What’s up with Aerosmith?


Of all the developments in popular music over the last decade, none is as satisfying as the disappearance of Aerosmith from radio and the popular consciousness. To today’s ear, their music is so stultified and artless that it is difficult to appreciate how popular they were. We’re talking like three decades of on-and-off strings of multi-platinum albums here — Wikipedia it.

Now, I don’t typically begrudge anyone their cheap thrills, but there’s something particularly annoying about this particular band, and I think I’ve recently realized what it is. Consider AC/DC. Even their fans acknowledge they make stupid music (erm, “but fun!”). Now the Rolling Stones. Not the smartest band ever, but certainly smarter. (Yes, also just straight-up better, but follow along here, I’m trying to, like, make a point or something.) So, I think the problem is that a lot of people think of Aerosmith as falling in between these two bands on the scale of rock band intelligence.

And they are just wrong. Aerosmith is precisely as stupid as AC/DC. If the truth of this realization is not immediately obvious, a little side-by-side listening will convince you more easily than objective argument.

Aerosmith’s fundamental problem is that sometime in the late 80s, they began to buy into this misperception themselves, and this confusion led to a streak of pop-rock deck, beginning with the infamous Janie’s Got a Gun and proceeding sharply downward. Through most of the 90s, despite having obviously worn out their usefulness, they were pretty fucking ubiquitous, prominently featured on pop radio, teenbop movies, television, video games, and (!) a Walt Disney World ride. Around the turn of the century, they dropped one last mega-turd, the prom-ready I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, and probably did a Superbowl halftime show or something.

And then something wonderful happened. They vanished from the popular consciousness. I don’t remember the moment when I realized that my life was Aerosmith-free. It’s like when a nasty smell gradually clears … you just suddenly notice that it’s gone. And while I gather from reading the disgustingly detailed “history” section of their Wikipedia entry that the Aerosmith boys are keeping plenty busy (mostly getting injured while touring, which is sort of funny in itself). But it’s become downright hard to run into news of them, or their music, without actively seeking it out. And that’s something we can all get behind.

3 thoughts on “What’s up with Aerosmith?

  1. I like that the disappearance of Aerosmith from the radiowaves is a development in popular music. Besides that, I really don’t understand what this article is about. AC/DC is raw, and I say that free from any irony that’s so popular in this ironic/wait is that ironic? age. Aerosmith blows

  2. Yeah, I think AC/DC is misplaced in the construct. Maybe Kiss? Or Guns N’ Roses?

    BTW “Honkin’ on Bobo” isn’t half bad, if quite unnecessary.

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