Aerosmith’s last album was four years earlier in 1997 with Nine Lives. Between then and 2001, they kept in the public eye. In 1998, they released a live album called ‘A Little South of Sanity’ and the massive single “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” from the Armageddon Soundtrack. Then in 1999, they got their own roller coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s called Rock n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. Then in January 2001, they were co-headliners for the XXXV Super Bowl with ‘Nsync. The timing was impeccable as their new album would be released several weeks later on March 5, 2001 titled ‘Just Push Play’.
The band was still in tact with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer. However, when recording, the band was not together. They recorded their parts separately with producers Mark Hudson and Marti Frederiksen along with Steven and Joe. As a result, this album is Joe Perry’s least favorite…he has been quoted as saying this album taught him “how not to record an Aerosmith album”. Pretty harsh!! And not far from the truth. This is not an album that sounds like classic Aerosmith. It is not rough around the edges. It is polished, over-produced and sounds like a pop album. It is all rainbow and unicorns and not what you want from Aerosmith. Yes, it went Platinum, but this was the beginning of the end of commercial success for the band. Diehard fans were not happy and the younger new fans were too stupid to and brainwashed by bad radio to know this isn’t Aerosmith.
We are now in the 2000’s so the cover art is trying to be all futuristic with the girl robot which was designed by Hajime Sorayama who designed the robot to resemble Marilyn Monroe. My copy was even more interesting. I bought this used and when I got home and opened it up, it also had an extra CD included. No, it isn’t listed on the cover that there is one. It was there by mistake. It was a copy of ‘Nine Lives’ which I already have on CD. Now I have a spare.
The album kicks off with some middle eastern sound before the drums and guitar coming slamming in. The song is “Beyond Beautiful”…that is the title, not how I feel about it. It is a very modern sounding rocker which is both catchy and high energy which you want from an opening track. There are two guitar solo breaks and the second one is more jam session style which makes me like this one more than not.
“Just Push Play” is up next and I am not sure how to describe this one. It was a single but never broke the Top 40 and I think because it is a mess of a song. They are trying to do way more than they should. It even includes some DJ scratching…please shoot me now! The song is contagious and memorable kind of like Covid!! You remember you heard it, but it causes you to loose all sense of taste and smell.
The best song on the album was the first single, “Jaded”. It is a very poppy track and almost like Matchbox Twenty type song, but is still incredible. It is well produced and Tyler sounds fantastic, but the lyrics are a little generic and yet I don’t care. It is ear candy and most people agreed as it went to #7 on the Billboard Top 40 and was their last song to break the Top 40 if I’m not mistaken.
Then we get the first ballad, “Fly Away From Here” which was written/co-written by any member of Aerosmith. It was written by Marti Frederiksen and Todd Chapman. It could’ve easily been a clone of Diane Warren’s penned song and Aero’s biggest hit “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”. It is simply horrid and so blatantly obvious that it will make you nauseous.
“Trip Hoppin'” is up next and it is a little bluesy with horns by Tower of Power and Dan Higgins. The song feels desperate and a sad attempt at making the band sound relevant in the 2000’s. It has no heart, no soul and is as lifeless as they come. A tragic example of a song that does feel like no one was in the same room to record.
“Sunshine” was another single and another song that failed to make its mark. It is a generic, boring track and hell, even Steven sounds bored. It is a slower tempo and not quite ballady, but close. It just fails to excite you in any way and you are quickly ready to move on…or at least I was.
The back half of the album kicks off with the energetic “Under My Skin” which has a familiar Aerosmith type guitar riff and at least brings a little grit and a little of Steven’s harmonica so we know that Aerosmith hasn’t completely abandoned us yet. Close, but not quite. It isn’t their best song, but compared to the crap on this one, it isn’t half bad. Plus we get some backing vocals from Steven’s daughter Chelsea Tyler. Nice!
“Luv Lies” then slows things down a little again and it is another long, drawn out, boring ass song. I don’t know how much more I can take of this crap. I forgot how bad this album really was and why I rarely listened to it. Songs like this are a good reminder.
