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”

 

Published by

BrotherSpike80

I am a man of simple means. My family is what's important to me. My family and my 3 girls mean more to than the sun! If you ask me what I think, I will tell you straight! So don't ask if you don't wanna know. I like people who are real and don't like those who aren't. You'll know where you fit with me pretty quick. I give most everyone the benefit of the doubt, at least until they prove me wrong. I've lived most my life like there was no tomorrow, at least until my daughters were born, and then even a bit after. By the way; That is NOT good advice... just a statement. I don't believe in "Halfway" Why put on the skis if you're not gonna at least try the face? But I also believe that there is more than Black and White. I believe in where I came from, I don't believe what I went through was ALL worth it! I believe in doing the right thing, more than doing what's right! I believe in "true" friendship, I also know that 99% of them aren't true. I will live a happy life and die a complete man if my kids learn from my mistakes.