Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Greatest Album Is...Pump

Every band that has been around for a while and released great records runs into this debate; what is their greatest album? The greatest album is…is a column dedicated to tackling that age old question. What is the greatest album recorded by Aerosmith? Join with us now as the question is answered and arguments are made that the greatest Aerosmith album is Pump.

25 years ago Aerosmith released what some believe is the greatest record of their career. The band had returned to their peak, all of them clean and sober, some for the first time in their professional career. Aerosmith had just completed one of the most successful comebacks in rock history and at the conclusion of their Permanent Vacation tour they found themselves back in the studio to begin work on Pump.

Pump is a pure delight to the ears. Rife with themes on sexual desires, addiction, and heartache, Steven Tyler’s lyrics were at their finest. His ability to craft words that synced perfectly with Joe Perry’s guitar riffs was never better and the poetic beauty can be heard on every song throughout the album. Aerosmith also added in horns and keyboards to many of the songs on Pump which only helped to elevate the music and breathe more life into the fine collection of songs that was assembled.

Hard rocking hits are plentiful on Pump. The record opens with the smashing “Young Lust,” a drum heavy, guitar filled, rock and roll festival. It is followed by one of the best songs Aerosmith ever recorded, “F.I.N.E.,” a sex filled carnival of fantastical desires that were the product of many a teenaged boy’s dream. The rock never really stops on Pump, as even the ballads are heavier and edgier than Aerosmith had previously done. As Brad Whitford explained in an interview regarding the album’s title, the band was pumped that they were all clean and sober for the first time. That energy is evident on each and every song.

Pump enjoyed huge success upon its release. The first single “Love In An Elevator” was a smash hit proving Aerosmith still had what it took to release innovative, enjoyable music. The big ballad of the record, “What It Takes,” was another hugely successful single for the band and one of the best ballads Aerosmith ever recorded. Rich in lyrics and music, “What It Takes” had a highly successful run on radio stations across America as well as regular rotation on MTV. Two versions of the video were released, one from The Making Of Pump and one that was the official video.

Pump also contains one small gem that has long since been overlooked and forgotten in Aerosmith’s vast catalog of terrific music. “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even,” is a blues tinged rocker filled with a plethora of musical instruments and vocal harmonies. The song slowly builds with Tyler singing the first verse over the stomping of Kramer’s bass drum before exploding in the chorus. The entire band kicks in at that point and lifts “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even” into the stratosphere of excellence. With so many exceptional songs on Pump, it is easy to see how this magnificent masterpiece got overlooked, but it’s a shame that the song never received the recognition it deserves. 

Song for song, Pump is Aerosmith’s greatest record. Arguments could be made for Toys In The Attic, but the guitar solos on Pump are richer, deeper, and more enjoyable, the lyrics are much more poetic and thought out, and the overall fun factor of the record is much, much higher. And while Toys In The Attic showed Aerosmith hitting their stride at the prime of their career, Pump had Aerosmith hitting their stride at the peak of their comeback. Older, wiser, and much more talented, the 1989 version of Aerosmith simply outdid the 1975 version of the band. With songs like “F.I.N.E.,” “Janie’s Got A Gun,” and “What It Takes,” Pump just can’t be bested by any other Aerosmith album.

The greatest Aerosmith album is….Pump.

Vital Statistics
Released: September 12, 1989
Produced by Bruce Fairbairn
RIAA Sales: 7x platinum
Peak Position on US Charts: 5
“Janie’s Got A Gun” won a Grammy in 1990 for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal

Love In An Elevator
Janie’s Got A Gun
Monkey On My Back
What It Takes
The Other Side

Track Listing
Young Lust
Love In An Elevator
Monkey On My Back
Janie’s Got A Gun
The Other Side
My Girl
Don’t Get Mad, Get Even
Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man
What It Takes

Band Members
Steven Tyler – Vocals
Joe Perry – Lead Guitar
Brad Whitford – Guitar
Tom Hamilton – Bass Guitar
Joey Kramer – Drums

No comments: