http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/amg/d85678b8or2.jpg Rock in a Hard Place


Rock in a Hard Place

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
December 4, 1981

As the title of this album makes clear, Aerosmith is caught between a rock and a hard place. In the three years since the group's last studio album, Night in the Ruts, a minor revolution has taken place in heavy rock, and its insistence on hard, fast power chords has made Aerosmith's bluesy boogie almost obsolete. Worse, Joe Perry, the fleet-fingered guitarist who played Keith Richards to Steve Tyler's Mick Jagger, left the fold for a solo career. As a result, Tyler and company were forced to choose between the old sound with new faces or a complete change in approach.

They went for the former, and on first hearing, it almost seems to work. Perry lookalike Jimmy Crespo is no slouch at turning out hard-edged guitar hooks that make up in drive what they lack in swing, and both "Jailbait" and "Lightning Strikes" throb with the sort of nasty glee that's always been an Aerosmith trademark. But despite an occasional burst of primal energy, much of the LP rocks by rote.

In all fairness, it's a good formula, and even the weakest examples here hold up well enough under repeated listenings. Not so the ballads, though: Steve Tyler is unable to energize the slow numbers, and they drag interminably, undercutting the album's pacing in their wake. Maybe next time Aerosmith will stick to the rock; for now, however, they're really stuck in a hard place.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Long Walk Home”

    Bruce Springsteen | 2007

    When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

    More Song Stories entries »