Hearts Done Time – Aerosmith

I’ve been fishing around for a theme week since the whole Kaiser Chiefs debacle. Something big. Something resourceful and ancient. I never go long in life without listening to some Aerosmith. They were my favourite band when I graduated high school. I’d managed to see them live several times by the dawn of the 1990’s despite the fact they stayed away from the UK for 14 years between their mid 70’s peek and the release of Pump. The reason for that was simple. They got pinched at airport security for their walking pharmaceutical store carry-on’s some time around Draw The Line and until they were Done With Mirrors international travel was like a game of freedom roulette for the Toxic Twins.

I really like Done With Mirrors (Props to Deke at Thunder Bay Arena Rock for tipping me off about the recently reissued DWM era live album released on white and black vinyl. I’ve played the butt off my copy) but any Rock And Roll Archaeologist worth their Fedora knows it was not the comeback record Geffen had paid for. It took the side step of Run-DMC and the accidental invention of Rap Metal to really revive this sleeping giant of a band. Once breathing again they missed no opportunity to capitalise on the capitalism of the late 80’s MTV and Arena rock scenes. The Mad Scientist behind this rebirth may have been John Kalodner. The Igor to his Frankenstein (the Drs Name not the Monster you uncultured swine) producer Bruce Fairbairn. This diabolical duo set about finding many a Ratchet and Crank to take body parts of the 70’s titans and rework them. On Hearts Done Time it was songwriter for hire Desmond Child who did the stitching. Aerosmith had been a close knit group of a band before the Rock met the Hard Place in the Crespo years. It had been a long Night In The Ruts and now the OG line up was back together they were calling all cars. Time to get using every trick in the book to make sure the second comeback album of a five album deal did not fall flat on it’s face.

This is not the craven degradation many purists may see it as. The band had done covers before (a Beatles B-Side in I’m Down), the album was still rich in virtuoso playing (the solos are on fire!), weird little asides (The Movie, St John) and genre straddling from country to heavy metal to calypso (Well, there’s steel drums on the title track anyway). Permanent Vacation’s title referred to this being their last bite at the cherry. If this one flopped. They’d be on a beach forever more talking about the old days. Send my mail to the Rosarita Beach Cafe!

I stand by my assertion that Permanent Vacation is a complex and dexterous album. It just plays like it wants to party. The Frank Zappa quoting freight train that is Girl Keeps Coming Apart should have been the metal single to smash them through the charts in my book. They went the other way with AOR airbrush bloatathon Angel.

Ragdoll’s New Orleans rag and scat singing were like rocket fuel for the bands ascension to house band for the party at the end of the 80’s. Dude (Looks Like A Lady) fed the fan rumours that Steven may identify as non-binary three and a half decades before that was even a phrase. Look, these rock dude’s are into whatever maaaaan! I’ve been present at pub debates where some corners consider that song judgmental and offensive and others point out the lyrics are respectful and romantic. Ziggy Stardust, Lola and Powerman would like to point out it’s a tale as old as time.

The best case I can make for this fascinating fun and thrilling album are it’s one two punch of opening tracks. Hearts Done Time into Magic Touch tells the denim clad late 80’s mullet wearing teen that he has spent his pocket money well. It starts with whale song and a bunch of studio trickery. Then Joe Perry reclaims his crown and the tightest rock and roll band of a generation get back on the road.

That’s when it hit me. I had been saying I needed a theme week. That’s just it! Big! Resourceful! Ancient! Welcome Folks. Welcome to Whale Week!


14 thoughts on “Hearts Done Time – Aerosmith

  1. Remind me not to go into that pub. Sorry, I’m getting a little tired of people these days who take offense at something from 30, 40 or even 50 years ago which was not intending to cause offense when it was done. I’ll get off my soapbox now. You are so spot on, it was Run DMC who truly brought Aerosmith back into the limelight and “Permanent Vacation” kept them there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the shoutout fella! So cool you picked up the live DWM’s album. Such a classic time capsule of a band livin’ on the edge at the time! lol
    Hearts Done Time is a killer track as well as being the opener the two times I caught em on the PUMP Tour. The first time I caught em in Toronto they played Magic Touch as well which as you said is another great track but a few months later when I caught em in Winnipeg “Magic Touch” was dropped.
    Great writeup

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Hangman Jury? I love the way it’s put together. I’ve been a big Aerosmith fan since Toys in the Attic. Not on this album but you talk about controversial social commentary, Janey Got a Gun is another one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting you did a post on Aerosmith because I finished a marathon of American Idol over the weekend (season 6) and Joe Perry was in the finale. And I thought to myself, “how the heck did they get Joe Perry to perform on American Idol?” Probably the same way they got Judas Priest to perform on the season 10 finale.

    Liked by 1 person

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