The band brings the funk with “Outta Your Head” and I think it even has more scratching. It is a modern song and I’m not sure if they were trying to be Red Hot Chili Peppers or what…but at least the song is somewhat interesting even if Steven is rapping. Ok, who am I kidding. It is another sad attempt at being relevant, what little self-respect they might have had with this one is so long gone.
“Drop Dead Gorgeous” is finally something worth listening to as it has Joe Perry on lead vocals and Steven doing the backing vocals most notably on the chorus. They are using some looping on this song which makes it sound modern and I’m actually ok with it. Finally though, we get a rock song of some sort.
The next track is “Light Inside” and sorry, I am still looking for some light on this album as it seems to be dying on the vine. I’m not sure what they were going for on this one, but whatever it was completely missed the mark.
The final track is a very experimental one called “Avant Garden”. It has almost a Stone Temple Pilots vibe to it musically. It is a ballad with acoustic guitars and some whispering vocals by another Steven daughter, Liv Tyler. It is strange, bizarre and yet interesting which is something most of the songs on this album have been lacking. At least the album is going out with something different, but not desperate sounding. Roughly 45 seconds after “Avant Garden” a hidden track entitled “Under My Skin Reprise” plays for about one minute and a total waste of time.
- Beyond Beautiful – Keeper
- Just Push Play – Delete
- Jaded – Keeper
- Fly Away From Home – Delete
- Trip Hoppin’ – Delete
- Sunshine – Delete
- Under My Skin – Keeper
- Luv Lies – Delete
- Outta Your Head – Delete
- Drop Dead Gorgeous – Keeper
- Light Inside – Delete
- Avant Garden – Keeper
The Track Score is 5 out of 12 or 42% and that about sums it up for you right there. The album is so over-produced. It is so obvious the band is trying to be cool and relevant and pandering to a hipper and younger crowd while leaving their diehard fan base behind. This is probably the worst album I’ve heard by them so far and we are 13 studio albums in at this point. What was lacking for me, were songs obviously, but the band. This didn’t sound like Aerosmith. The guitars took a backseat and even Joey’s drumming was muted. Disgraceful. There is nothing redeeming about this album other than “Jaded” for me. It is obvious why the first single was a hit and the rest of the album died a painfully slow death. Hard to believe but a platinum selling album could be a disappointment, but this one was. My Overall Score is a 2.0 out of 5.0 Stars.
UP NEXT: ‘HONKIN’ ON BOBO’ (2004)
THE AEROSMITH COLLECTION SERIES:
- ‘Aerosmith’ (1973)
- ‘Get Your Wings’ (1974)
- ‘Toys in the Attic’ (1975)
- ‘Rocks’ (1976)
- ‘Draw the Line’ (1977)
- ‘Live! Bootleg’ (1978)
- ‘Night in the Ruts’ (1979)
- ‘Greatest Hits’ (1980)
- ‘Rock in a Hard Place’ (1982)
- ‘Done With Mirrors’ (1985)
- Run DMC – “Walk This Way” 12″ Single (1986)
- ‘Classics Live!’ (1986)
- ‘Classics Live! II’ (1987)
- ‘Permanent Vacation’ (1987)
- “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” (1987) – 7″ Single & 12″ Maxi-Single (Bonus Edition)
- “Angel” (1988) – 7″ Single (Bonus Edition)
- “Rag Doll” (1988) – 7″ Single (Bonus Edition)
- ‘Gems’ (1988)
- ‘Pump’ (1989)
- ‘Pandora’s Box’ (1991)
- ‘Get a Grip’ (1993)
- ‘Nine Lives’ (1997)
- ‘A Little South of Sanity’ (1998)
- ‘Just Push Play’ (2001)
- ‘Honkin on Bobo’ (2004)
- ‘Rockin’ The Joint (2005)
- ‘Music From Another Dimension’ (2012)
- ‘1971: The Road Starts Hear’ (2021)
- The Albums Ranked Worst To First