Number 82 – Do You Wanna’ Just Breathe, or do You Wanna’ Live?

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The song is old now…

It’s been put away on the shelf collecting dust. Once an avenue in so many ways, for so many, including the band. The video at this point in time is a little hokie, and we have moved so far away from the over indulgences of 80’s, the “Whatever you do, do a lot” years. The meanings have faded quite a bit, but as old as I am, I will give this one a spot in the “80’s”, if for no other reason, than what it once meant to so many…

Some will say; this is a typical Aerosmith ballad. Me, I’m gonna give it a different label… A bit loftier than the word “typical”, for many different reasons among the listeners, then again, I’m sure, many the same.

I say it’s a classic, for a few different reasons. The first one is obvious; “Hey Generation number 2!!! Let me introduce you to America’s favorite rock band!!!”

This song was a big part of the beginning of a 2nd life for this band. A whole new generation discovered them. Hell, even that generation has kids now being introduced to them because their mom and/or dad rediscovered the guys via this song. This could very well be a lot of that 2nd generation’s “Dream On”, per se’…

Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but I’m sure you get my point….

The band was on there last breath when this song came out. With Hangman (in ’87) being the only song off the album to reach into the Billboard Hot 100. They had great success with “Dude” and “Rag Doll” on the Rock Charts, but still weren’t quite cracking the glass ceiling. Then with the release of this song, as a single in ’88 they got a whiff, and a taste of the pie, reaching farther up the charts than any other song they’d previously recorded. Even farther than “Dream On”, although similar in such a way, that neither song is hardly representative of exactly who these guys are at their core.

None-the less, this band knows how to do a Rock Ballad, enough so that millions of fans would come to recognize them for these types of songs. The songs with just enough guitar to call them Rock n Roll, just enough expanded vocals to keep them on hard rock stations, but enough… well, for lack of a better word, just enough “wetness” to categorize them in the “Yacht Rock” genre! These are the songs, that get the attention, not just from such a narrow audience as The famous “Blue Army”, They needed more than that. They needed to reach further. These are the songs that get the housewives, the young girls that shy away from that true hard driving, head banging, back beat rhythm, the songs that enter the Fraternity and Sorority halls across the country, the songs that sell! Yep, this song skyrocketed Aerosmith to success previously never achieved, all the way to  #3 on Billboards Hot 100…

Maybe way more important than any of that though, the reason why it’s such a classic to me, is that you can still feel and hear all the way through it, that true Aerosmith chemistry, Steven trying to slow Joe down a bit, along with the rest of the band. You can hear all the way through it, Joe wanting more from the song, wanting the band to go deeper, harder, faster… It’s almost as if you’re in the room, and you can hear, and feel Joe’s distaste for “another fucking ballad”, saying; “okay, we’ll do this, but we’re gonna’ go deep on this damn it!” then just listen to the “Holding Back”, the edge of almost…

Such a very, VERY classic Aerosmith song… Joe’s lead pushing Steven’s vocals, Steven’s vocals meeting Joe and Brad’s pitch, and tension note for note! It’s got Steven’s piano as a background, foreground softness, to Joey’s hard hitting rhythm. It’s more than a ballad, it’s a fucking hit record!

Written with Desmond Child, it’s a song that captures all the femininity of a magical romance, and all the serenity of masculine protection. It captures the fragility of the human spirit both with, and without a connection, a simple bond to another. It speaks to couples, it even speaks to family, it speaks to friendship, if that’s what fits… It bleeds Aerosmith emotion… I’m not much of a ballad guy, and as “Songfacts” says; “There certainly is a “wuss factor to it”.

Maybe it holds a place for me, for other reasons, as you will soon read. It’s said that “Steven knew he was compromising, with this one”, as Kolodnar says in “Walk This Way”, but when it becomes the biggest most successful song of an almost 20 year career (at the time), you’ll take it, compromise or not.

But the reality of the song comes from a darker place, in my opinion, and I don’t think I’m going very far out on a limb here. To me personally, it speaks of the need for a helping hand out of the binds of addictions, a lifeline, so to speak. The one who can show you a different picture, than the one you’re used to seeing, a different “reflection”. It’s true you can’t accomplish, or even quit anything in life, if the inner desire isn’t there, but damn… Those are the times we all need most to lean on someone that won’t let us fall, someone who will catch us. Even if, as in their cases, and more specifically Steven’s, not to mention my own, we continue to fall at times, so much so that people would think we practice it, angels are still needed.

