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Aerosmith - Rocks

posted 26 Nov 2011, 21:01 by olnf Admin   [ updated 21 Dec 2011, 02:45 by Sudeep Jaiswal ]
Author: Sudeep Jaiswal

‘Rocks’ (1976)

There was a time when Aerosmith were dismissed as Rolling Stones knock-offs. If you listen to their earliest albums, there are definitely similarities.

It was around ‘Toys in the Attic’ (1975) when Aerosmith started forming a distinct sound of their own, and belted out classics like ‘Walk This Way’ and ‘Sweet Emotion’. The album had other good songs too and was well appreciated by fans and critics.

It’s never easy to make masterpieces in a row and that too in successive years. But ‘Rocks’ was just that. It consisted of nine songs with a running length of just around thirty five minutes, but those thirty five minutes were Aerosmith at their most "raw and rocking", as the Allmusic review describes it. In my opinion, Aerosmith had made their own sound by ‘Rocks’, and they sounded nothing like The Stones.


1. ‘Back in the Saddle’ (4:41): A great opener about cowboy sex. Steven Tyler (lead singer and chief songwriter) is a legend in using double entendre, and this song is no different. Joe Perry (lead guitarist) wrote the riff on a six-string bass, and Tyler added lyrics later. Steven Tyler has done amazing vocals. Look out for him yodeling and spanking during the guitar solo at the end. 10/10

2. ‘Last Child’ (3:24): The second track on the album features the main riff by Brad Whitford (guitarist) and has lyrics about leaving home and living as a punk in the streets, and longing for home at the same time. I consider it another Aerosmith classic. 10/10

3. ‘Rats in the Cellar’ (4:05): I can’t really understand the song lyrically, but I feel it’s about a man gone bonkers, as was ‘Toys in the Attic’ from the last album of the same name. The song title is probably referencing that album. It’s a fast paced song, with great guitar all around. 8/10

4. ‘Combination’ (3:38): Lyrically, the song is about drugs and how they can be dangerous. This is the first Aerosmith song sung by Joe Perry on lead vocals. Steven Tyler did background vocals on this one. It doesn’t stand out from the album as such, but Perry singing it makes it special. 8/10

5. ‘Sick As a Dog’ (4:15): It’s actually about Steven Tyler’s not so good first meeting with Mick Jagger. It was co-written by Tyler and Tom Hamilton (bassist). As a result, the first part of the song has Tom on lead guitar and Perry on bass. For the second half, they assume their usual roles. 9/10

6. ‘Nobody’s Fault’ (4:20): This is my favorite Aerosmith song and part reason why I chose to write this review. It seems to be about earthquakes, but what everyone will agree upon is that it’s about an impending disaster, and now it’s always "nobody’s fault". The usually light-hearted Aerosmith turn serious here, and it’s a very welcome change. The backbeat of drums and bass is so captivating that you could hear it all day. One of those songs which not only sound good, but also have a great message. Written by Brad Whitford and Steven Tyler. I could give it an 11 if I could. 10/10

7. ‘Get the Lead Out’ (3:41): Lyrically, I think it’s about making a girl to come out on the dance floor. I find the song just average. 7/10

8. ‘Lick and a Promise’ (3:04): It’s about being is a rock band, girls and winning fans in performances. Good up-beat rocker. 8/10

9. ‘Home Tonight’ (3:14): The closer ends the album on a "soft" note. Shows the softer side of writer Steven Tyler. It’s a love song. The guy is thinking of when he left home (possibly because he’s in a band and leaving to tour). And today he is coming back home, "home tonight". Sweet. 9/10

‘Rocks’ is considered a hard rock epic, and has been ranked the 176th best album of all time by the Rolling Stone magazine. And it’s a truly deserved place. It’s a must hear.