and fun rock. The album cover is also one of the better rock album covers I’ve seen in a while, and I wouldn’t expect anything less than some fun music to go with it than our very own Aerosmith.
THE BAND: Steven Tyler (vocals, piano, harmonica), Joe Perry (guitars), Brad Whitford (guitars), Tom Hamilton (bass), Joey Kramer (drums & percussion).
THE DISC: (2001) 12 tracks clocking in at just under 51 minutes. Included with the disc is a 14-page booklet containing band pictures, song credits, song lyrics, and thank you’s. Recorded and mixed at the Bone Yard (South Shore, MA). Label – Columbia.
COMMENTS: There are two types of Aerosmith. The 1st is the hard rocking raunch & roll band from Sunapee, NH… wrote great songs during the 1970’s because they wanted to and that’s what they loved doing… whether they got paid big bucks or not. The 2nd is the commercially successful corporate american business version of the band. Depending on which Aero you like – this will either be middle of the road noise, or it will be wonderful music to your ears. Aerosmith is growing – they are keeping up with the times and incorporating the sounds that are popular today. You will hear drum loops and even rap (“Just Push Play”) present. They are growing with the times and I can accept that. If your a fan of the old Aero, like me, this probably isn’t going to floor you. In my book, the classics “Get Your Wings”, “Toys In The Attic” and “Rocks” were probably three of the greatest rock records of the (70’s) decade. If you enjoy the new & more recent releases by Aero (90’s), you will dig this album. Previous albums like “Nine Lives” and “Get A Grip” were saturated with the power ballads and were not the true band in their best form (also – movie soundtracks like Armegeddon’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” is a great example). While containing some familiar tongue in cheek rockers, most of the songs were middle of the road AOR tunes with mixed fillers of soft “heartbreak” lullabies geared toward the female audience. On “Just Push Play”, the same format is used. While a few hard rockers are present (the best being “Outta Your Head), this album lays down to many ballads (“Avant Garden”, “Beyond Beautiful” and “Luv Lies” may be the best of a mixed bag of ‘em). I have to admit, when this album first come out I wasn’t impressed (not to mention hating the album cover). However, over the years it has absolutely grown on me (especially the title track). The album starts off with an extremely solid 1-2-3 punch (“Beyond Beautiful, “Just Push Play” and “Jaded”). In my opinion, the Aero of 2001 is closer to FM-Lite radio than it is to rock & roll. Not that it’s a bad thing, but rather where your likes & dislikes are (3.5 stars).