This was the album that was a return to the roots for Aerosmith, but also the album when the inner turmoil in the band reached its climax. Joe Perry temporarily left the band mid-tour in 1979, only recorded guitar parts for the songs “No Surprize”, “Chiquita”, “Cheese Cake”, “Three Mile Smile”, and “Bone To Bone(Coney Island White Fish Boy)”, and had it with Steven Tyler struggling to come up with lyrics and consistently coming to the studio high on crack and heroin and making millions of dollars and having nothing but expensive hotel bills and studio time to show for it.
In this, the producer went through an ugly divorce and left. Steven Tyler stated in several interviews in the 1990’s that he was constantly on drugs and that there was an increased amount of turmoil in the band. The band was pressured to make a hit single otherwise Columbia Records was going to drop them from the label, in essence lots of pressure. In “Night In The Ruts”, Aerosmith returned to their roots of incorporating blues rock, include having two covers on the album, including “Remember(Walking In The Sand)”, originally sang by The Shangri-Las and an old 1940’s blues song entitled “Reefer Head Woman”. Steven Tyler even wrote a lullaby ballad about his daughter entitled “Mia”. The album ended up selling one million copies in the United States and peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard 200, however, it would quickly fall down the charts with only “Remember(Walking In The Sand)” being a moderate hit for the band.
At this point in their career, I expected a return to the roots for Aerosmith in an effort to try to find their identity and for them to reconnect as a band. It felt more cohesive as an album, where one couldn’t tell that there was inner turmoil in the band. The guitar riffs are crisp, the rhythm section pounds, and Steven Tyler sounds like his old trademarked self with his diverse vocal range and his versatile playing the harmonica. I particularly felt that this album was their strongest effort since their debut record, and this album is criminally underrated. It showcases Aerosmith as musicians, as a band that was concerned about making good music instead of trying to make that next hit single, it was almost like this album was the proverbial middle finger to Columbia Records as they pressured them to write hit songs, but they chose to go back to their roots instead. While this album doesn’t have one track that stands out, it’s just a solid listen the whole way through. Madness To Creation rates this a 7.5 out of 10 stars. Here is the track listing below.
- No Surprize
- Remember(Walking In The Sand)
- Cheese Cake
- Three Mile Smile
- Reefer Head Woman
- Bone To Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)
- Think About It