I do like the dress…
But now it’s a fuckin’ mess…
It’s hard to stay connected while you’re disconnecting.
What a song! This one’s good… You know, I might be saying that about the next 30 also, but damn this one could make into the Top 10 any day of the week, and just might on some people’s lists. Desmond Child helps Steven out again on this one. Man, these two could really put down some lyrics, with ‘Tylerism’s‘ all through it.
A play on words, or lyrics in songs, that not only have, or could have double meanings, but also reflections on life’s peculiarities, and quirks in a way that makes you just say; “Huh! Ain’t that right…”
-Mike’s Aerosmith Dictionary, 1st edition
Steven talks about their one time manager, Tim Collins, who by the way was their manager during their resurgence in the late 80’s and 90’s, as the driving force, and meaning behind this song; that it gets into Tim’s battles with depression, but I think it’s way more than that. You see, Tim was never really on the “inside” with the band. He wanted to be! And at times, he really thought he was, but you don’t just hook up with these guys and become family because you want to. It takes years of relationships, battles, and bliss.
I think it’s important to note that this was during the same juncture in time, that Joey also was in a very deep state of depression. Really deep! His father had just passed away, and although the two had an abusive relationship in his younger years, Joey grew, over time to forgive, and create, and build a relationship with his father that was pretty special, even if it was dysfunctional. He also decided to ‘wake up’… so to speak, after having a nervous breakdown. But that ‘waking up’ took several years.
You see one of the problems with being brought up in an abusive family, is that you learn that abusive behaviors are “normal”, at least that’s the world these people live in. Joey felt his success was measured in what he acquired, his cars, his toys, his home… “Of course I’m happy, so why am I not happy?”
Joey’s marriage to April continued the same path. Albeit, maybe not physically, but there was a sense of emotional abuse after all was said and done. So even after becoming sober in the late 80’s, he still battled other addictions and behaviors that he could no longer use drugs to escape from.
The band did all the prerecording with a session drummer for the 9 Lives album, without Joey. He just was not ready to be in the studio with his brothers. Let’s remember Steven’s constant onslaught of Joey, and how Steven wanted Joey to play throughout the first 20 years, and the constant infighting of band members, and member’s wives even. Yeah, those years were pretty much gone for most of them, from their recent sobriety, but when you attach yourself to it like Joey did, when it’s your path, your relation, when it’s all that you know, it doesn’t just go away for everyone. The saddest part was that Joey may have had the longest sober streak of the whole band.
Sometimes we hold onto the pain though, because it’s all we are. The pain itself is family, its kin. So coming into a studio with 4 other guys, who are part in parcel of your problem, was just too hard to do at the time, especially if you’re being taught to; “Be Joey outside of the band“, to be his own man, not just the drummer for Aerosmith. It’s hard to differentiate. It’s hard to stay connected while you’re disconnecting.
Eventually he came in, and they re-recorded every song on the album with Joey playing drums on all songs. While the song is understandably about relationships going bad, and there are so many lyrics that relate to partners, I think it’s more than just about male and female. When Steven said it was about Tim’s depression in “Walk This Way; An Autobiography of Aerosmith”, I think maybe it was exactly that, but that quote also protected Joey, as Joey’s book ‘Hit Hard’ was still 10 years away. It was still hush, hush.
But with all that said, this is truly one of the best things about their song writing; it fits what “you”, the listener wants it to fit, and that’s just perfect. If it works for you, as a ‘kin‘ to your own relationship troubles, that’s a good thing. Whether that relationship of what you might think is love, or about family, or drugs, or other indulgences, or your significant other, or your dog, when it ends, the pains of separation from what is a part of you, can be so extreme that you can’t help but want to allow yourself to go there again, just to feel familiar. Maybe that’s why people stay in bad relationships, or continue self abusive behaviors… the alternative is too hard to bear. It means giving up a part of yourself.
“You think you’re high and fine as wine, then you wind up like a dog in a ditch”.
This band shows off their talent with this song, in ways that often go virtually unnoticed. But the essence of this song is how they feed off of, and into each other, with Joe and Steven taking lead. Steven’s voice is simply an instrument to accompany Joe’s lead, and vice versa, and Brad and Tom and Joey just keep that signature back beat rhythm, but all the while Joey hitting just a little harder… never getting ahead of themselves, or one another. The additions of an old Rag Time horn, along with a few strings on the track really gives some depth to the type of “Aero-Blooze” they’re selling with this one.
Truly a work of art. Enjoy…
“I feel just like I’m losin’ my mind
‘Cause love is like the right dress
On the wrong girl
You never know what you’re gonna’ find
You think you’re high and fine as wine
Then you wind up like a dog in a ditch…”
“You see God in the Devil’s eyes
Then you fall so far from grace
You wouldn’t know a kiss
If it was on your face
You could tell it to the jury
But’choo ain’t got no case…”