Oh Contraire Mi Amore’!!!
Most people I’ve talked to about this song just ain’t too fond of it, or even kind to it at all. As a matter of fact, besides my wife Mary, and myself, I would say that most of the people whose comments I’ve read and/or talked to about this song, would have a very distinct dislike for it.
The older Blue Army generation says it outright sucks compared to anything from Rocks. The middle generation says it’s not nearly as good as “Love in an Elevator”. The youngest generation… well, they probably have no real clue of what to compare it to. And to be honest, that’s probably a good thing… personally, I absolutely love this song!
The funny thing though, is that not unlike several other Aerosmith albums, I wasn’t fond of this album myself when it came out, and I’m sure I wasn’t too fond of this song either. But, as with most Aerosmith records, they tend to grow on ya’. The more you listen, the more you like. Mary, she liked it the first time she heard it.
Maybe I started liking it because I started relating to it. Maybe it’s just because I realized how really, really good it is. Maybe it’s because it has both Classic Aerosmith, and the sound of “fresh and new”, all wrapped around a very catchy melody, with very distinct meanings, great rhythm, great Joe Perry riffs, with Joey and Tom’s playing so very key in the tempo of the song, it’s almost as if they’re playing lead in this song. And just listen to those jangling guitars, and just… WOW!
Oh… and btw; Tower of Power was invited to the biggest band in world’s recording of this song for their horns, and then they complained later that they were drowned out by the guitars… Uhm… you guys… Aerosmith is a loud guitar band….
Is he talkin’ to Mia, is he talking to Taj, is it Chelsea he’s talking to, Liv, to Teresa, his band members, or who? I have no real clue. I know that the band is deep, but they don’t often go very deep, at least not in the way of politics, or lecturing some kind of stance. But perhaps that’s one of the most beautiful things about this band, if they are sending you a message at all; it’s up to the listener to determine what that message is.
So, could it be that it’s about the state of mind of Americans in general? Could it be that this song is sung from the perspective of the American government? Or, could it be just a little tiff between a husband and wife? Or a message to a child who is trying their best to stand on their own, and have their own ideas and opinions, which may be contrary to their father’s, not realizing where those contrary ideas came from to begin with? You choose. That last thought though for me, hits real close to home…
Although I can’t source this, I’ve read; “According to Steven, he wrote the song while thinking of his youngest daughter Chelsea, and how he missed much of her childhood because he was touring. He feels he jaded her and himself by not being available, due to band commitments or drug problems.
But then later, Marti does an interview with Boombox saying that it was HIS 1st “pop” hit, and also said;
“I don’t know what happened that day, but it all came to me and Steven in a few hours. We were at his house and I remember he was on the phone. Anyway, I started playing the main riff and singing the melody. I didn’t have the word ‘jaded’ yet — that was his thing. (songfacts.com)
My thoughts are that this is a generational song. Whether it be a parent to a child, or the government to the public, or an older generation to a younger one, it’s simply that people are usually Jaded by what has come before them.
I realize people sometimes live their lives vicariously through others. Whether their idols may be their kids or celebrities, many of us just can’t help but envy, or even just wonder what it would be like to live “A day in the Life”. I guess in a similar way, I’m not any exception. However, I’m not sure I would really enjoy that kind of a day as Steven Tyler all that much, maybe Joe….
I guess what I’m trying to say here is, as I’ve said before; Steven and I share so many commonalities just in personality alone, at least from what I’ve learned from afar. I can get a sense, a feel, for his everyday life. Or at least what it once was. I truly believe Steven has settled over his years, and finally become who he has always tried to be. He has always wanted to be both the Mega Super Star, and yet be his own child-like self, from his days before he was discovered. He has always wanted to be Steven Tyler, and yet he’s forever wanton for Steven Tallerico. It’s a Yin and Yang, that some of us battle everyday all on our own.
Albeit, I could never relate to the stardom part of it, I do share his desire, his need for attention, and yet at the very same time, just want everything to be non-descript. Steven has always written with his own sense of contraire, his own sense of “inside/out”. It’s often the case that I find myself in complete opposite opinions, or POV’s from the status quo, not for any desire to be contrary, but more so just because I am.
I often think about what it would be like to be so easy going. I think of how it would be so much easier to just “go along with it”. I imagine what it would be like, to NOT cause your own stress, to NOT create your own disposition. It’s not that I can’t be easy going, I actually can be, and I am pretty often, but it’s almost odd that it comes when others are stressed, and I’m stressed when others are not. The bible says Envy is one of the7 Deadly Sins. I wear that one! I don’t lie about it. I don’t envy people’s possessions; I envy others’ character, and even sometimes their lack of it.