When it’s just you and a couple of “close” friends and a mirror full of white, it’s all real cool until it’s gone… Then those “friends” are gone, and not just gone for the night, but fucking “GONE”! It’s at that moment, you realize you’re whole connection to each other, to the people you call friends, is nothing more than the small mound of white powder on the mirror, from last night, last weekend, last month, last year, and on… next weekend, next month… You realize the powder, the mirror controls all that is expected, and even the unexpected… these “friends” start to dissolve, whether that be from their own doing, or because of, not necessarily the withdrawal, but the “withdrawn”… You mourn the loss of those who didn’t just quit the drug, but quit the whole fucking game…. But you go back next weekend anyway…

The song to me, is representation, it’s admission… FINALLY admission!!!, to asking for help. It’s not about being lonely, it’s about being alone, and needing that someone who can help you “see the light”, to not have to go it alone…

That Angel, and I have a few in my life… We all do, it’s just sometimes we don’t know when to reach out. And sometimes we reach out, and don’t even know what we’re reaching for, just reaching… It’s at that moment, you realize who you’re angel is.

Mine happened at the birth of my daughter Samantha Jo Michaela. She was my angel, She became the reason I live… The reason to live instead of simply breathe.

All of my girls are angels to me, both before Sammy Jo, and after, but that moment is when I saw the light.

It may not be one of the best songs Aerosmith has ever done but it’s definitely Classic Aerosmith…

Love you Mary, Cristina, Sammy Jo, and Natalie

This is “Angel”

 

Number 81 – Careful with That Merry Go Round, Once You’re On, It’s Hard to Jump Off

My takes aren’t always right, they’re just my takes…

Okay we’re gonna’ shift gears just a little bit here…
Same genre, as yesterday’s “Power Ballad”, but in the pure enjoyment sense, I just like this one better, hence the reason this one #82, and yesterday’s was #83… Does anyone see a pattern here?… Ballads towards the lower part of 100?

Don’t read too much into that, I really do like the songs, even though they were written to get the feminine audience to open up to what these guys were doing… ‘eh hem”… in more ways than one, I’m sure… Continue reading Number 81 – Careful with That Merry Go Round, Once You’re On, It’s Hard to Jump Off

Number 80 –Still Has a Moment in The Sun, Time To Watch the Boys Have some Fun

Still has a moment in the sun
Time to watch the boys have some fun

I was just telling Susan, and my wife Mary that “this one” probably should have been 95… another mistake…Hangman really got the chair pulled from under it…..Every time i see a song that should have been lower on the Top 100, I feel sorry for Hangman… LOL! Yeah, I’m weird like that.

Well, I guess I can say; thank god for Aerosmith. Before this song came out, we had songs of the same title by such artists as; Kiss, which might be one of the “All-Time Worst” rock songs of all time. Then there was the “pre curser’ to sexual innuendo, with the very tame and ”sweet” song by the Platters in 1956. and of course the Mike Oldfield 80’s Pop “Crap” that just “blows” mid 80’s mom jeans and female mullets all over the air waves… So for those reasons alone, we needed a song with this title to at least make us forget what can’t be unheard… Continue reading Number 80 –Still Has a Moment in The Sun, Time To Watch the Boys Have some Fun

Number 79 “Let’s Jump To Our Feet, and Hoof It to The Show…”

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“Let’s Jump To Our Feet, and Hoof
It To The Show…”

Goin’ back to the “Years of Discovery”…

No not 1974, not for me anyway, this was 1976… What was I soon to discover? The meaning between the lines….

Now, the reality is, I was just a boy a little ahead of my adolescent time. I already had an affection, an affliction for a taste of the other side. I’d heard the Stones, I’d heard the Doors, I’d heard the Who, Led Zeppelin, and their attempts at sexual innuendo, but the reality is, what they were writing and singing about would soon be looked at as tame. Sure there were others who threw the sexuality in your face straight with shot of Jack as a chaser, but this… this was different.

The song for me was a mood, it was the chase, it was the “flirt” if you will, from both sides. It was the art of pursuit, the allure of the enticement. It captured the adrenaline of the first look, the moment of notice. It captures the female awareness of their own sexuality ….

As just a very young 14 year old boy, yet not necessarily a stranger to the opposite sex, I was definitely one without the experience to illicit any kind of appeal in return, other than my God given looks, but we all know what that will buy you. In other words, like so many other teenage boys of the late 70s, I wasn’t as cool as I wanted people to think I was, and I certainly wasn’t as tough as I thought I was, or even as talented, or as smart as a lot of my friends were. And definitely not musically inclined… So what does a “po’ boy” do with that? He listens, he listens to what the melody, the beat is telling him… He listens to the lyrics… He listens to the story… he watches, in his own mind, the conveyance of confidence the song is giving… “You’re at ‘no’ right now, you can only go up better from there”. Continue reading Number 79 “Let’s Jump To Our Feet, and Hoof It to The Show…”

Number 78 – If You’ve Heard It Before, Take Another Listen For The 1st Time…”

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Come on Joe, It’s Pretty damn Good!

Sometimes I wonder if Mary and I are the only ones that liked this album. I mean I know it sold 240,000 copies the 1st week, with a little help from this song, and another off the record, which no doubt helped it debut at #2, but the reality is, it’s actually hard to find a favorable review of the record. We can’t be the only ones! Can we? Shit! It’s sold 1.3 million copies as of 2007, I would imagine it has to be close to 2 million by now!

