Some critics have argued that “Permanent Vacation” is the last great Aerosmith album. Aerosmith have officially made their comeback with their aforementioned album and in 1989, Aerosmith released their critically acclaimed record entitled “Pump”. It was in the Top 100 of the 1990’s end of decade Billboard 200, it had 4 top 25 Billboard Hot 100 hits in “Love In An Elevator”, “Janie’s Got A Gun”, “The Other Side”, and “What It Takes”. This album showcased the usage of different instruments such as a brass section(in particular in “The Other Side”) to allow the listener to unpack another layer of Aerosmith. Let’s see why this album sold over seven million copies in the United States alone.
In this record, we saw a more no-frills straight up rock record from Aerosmith. We saw catchy songs with catchy guitar solos in “Love In A Elevator” and “Monkey On My Back”, and we also saw catchy choruses in “The Other Side” and “What It Takes”, which “What It Takes” saw Aerosmith return to the ballad just like they did with “Angel” in “Permanent Vacation”.
Also, the music videos saw heavy rotation, especially the controversial subject matter in “Janie’s Got A Gun”, in which the song was written based upon a newspaper clipping that Steven Tyler read about a woman who was abused by her father and ended up killing her father. The song brought light to the issues of child abuse, domestic violence(in some interpretations), and gun violence, MTV had to use disclaimers on the subject matter of the record, which got the worldwide audience to talk. “Love In An Elevator” showed a return to the sexually provocative side of Aerosmith.
Steven Tyler claims that “Love In An Elevator” was about an experience he had with a girl wanting to have sex with him in an elevator at a hotel. The song would receive a Grammy Nomination for “Best Rock Song” and it would even be featured on a roller coaster ride at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Knowing Steven Tyler, he probably did the deed. Aerosmith went back to sexually provocative lyrics in “Pump”, which was the staple of songwriting in the hair metal era of the 1980’s, and also showcased Steven Tyler reminiscing about his sexual encounters as a rockstar. In the song, “F.I.N.E.”, the song is an acronym for “F***** Up”, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional, and it’s a tongue-in-cheek song about Steven Tyler getting sexually aroused. For example, one of the song lyrics goes, “She’s got the Cracker Jack/Now all I want is the prize”.
Lastly, this album was probably Aerosmith’s most blatant commercially accessible album to date. A lot of songs were written to be catchy and radio friendly, hence how they scored four Top 25 hits along with a placement on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks with “Monkey On My Back”. They really played to the MTV audience and many artists such as Justin Hawkins of The Darkness states that “Pump” was the single biggest influence on his music career.
Overall, this is a safe album, fans were used to Aerosmith being edgy, and they certainly capitalized on the success of “Permanent Vacation” with “Pump”, with the exception of “Voodoo Medicine Man”, we saw a departure of bluesy Aerosmith and them delving into commercially accessible rock. For what it’s worth, “Permanent Vacation” and “Pump” got them from packing auditoriums to packing arenas and stadiums around the world. Personally, I wanted some moments to stand out from this album, and I couldn’t find those moments, although it’s plain to see why they had the hits that they had on this album. Madness To Creation gives this a 6.5 out of 10 stars. Here is the track listing.
- Young Lust
- Going Down/Love In An Elevator
- Monkey On My Back
- Water Song/Janie’s Got A Gun
- Dulcimer Stomp/The Other Side
- My Girl
- Don’t Get Mad, Get Even
- Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man
- What It Takes