The first album from the now “sober” Aerosmith and the beginning of their huge comeback that has continued to this day. Some people look at this album as a sell-out due to the influx of outside writers and the general polished sound of the album. Personally I think it rocks. The band sounds rejuvenated and there is a lot of great material to be found on this disc. The album spawned the huge hits “Rag Doll”, “Dude Looks Like A Lady”, and the lame “Angel”. Overall most of the rest of the songs are good to great Aerosmith. “Hangman Jury” is cool. “Girl Keeps Coming Apart” has a nice Joe Perry guitar solo. The title track is a nice rocker and they even throw in an instrumental called “The Movie” which works quite well too. Overall I think this was a great comeback album.
While Done with Mirrors marked the beginning of Aerosmith’s remarkable career comeback (and a gratifying return to rollicking ’70s form), this is the album that both reclaimed their widespread fame and made even longtime cynics take notice. Fresh from rehab, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry lead the band through a strong collection that rivals such previous high points as Toys in the Attic and Rocks, though in a much more pop-oriented vein. That’s largely the province of producer Bruce Fairbairn and hired-gun songwriters Desmond Child and Jim Vallance (hired upon Mirrors’ commercial disappointment). But on this record, those outside influences are still largely invisible, even if Fairbairn’s production sheen now seems ’80s generic. Fueled by the playful staples ”Rag Doll” and ”Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” and seasoned with the Delta blues fetish of ”Hangman Jury” and, of course, a patented Big Power Ballad (”Angel”), it’s an album that’s become all but ubiquitous. Thankfully, the band’s own gritty sensibility still informs tracks like ”St. John” and ”Girl Keeps Coming Apart,” as well as a rambunctiously reverent take on the classic Beatles B-side, ”I’m Down.” –Jerry McCulley
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I remember when I was a kid listening to FM radio by the turn dial light on a old stereo. I heard the classic tracks like “Dream on”, “walk this way”,”toys in the attic”, among others. I know they were amazing then and when I heard that they had cleaned up and reunited the original line up I was definately curious. When Permanent Vacation came out I was shock they had managed to catch lightning in a bottle for the second time. that is an amazing feat to say the least. This recording brought a whole new legion of fans. I went to see these guys in ‘88 and was amazed that peopel had brought their kids with them to show them what real amaerican rock n’ roll was all about. This cd is more commercial than their early recordings but is definate a nice piece of work. Aerosmith is the greatest American rock band to ever walk on stage.
This album is almost as good as Done with Mirrrors. As is it ranks as the third best of Aerosmith’s comeback records. If you’re wondering, in order they are: 3)Permanent Vacation 2)Done with Mirrors 1)Pump It was all downhill after Pump. With 1993’s Get A Grip they became a corporate hit-making machine, churning out Sappy MTV inspired drivel. And one ends up asking themself “Are these the same guys who sang Back in the saddle?” As a native Bostonian it’s sad to say, I used to be proud of these guys, now I see ‘em on stage with Britney Spears and just shake my head in shame. Although I will say this, they’re still a pretty decent live-act. Oh yeah! (No pun intended) I forgot, I was reviewing Permanent Vacation. Following the unjust commercial failure of Done with mirrors, the boys headed up to Vancouver to work with Bon Jovi Producer Bruce Fairbairn (R.I.P) to help give their sound more apeal. And they used outside writers to spruce up their songs. It works for the most part, this album here is still undoubtedly Aerosmith at the Core, yet it had a slight commercial twist. And the band members at least co-wrote all the tunes, in other words you won’t have syrupy garbage like “I don’t wanna miss a thing.” The album starts off with “Hearts done time” one of the all-time great Aero openers. Some have called this song boring, but I disagree, it’s got Joey Kramer’s bombastic drumming and Steven Tyler’s patented screams at the end. The next track “Magic Touch” features a prominent Twin Guitar crunch with a nice Joe Perry Solo. I believe these songs are vastly overlooked and underrated in the Aerosmith catalog, they never show up on the compilations. “Ragdoll” is the hit we all know by heart. It displays a too-funky-for-it’s-own goo guitar lick and an enchanting horn section. Mr. Tyler’s verses are chock full of swagger. Plus, ya gotta love that video The fourth track is “Simoriah” which I never hear mentioned at all. Probably because