Get Your Wings – Aerosmith
Producer: Jack Douglas
Released: March 1, 1974
Rating: ** 1/2
A little more than a year after the release of their self titled debut album, Aerosmith released their sophomore effort, Get Your Wings. It was the bands first collaboration with producer Jack Douglas, who would go on to produce the band’s next four albums. Like many people my age, I was turned on to Aerosmith during the band’s hugely successful comeback in the late 80’s. In 1987 I picked up a copy of Permanent Vacation and immediately fell in love with Boston’s Bad Boys. Many of the band’s I was listening to at the time were very vocal about their love for Aerosmith and often credited them as an influence. Permanent Vacation was reason enough for me to start collecting the band’s entire catalog of music. Thanks to classic rock radio in Chicago, I was familiar with Same Old Song And Dance and Train Kept A Rollin’. I loved these song, specifically the super catchy riff to Same Old Song And Dance, so I figured if the rest of Get Your Wings sounded this good, the album should be amazing.
While Same Old Song And Dance very much foreshadowed where the band was headed with their next three albums, it was not a good indication of how the rest of Get Your Wings sounded. Same Old Song And Dance is a lot like the hook heavy tunes that the band would seemingly pump out in the blink of an eye over the next few years. Lyrically, it also is the first of many Aerosmith songs that seemed to have a narrative quality. Aside from this tune and the band’s version of Train Kept A Rollin’ (an excellent version at that), the only other tune that I can honestly say I like is S.O.S. (Too Bad). With their debut release, the band relied heavily on their blues influences. I’ve always felt that Get Your Wings is the sound of a band struggling to find an identity. That’s not a criticism. It’s a natural part (or at least it used to be) of the evolution that a young band goes through. Far more interesting than listening to a band devolve, which of course Aerosmith would toward the end of the 70’s.
I’ve been following Aerosmith for nearly 25 years and I’ve come to conclusion that I may be in the minority when it comes to how I feel about this album. There are many diehard fans who you will tell you that this album contains several classics including Lord Of The Thighs, Seasons Of Wither and Pandora’s Box. As much as I have tried over the years, I can’t wrap my head around these songs or this album. They seem to be lacking that Aerosmith punch. I’ve always felt that the album is somewhat depressing. Not just in lyrical content, but the overall mood and sound of the album as well.
My feelings aside, I firmly believe that with a band like this, a listener should try to explore the entire catalog. Sure, I don’t enjoy the album, but I also think that it’s interesting to hear the band’s sound progress throughout their entire career. This album pretty much marks the dawn of (in my opinion) the most exciting and prolific period in Aerosmith’s career. The next three albums the band would release are amazing pieces of work. If this was part of the path that lead the band to those albums, who am I to complain?