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Aerosmith – Pump (1989)

May 15, 2013

[Album 183/1001]220px-Aerosmith_Pump

If it’s not the exact song, it’s pretty close!

Wayne’s World 2 Dream Sequence music (could only find it overdubbed, at 0:17):

Aerosmith’s Water Song (at 0:10):

Considering Aerosmith performed twice in the film, surely Water Song, at the very least, inspired the dream music.

Many groups have a TSN Turning Point album.  Metallica went to the barber & released Load.  Dylan went electric on Bringing it all Back Home.

Most logic and evidence points to the glossier/inclusion of outside-songwriters/sober-lifestyle/comeback record Permanent Vacation as Aerosmith’s TSN Turning Point.  Logic/evidence aside, I still feel Pump is the musically transformational album.

Fittingly, the running order emphasizes this transition from purveyors of ‘cock rock’ to, in the case of Steven Tyler, one day becoming an the American Idol judge.

It begins with rock.  Yes, the lads had gotten clean, the sound was more polished, but Aerosmith purists could rest assured that the lyrics were anything but pure.  The best song on the album, F.I.N.E., was also its coarsest.  Lyrics were not included in Pump’s booklet, but if they had been, there would have been plenty of filth in the sleeve.

The album closer, What It Takes, offers a glimpse of the commercially successful direction the group would take in the 90s, notably their first #1 single I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.  That single was featured prominently in the film Armageddon, a movie dismissed by critics as big & dumb.  Some previous Aerosmith fans may also describe much of the group’s efforts from the past two decades with similar adjectives.

It’s tough to please everyone.  Early adopters likely prefer Toys In The Attic, the late majority may gravitate towards Get a Grip or stick with the more recent singles.  Pump offers a somewhat satisfying present for both camps, linking the group’s raunchy past with its cleaner, bigger future.


From → 1980s

  1. They cleaned up and made their money…smart business and horrible music. I respect them for surviving and thriving when so many bands failed, but again…horrible music. Thanks for trying to appease us old fans but like the die- hard folkies with Dylan we feel abandoned.

    • It’s sometimes better when a band quits while they’re ahead! I like that – good for business, not so good music.

      It’s tricky, as a group like AC DC has been accused of re-recording Back in Black for the last 30+ years. If Aerosmith hadn’t evolved, would they just be repeating themselves?

      • This is great stuff…it is that “better to burn out than to fade away” argument … If they just changed the name to The Aerolites I would be good with that….. But they got paid and can still rock it out in concert so good for them!

      • My exact argument with the band Weezer!
        Their first 2 albums, magnificent. Then Matt Sharp left and it’s been a steady decline since. I think I’d be ok if they changed their name to weezite because it’s clearly not the same sound anymore.
        The renaming worked for me with Guns n’ Roses. I imported my cd of Chinese Democracy to my itunes but had to switch the artist to ‘Axl Rose’ – it works as an Axl record, not GNR!

        You’re right about the $ + performance – The Stones haven’t released an absolutely essential record in decades. Mick & Keith aren’t exactly suffering financially though!

  2. I think Pump is the last Aero-album without filler. After this, things get kinda dicey.

    I should listen to this again, I haven’t in a while!

    • It was your post on Get a Grip that inspired me to check out the Aerosmith selections on the 1001 list (Rocks & Toys in the Attic also made the cut) – so my thanks to you!

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