Take a Walk Outside Your Mind…
We all heard the starter’s gun…
Oh wait, that can’t be the right one…
Last year’s #40; probably sit’s a little more comfortably closer to where it belongs…
You ever have one of those days, when you put on your shoes to go for a walk, and you don’t get 25 feet from the door, and your left foot is soakin’ wet on the bottom of your feet, because your shoe has a hole in it? Oh wait… nevermind….wrong sole?
This Is another Aerosmith Power Ballad, written by Steven, Joe, and Desmond Child. It’s probably right where it should be on the list… sometimes that happens. It’s songs like these though, that are really, really good, but then I say to myself; “Self, you’ve lost all credibility with “Hangman”. Maybe it’s because of the emotion that comes through when I hear it. But let’s do this…
This song is so very, very Aero in so many ways. When we hear an Aerosmith song, there are a few things that often come to mind, it’s usually immediately noticeable that the voice is Tyler’s. But some things that often go… I don’t want to say “unnoticed”, but maybe because it’s so easily digested, we often don’t give the credit to the other band members that they deserve. We often take the band for granted. Just read, or look at a fan page anywhere on the internet and it’s almost as if the Marque says “Steven Tyler” and ‘HIS’ band Aerosmith…
There’s something that goes on in this song, that goes along with almost every other Aerosmith song that has helped them reach the status of not only “America’s Greatest”, but their longevity, their unique sound, and for this, they have the upmost appreciation of their fans.
Let’s start with Joey’s back beat pounding on the cans almost as a “lead”. Just after the electric piano… This is something that the band does a lot, and they do it well. Joey is not following the vocals. For most of the song he is not in perfect time with the guitar and vocals, he is out front, not for emphasis of what just was, or is, but to provide tone of the message, the feel of emotion. It’s as if his playing provides the “facial expression”, for what you are about to hear the story teller say. And Brad’s rhythm pulls up the end of that emotion.
Listen to Steven start to tell you a story with the opening verse. Someone said that “Country Music tells a story”. Seems a bit easy to say, I mean doesn’t most music do just that? However, doesn’t matter, they were exactly right. And Country Music seems to do well with that premise. Let’s go with music in general as a story though for a minute. Is it a good story to listen to? Can the story teller tell it the way it should be told? Does he, or she put you there? A lot of Pop music today has boys/men… well, let’s just say “male” story tellers, and as much as I hate to generalize, I will in this case… Although I admit, there is some real talent in today’s pop music, there seems to be a common thread… “Lack of any emotion other than a little boy crying”…. Maybe that’s why I see so many ‘memes’ today trying to tell the world what a “Real Man” is, it desperately needs clarification.
A lot of guys won’t get my point here, as androgynous as Steven is described, and even describes himself, I’ve never seen that. What I see is a man with tremendous ego. Ego is the Yin to “Insecurity’s” “Yang”…. But he doesn’t fake it, he wears it proudly. And with that, comes compassion and passion. That is what this song is. It’s not a man ‘crying’, it’s a “man telling his story, of a broken heart without the threat or repercussion of some Fuck-Nut Wanna-Be Bad Ass, with a ‘Goatee’, and tatted up bicep telling him to quit whining. It’s a man that says; “this is fuckin’ real!”, and doesn’t GAF who’s listening, or thinks what they think.
Now let’s dissect Joe’s lead guitar, he is doing two different things with his playing that he has done since the very first song Steven and he wrote together. This is the essence of the Toxic Twins writing and creating their relationship. This is something that Steven, over the years has received more credit on than anyone else in the band; deservedly at times I’m sure. But just listen…
Joe is not just playing a tune; he is providing the “exact” emotion of the vocal, not necessarily by the melody, but by the actual “harmony” between the guitar and the vocals. He plays with Steven’s voice, as much as Steven sings to Joe’s guitar. They’re absolutely one when they make this kind of music. Yes, Steven’s voice is an instrument in itself, but the musician that Joe is, does not, as much as I’m sure it would be easy for him to do, he does not go above, over, the vocal. He plays “with” the lyrics as good as any, and maybe better than any major Rock-Star guitarist in history. Not just the words, but the exact emotion of delivery. That is what makes Aerosmith, Aerosmith.
Steven has always, ALWAYS been credited to how he sings with Joe’s playing, but we’ve all heard his solo stuff, or duets…. What is missing? Who is missing? Joe in his early years never got the credit he deserved, and his laid back nature didn’t really need it, or at least that’s the message he put out. But now he’s getting it. So well deserved! The funny thing that people often don’t take the time to finish the equation with, is the simple fact that world may have a pretty good idea of Steven’s eccentricities, and ego, but they don’t connect the brilliance of Joe’s ever changing, ever growing, and always remaining connected to his roots, but expanding musicianship…. All the while, he keeps himself, and his own growth, and desires in perfect check for the benefit of the band, and the knowledge of, whom and what Aerosmith is. What is an Aerosmith song, and what is not. And more importantly how he makes a song, a common song that anyone could do, into a powerful and yet emotional Aerosmith classic.
