Aerosmith, Toys In The Attic

I don't think the now more (they could hardly have been less) mature and, at least comparatively, refined incarnation of Aerosmith would agree, but ... they really need to get back on drugs. Because those drugs brought us this, even finer than Rocks (oh, the irony), more developed than Walk The Line, and, well, better than just about every other album they've done, stoned or sober. Of course, the drugs are what made the later '70s albums worse, because they always do, but at least for a time the cocaine made incredible magic. There's the breezy nonsense of "Walk This Way," still unequaled after all these years despite Run-DMC's iconic hiphop refurb; snarky, raunchy blues in the thinly disguised double entendre "Big Ten Inch Record," a surprisingly weighty yet brisk ballad on child abuse in "Uncle Salty" and even some soulful, if admittedly silly, moments in "You See Me Crying," my favourite guilty pleasure on the whole album for its syrupy hokiness. Plus, yes, plenty of heavy cut-it-with-a-razor-blade rock, running all the way from the title track to "Adam's Apple" to concert favourites like "Sweet Emotion" and "Round and Round," with the blase "No More No More" being the only weak cut in an album of sheer, unadulterated, white clouds of bliss. I hope it's obvious how fully in my cheek my tongue is saying this, but look at what a couple well-placed lines will do for your creative output. If being drugged out would have prevented them from releasing Just Push Play, I say bring back the mirrors. The CD reissue adds "Dream On" as a bonus track, a tremendous mitzvah, because then you don't need to buy that other unmentionable album just to get their first great single. It was the grass that was responsible for the rest of that dreck, you see. (Content: adult themes, a couple mild expletives.)