You be swingin’ like you just didn’t care: best of Aerosmith

If Mick Jagger is the squirmin’ dog who’s just had her day, then Steve Tyler is the reggae woman boogying on, crossin’ the bridge to his sweet sassafrassy. No American front man had his gift for words syncopated to rhythms begging for Tom Moulton remixes. Although they peaked in the Ford administration, their drug-zombie phase kicked up at least a side’s worth of serious Joe Perry-Brad Whitford riffage and the loose ‘n’ greasy Tom Hamilton-Joey Kramer bass and drums section, the latter up for any challenge. Ever tried to karaoke Aerosmith? It’s hard.

I have less to say about their AA-certified comeback. My awareness of Aerosmith began with the repugnant power ballad “Angel,” the horrifying “Rag Doll,” and “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” the least sexy song every written about sexual ambivalence, released when Rikki Rockett looked more feminine than Jessica Hahn. These three are at a KISS level of overstatement and bombast, hysterical attempts to create excitement with the expenditure of lucre and mixing board tricks. Listen to Mutt Lange’s production of Def Leppard’s Hysteria to learn how to arrange the toys in the attic. Pump is better, despite “Love in an Elevator.” I have nothing to say about Get a Grip and the well-named Nine Lives — sorry, Alicia Silverstone fans — besides nothing with approval the affection inherent in the line “I’d rather be’ on the crack of her ass” from “Fever.”

1. Back in the Saddle
2. Last Child
3. Toys in the Attic
4. Sweet Emotion
5. Draw the Line
6. Dream On
7. Janie’s Got a Gun
8. Kings and Queens
9. Lord of the Thighs
10. Same Old Song and Dance”
11. Sick as a Dog
12. Seasons of Wither
13. Jaded
14. Come Together
15. Train Kept A-Rollin
16. Combination
17. Walk This Way ft. Run DMC
18. What It Takes
19. Lick and a Promise
20. Gypsy Boots
21. Somebody
22. Nobody’s Fault
23. Mama Kin
24. Don’t Get Mad, Get Even
25. Uncle Salty

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