AEROSMITH — Get Your Wings (review)

AEROSMITH — Get Your Wings album cover Album · 1974 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Aerosmith's second album and one that started to see them get the attention they deserved. After their debut there was nothing. "Dream On" got a little attention but the band were wondering where all the promotion, the interviews, the radio spots, and the parties were. For "Get Your Wings" they wanted a decent producer and asked for Bob Ezrin. He offered them Jack Douglas, who would produce their string of successful albums in the seventies.

While the debut gave us a blues-based rock band with a very raw sound, "Get Your Wings" sees the band searching for a sound of their own. They were moving ahead and developing that classic Aerosmith sound, but they had not quite reached it yet. Both Jack Douglas and the band acknowledge this. When Douglas first heard the new material, he thought to himself, "What can I do to make them sound like themselves?" (Wikipedia article on Get Your Wings). Joe Perry says this:

"I knew the album, in spite of a few bright spots, still didn't capture the power of the band. We were better than the record we were making. And yet I didn't know how to get there. I didn't know how to get from good to great."

True, Aerosmith would really set the airwaves on fire with their next albums, "Toys in the Attic" and "Rocks", where the classic Aerosmith sound can finally be heard. But "Get Your Wings" is clearly a bold step toward that direction when compared with the debut album (good though I think the debut is). "Same Old Song and Dance" is clearly what the band were reaching for. A little unpolished compared to "Walk This Way" and "Back in the Saddle", there is still that roll in the rock that Aerosmith became so good at doing. The brass adds extra punch and makes future brass inclutions a natural move for the band. Songs like "Lord of the Thighs", "S.O.S. (Too Bad)", and "Pandora's Box" set the chosen standard for songs about sleeze which would inspire a whole generation of hairbands in the eighties, the S.O.S. standing for Same Old Shit while Pandora's lyrics cross "city slicker" with "slitty licker".

On the more serious side, "Spaced" is an interesting diversion into a story about a survivour of a twenty-year interstellar journey and features some guitar chords that conjure up images of Pete Townshend pinwheeling his arm. The sixties references don't get any more blatant than in the cover of the Yardbird's version of "Train Kept A Rollin'", this version first played at a slower, groovy pace, which according to drummer Joey Kramer was inspired by R&B and James Brown. Partway through, the song kicks into gear and gives a seventies version of what Jeff Beck and the Yardbirds did in 1965. And then there's a haunting ballad, "Seasons of Wither" with its sullen acoustic guitar, sorrowful lyrics, "Ooh, woe is me / I feel so badly for you", and powerful release when Tyler sings "Take the wind right out of your sails!" The song was never a single but remains a favourite of both Tyler and Perry's and in later years was performed at concerts and included on compilations.

This is an album that neatly falls into place between the preceding and succeeding albums. It still maintains some of the roughness that debut had and lacks the polish the third album would have. But it also captures the band striving for their own style that would come an album later. Not all the songs are an exciting hit but there are enough diamonds in the rough here to make the album worthwhile having for fans of seventies rock with a side note that this band is more about having groove and style and a cool sleeziness rather than going for high energy and ballsy hard rock.

Get you wings indeed. The band is this close to taking off!
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1 year ago
Oh, for sure. Toys in the Attic and Rocks are where the band really hit their sound and style just right!
Nightfly wrote:
1 year ago
This is a great album and the 2 that followed were equally good if not better.

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