it’s not an excellent song, granted, I like the Guitar arrangement that kicks it off, but it sounds a bit dated. “Dude looks like a lady” is strong of course. I’ve heard this song was written about Motley Crue’s Vince Neil, though I’m not sure. “St. John” and “Hangman jury” are two tracks that are criminally overlooked and underrated. The former displaying some heavy duty Rocks-era riffing and clever lyrics. “Hangman jury” revels in the bands roots. It’s very bluesy, Steven Tyler’s on the Harmonica. The song builds up slowly and then the duel guitars carry it home. “Girl keeps coming apart” is decent. I didn’t like it at first but it’s since grown on me. It has a catchy hook, if not careful, you’ll singit all day. Following that is the song that I never cared much for “Angel”. It takes you to Velveeta-land. Brush your teeth after listening, it drips with syrup and sap. Given Aerosmith’s great history of tear-jerking, heartfelt ballads, like “Dream on” “You see me cryin” and “Home tonight”, Simply put, this one doesn’t stack up and is a big letdown. The title track is enjoyable, it has a carribean flavor with steel drums in the background. Their cover of the Beatles’ “I’m down” is pulled off with ease. Closing the album is an instrumental “The movie” with a great Tom Hamilton bass line, with Brad Whitford, Joe Perry and Joey Kramer giving it their all, and similar to Cal Ripken, Ironman Steve Tyler sits one out. In closing this album is just a notch below Pump and Done with mirrors, you should still pick it up. The songs that didn’t make it onto the Radio are very good.
BAND: Steven Tyler (vocals, piano, harmonica), Joe Perry (guitars), Brad Whitford (guitars), Tom Hamilton (bass), Joey Kramer (drums & percussion).
THE DISC: (1987) 12 songs clocking in at approximately 52 minutes. The digitally remastered version released in 2001. Included with the disc is a 10-page booklet containing band photos, song titles/credits, song lyrics, and thank you’s. Recorded at Little Mountain Sound Studios, Vancouver BC, Canada. Label – Geffen.
COMMENTS: Two years prior, “Done With Mirrors” (1985) marked a comeback of sorts for Aerosmith. The Toxic Twins were supposedly sober and ready to take America by storm, again. Decades later, the band is still on top of the world – giving us fresh music and selling millions of albums. Looking back, the late 70’s and early 80’s were a rough period for Aerosmith. Jack Daniels was the beverage of choice for band members, drugs, infighting, and ultimately guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford went their separate ways. 1985 saw them back in the studio – wanting to cut an album, wanting to rock & roll… and “Done With Mirrors” proved they could still do it. With “Permanent Vacation”, Aerosmith proved they were still a hit making rock machine. “Vacation” was professional, slick, and polished. 12 fabulous songs filled with catchy hooks, modest tongue-in-cheek humor was present again, and a few huge hits to boot – “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)”, “Rag Doll” and “Angel” – marking their return to form! As much as the hits received major airplay, the deeper album cuts were simply gems… the 1-2 punch of openers “Heart’s Done Time” and “Magic Touch” get the album off to a rocking start. Perry’s blistering guitar work on “Simoriah” and the title track. Ultra cool swaggering songs “St. John” and “Hangman Jury”, their first Beatle’s cover “I’m Down”, as well as the closing instrumental “The Movie”. Thoroughly listenable – every track. As much as “Permanent Vacation” saw the band gelling again, it was a welcome comeback for one of America’s all-time legendary bands. Classic disc (5-stars).
The timing couldn’t have been better for the band, or the rock music landscape in general. By the time of it’s release in August of 1987, The dregs had come out of the woodwork to be the next “big hair” band and get rich quick with a powerful sappy “love ballad”. Enter the grandfathers of big hair rock to take the reins and keep some things in perspective with the release of Permanent Vacation, which sent a message: “WE were here before you, and we will be long after you are gone”.
“Angel” was a powerful and moving song that allowed the band to create their own version of a “power ballad” without being tossed into the frey of the other cookie cutter hair bands that by now were dotting the landscape. “Magic Touch” “Hearts done time” are also genuine rock songs that help prove that Aerosmith was here to stay for another era. They top it off with the fun, rocking track “Dude (Looks like a lady)” that has seen a ton of radio play since it’s release. Not every song is a smash hit on this record, but the one’s that are stand out BIG TIME and also prove the diversity in songwriting and composition structure that the band has. Overall a great rock record.