It’s been my experience in life, that the most passionate and compassionate people, are also sometimes the most cynical. Is that because they feel on a deeper level? Or is it because they’re too foolish to know that nobody else gives a shit? Or can it be that when you’re so compassionate to one extreme, that you have to be hardened towards the other extreme? I sometimes envy those who don’t feel too much. When those types of people are let down by someone, or something, they don’t have as far to fall. The trick for me, and others I’m sure, is not to let my passion get in the way of my compassion. Balance…
The trend over the last 10 or 20 years in this country, is for people to say things like; “I don’t give a fuck what you think!”, and then in the same breath, they wonder; “What has happened to America?” Just take a look on social media sites, and you will see countless posts from people who are “Out of ‘Fucks” to give”. That’s cool, I get it… However, I think that a lack of humility towards one another leads to lack of humility as a society. Just thinking maybe we ought to start “giving a fuck” again, or maybe a few “fucks”. I think the world would be better off if we not only gave a good fuck more often, but also received one. That’s probably just me though, always contrary to what’s “hip”.
“Humility is really important because it keeps you fresh and new.”
Thinking maybe he should listen to what he says himself sometimes, but then maybe we all should…
The song was written by Steven, and Marti Fredericksen, who has quite the resume’, working with some of the biggest names in the business. The man can crossover very easily from Country to Rock to Pop without missing a beat, so to speak. Songwriter, Record Producer, and Musician. Known for working with artists such as; Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Ozzy, The Crue, which he co-wrote every song on the band’s ’08 album, he’s even worked with Faith Hill, and many, many others. But he might be best known for his vocals as the Lead Singer (Voice) of the band “Stillwater” in the movie Almost Famous. And now he opens another chapter heading up, basically a session band out of Nashville, and stealing Steven away from his core fans for some side job. But who am I to judge? I’m probably just a bit “Jaded”…
Joe’s memories of writing and coming up with this Mega Hit song aren’t as rosy as Steven and Marti’s though. Frankly he was more than just a little miffed about it. Mostly he was upset with Steven for keeping him out of the process. Steven tells his own story of why Joe wasn’t present, but as Joe says; Steven’s truth, his story, is usually what fits him best. It’s that type of feeling that effected Joe’s belief in the whole JPP album. Steven went head first into writing with Mark and Marti, while Joe didn’t have much input. This is still a very large pill to swallow for Joe…
Funny how the song plays into that exact feeling. Maybe it is about what Steven feels he did to Chelsea, in not being there. But if you really listen, and know the back story of Steven and Marti, not just there deceit of Joe, but their communal relapses and partnerships, and who those relapses and partnerships affected, you can make an argument, that this song could very well be about Steven and the other members of the band, namely Joe. Again, just a point of view, no real substance to it, and even if there was, you’d never get an admission from any member of that being truth.
The video for the song is a trip. Really ‘artsy’, and really good! I can’t say; “I like it” enough! But even so, I’m not sure I get how it all relates with the lyrics of the song, but I like to think I do. At least as a whole, it does flow really well with the music. It was shot in the Lobby of the Los Angeles Theater, and as far as the video goes, and therefore the song, it tells a story of a young girl who no longer “feels” after losing touch with reality, but would like to “feel” again.
The video was nominated for an MTV video award, along side Limp Bizkit / Rollin’, Linkin Park / Crawling, Staind / It’s Been Awhile, and Weezer / Hash Pipe, losing out to “Rollin’”, however it did receive awards for “Best Hard Rock Clip of the Year” at the Billboard Music Video Awards, and Video of the Year at the Boston Music Awards. There are actually 2 different versions to the video, which have some subtle differences. Who knows, maybe MTV got confused? They’ve been confused ever since.
Absolutely one of those songs that I wish could just go on forever…well, at least another five minutes. This one is best played loud. Turn it up! Listen to Joe and Brad take you on a melancholy journey into the sense of “feeling”. They convey “sight”, “sound”, and even “touch” with Joe, so characteristically bending of chords to create sounds so unique. He and Brad both, take the listener from a sense of confusion, and bitterness to an aura of acceptable. The video, or should I say the Director, helps the listener, the viewer, experience sense of feeling in relation to the other 4 senses. He depicts a story of a girl, or anyone for that matter, who cannot seem to be stimulated beyond her own walls. She is constantly among visual stimulation, but still lacks simple feeling, until she finds a way out from the only thing she knows. And Steven, of course, delivers a whole ‘nother type of sound and experience, not only using his voice as the perfect tool to tell this story, but also as an instrument, to deliver vocal hooks within the melody, like no other.
““You’re thinkin’ so complicated
I’ve had it all up to here
But it’s so overrated
Love and hate it
Wouldn’t trade it
Love me Jaded… yeah… yeah…”
This is; “Jaded”