The lyrics focus on a heartbroken man, who’s extremely sad and emotionally damaged; “I got dust for tears and I’m all tapped out”, by a failed relationship, or about to fail again for another last time; “Tell me how it feels to be the one who turns the knife inside of me”. It tells of a “One Way Street” type effect that people sometimes get out of relationships. You gave all you got, but you don’t get what you gave, and that kind of love can really drain someone. Like a “Hole in One’s Soul”. Sometimes you get just what you gave… Parts of this song, most women will never ever get. Some will, but when the narrator tells you what is really goin’ in there, you gotta pay attention.
When asked about this song, Brad was quoted as saying; “Maybe it was just too depressing, but I remember being in the studio thinking that this sounded to me like it would end up being played on the radio, or having more appeal than it ended up having. But that’s what we go through. You create this music and you always have high hopes for it, and it doesn’t always work out that way.”
My thoughts on why it never charted are guaranteed different than others. We live in a world where the essence of this song is highly unacceptable, and yet at the same time very hypocritical. I think that this one hit a bit close to home for not only male listeners, but also female, and the majority of, not just Aerosmith fans, but FM radio fans in general to ever become a song they could support.
The song, being about a man, who’s got a lot to give (so to speak), that it’s just part of his nature, his person, to go beyond his relationship with his partner, and because of the inability of that partner, who let’s all agree knew exactly who she was getting involved with, leaves him for what the world views as “cheating”. Is it cheating, if these are the rules you’ve played by your entire life, including when the partners met? Most people will never even begin to understand this kind of dynamic of certain people’s personalities and yes, character. It’s a man, who is heartbroken for his love leaving, because of a fling, a fling that is not love, and sometimes not even lust, but pure entertainment. The man is telling his story as though he is the victim. Not because of what he has done, and that she left, but because he allowed “love” to happen, even with all his warnings of who he is. He allowed her to be real, where nothing else ever was, and because of who he is, she both came, and went. “There’s a place where the garden never grows” is play on his own restraint to keep his heart protected.
The hypocritical side of this, is like many women who feel the way they do, in a fantastical sense, about the lead singer, would do exactly the same if they had the chance, and yet if their partners even whisper these thoughts, it turns into a battle cry.
“I’m down a one way street
With a one night stand
With a one track mind
Out in no man’s land
The punishment sometimes
Don’t seem to fit the crime…”
He’s telling you straight; It’s not “love”, it’s not the same, it’s a game, it’s entertainment. And to lose your love because of a “carnival ride”… well that’s pretty fucked up.
I know there’s been all kinds of shoes
Underneath your bed
Now I sleep with my boots on
But’chor still “fuckin’ with” my head
And somethin’ tells me this time
I’m down to my last licks
The lyrics speak of a man, who knows he’ll be thrown out again, just because of who he is. She won’t let him get too comfortable, unless he changes his ways, even though it was ‘his ways’ that are how they met. She keeps taking him back, knowing who he was in the beginning, who he still is, but always wants to change him, she wants to save him. But how do you save what is not drowning? How do change a foundation?
Men and women both say they change. Nobody ever changes… We are who we are. We may adapt, we may grow. We may become aware. “I believe that people can change their behaviors, but I believe that character is infinite”. We either choose to accept, or we don’t. And expecting one to change, is not accepting who they are, who you invited into your home in the first place.
I’m gonna’ show a little restraint myself in elaborating on how I relate to this song. I’m sure it’s enough said that I do… And with that, I so much appreciate the Boys putting this feeling, this trait, this personality into music. I’m probably pretty much alone with that, and that’s cool too. I just ask that if you find yourself in this place, to at least try to take a walk outside your mind, you might just find there’s nothing there…
There’s a hole in my soul
That’s been killing me forever
It’s a place where the garden never grows
There’s a hole in my soul
Yeah I should have known better
‘Cause your love’s like a thorn without a rose… yeah yeeaah yeah
The video is okay, kind of a take off from “Weird Science”, so it doesn’t get much on the originality factor, except an early look at Eva Mendez. The “Tylerisms” in the lyrics are, for me at least, worth a special spot on anyone’s list.
The song is over 6 minutes long, and frankly could have been closer to 4 minutes, and I think that may have been enough. I think Steven just had a lot to say in this one though, so enjoy… Let’s remember this is around the time Cyrinda wrote her book “Dream On, Livin’ on the Edge With Steven Tyler and Aerosmith”… I’m not saying that’s who he’s talking too, I’m not saying it’s about fighting with Teresa. I’m not saying anything besides, with the help of Joe & Desmond, this one tells the side of what some us of pay for, nothing more than a carnival ride…
There are lyrics from this song that have shaped a lot of how I think. I still plagiarize them on a semi-regular basis.
“Take a walk outside ’chor mind”
This is “Hole in my Soul”