Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

December 22, 2013

Aerosmith ~ Done With Mirrors

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Style: classic rock, hard rock
Label: Geffen
Year: 1985
Home: Boston, Massachusetts

Members: Steven Tyler ~ vocals
Joe Perry ~ guitar/b. vocals
Brad Whitford ~ guitar
Tom Hamilton ~ bass
Joey Kramer ~ drums

Joe Perry & Brad Whitford's return to Aerosmith got the boys reinvigorated & facing the right direction for a big comeback that would keep them flying high for years with more certified hits than they'd ever had, though this wasn't the comeback they were hoping it would be & has since fallen into obscurity pushed there as much by critics/fans as the bandmembers who feel it incomplete. Done With Mirrors, most famous for being originally released with everything from the liner notes to the music being reversed & essentially unlistenable/unreadable, may not be the planned comeback they wanted, but it's a good strong step away from where the immediately previous albums sank. Standout "Darkness" hearkens back to the successful early days of Aerosmith with its soft vocals, piano & snapping fingers cool cat opening, while also foreshadowing what was on the horizon in future albums with a strong memorable melody line & musical variety. Aerosmith rarely gets credited with having one of the great rock singers or one of the top guitar heroes or the most amazing rhythm section, but they do get credited with having good weaving guitars & grooves & a powerful vibe where the whole is stronger than the parts. Their secret is in interesting uncluttered melody lines, musical variety & sing-a-long memorable lyrics. "Darkness" is a perfect example of the band on a creative high. If this album fails its due to the fact that the songwriting isn't always really that interesting (for example, "My Fist Your Face") with the band throwing out lyrics that sound good because of the way they're sung not for what they say, much like what Marilyn Manson does. While the arrangements are trying but not quite the memorable grab your ear riffs that Aerosmith would later put out. The band would become too experimental & throw too much into the pot with albums like Music From Another Dimension, but here things are still quite the opposite being a bit too restrained if anything. "Let The Music Do The Talking" is a superior cleaner version versus the original that was the title track of a Joe Perry Project album that suffered from being cluttered. Aerosmith would later get cluttered with their albums & the results would suffer with feeling like a personality crisis with too many sounds, solos and dynamics, but those days are still in the distant future for 1985. Done With Mirrors is Aerosmith getting their footing again, but what would make their later albums better is the experimentation that would happen, the variety beyond just guitar rock which basically this album is. The synthesizer heavy "The Reason My Dog" is an interesting song for its non-guitar focus. This album would be followed by Permanent Vacation that would put the past behind the band & make them bigger than ever with the hits "Rag Doll", "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" & "Angel", while that would be eclipsed by Pump with the standout "Janie's Got A Gun" & "Love In An Elevator" where Aerosmith's particular brand of tongue-in-cheek raunchiness would turn them into one of the biggest band. Done With Mirrors is a nice little effort that will be interesting for fans that came later to the band, but probably more of interest to early day fans.

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