So, why was this album so disliked by so many? Maybe because it lacks the depth? Matter of opinion, if you ask me… Maybe because of the commercialism of the record, with Dodge being the driving sponsor of the tour? I’ve seen worse sell-outs, and even then, I’m not sure they sold out, as much as cashed in. The album, like many others through the band’s career, didn’t receive too many favorable reviews. I sometimes wonder if the critics let the music even sink in, before inking their pen.

Even if those reasons, and more are the case, this is not new for Aerosmith. These guys to me, are like an old worn in pair of your favorite blue jeans, or boots. When you first try them on, sometimes they’re a bit harsh in a lot of places. Sometimes it just takes a bit to let them form to you. And when that happens? They’re all you want to wear. Continue reading Number 78 – If You’ve Heard It Before, Take Another Listen For The 1st Time…”

Number 77 – It’s Not Anathemas, It Aerosmith!

Getting’ close to that date…

Every once in awhile, just when you think, I’m gonna’ cruise into a consistent harder edge, and float along with ballads, I’m gonna’ pull you back to that waterbed.

Joe really bends the strings on this one with that beautiful steel sound; And Steven plays a harp not like typical ST, but almost like homage to days gone by. The both of them welcome you onto the porch, with Joey just keeping the tempo.

Do you ever wanna’ just tell someone to get a new “shtick”? I mean fuck dude, if the name Aerosmith comes out of your pen onto paper, it doesn’t have to be followed by the names Mick and Keith!!! It’s like it’s in the rule book! Whatever dude… Thank god I like the Stones. If not, this guy might have single handedly turned me off to them, just because he can’t seem to write a review of something the Boys from New Hampsha” have done, or do, without a mention… Even if it’s a good review, which I don’t think this guy is capable of, I think his pen name should be “Richard Hedd”, but that’s just me… Continue reading Number 77 – It’s Not Anathemas, It Aerosmith!

Number 76 –That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

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Forgive me my obsession,
and transgression
For just a piece of heaven

Throughout their almost 50 year career, these guys have made a living of leaving their mark. Sometimes that mark has been on walls of hotel rooms, or stairways of recording studios, or the backside of some chick’s ass. But that mark has always had an edge to it. Not necessarily a rough edge, although it does have that too. Not necessarily hard edge, although it has that too. The mark they leave is not just a remembrance of a song or a concert or an album… it has an edge, a personality, a contagious disease that you want to spread. Some just don’t understand, but for those of us that do, we wear it. Continue reading Number 76 –That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

Number 75 – What a Time For a Meltdown

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May not be one of my best picks
But it still kicks

What a spot in the list for this song… Kind of in a “rut” for writing right now. Sometimes life is just a little fucked up, and sometimes it goes off like a fucking nuclear blast.

In March of 1979, the facility called Three Mile Island down the Susquehanna River from Middleton, PA, was the location where the largest American Nuclear accident in history took place. Although no one was hurt, and there was no proof of cancers, or any thing of the like, that ever took place, the event was as scary to the people that lived close by, as the thought of a nuclear bomb going off in their neighborhoods would be… Continue reading Number 75 – What a Time For a Meltdown

Number 74 – The Soft, Quiet Anger Before the Slam of the Door

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Wasn’t here yesterday
But today it will stay

Change the opening lines of the first intro/verse to the man in the mirror, probably makes more sense. This song was going to be #76, but then somethin’ stopped it from happening. Was I tired of the song? Was it about 2 ½ minutes too long? Was it too much? Was it too close to home?

Is it the blues? Is it a premise to a lot of today’s Country Music? Is it a form of Pop, or Rock? Not sure if you can categorize it. It’s just Aerosmith doing what they do best. But because it’s all of the above, and then none of it too, maybe that’s why it never reached higher than 17 on America’s Hot 100. Continue reading Number 74 – The Soft, Quiet Anger Before the Slam of the Door

Number 73 –1974 Was a Good Year for Some, Namely the Boys from Sunapee, But Not This Boy

Last year’s 61,
Is not really a lot fun,
but knocking at the door
Is this year’s 73

1974, it was a good year for some, namely the boys from Sunapee…

Creating what they would later call their “1st True Record”. They were starting to get an idea of what they wanted to do, what direction they wanted to take. For me, I was an 11-12 year old boy with nothing left.

Still just a young boy, the “Last Child of 9”, it was a little rougher. It would be a few years still, before I would even know what a Gibson Guitar was, or the difference between a harmonica, and an accordion… Well, I knew, but I wasn’t much interested. I really didn’t care. All I cared about was what I lost. Probably a bit too involved in my ma telling me about ordeal, and her soul she could not feel, after all…. in her eyes, papa died. Continue reading Number 73 –1974 Was a Good Year for Some, Namely the Boys from Sunapee, But Not This Boy