The Great Debate: Aerosmith

With the recent rumors of Aerosmith breaking up, we take a look at the bad boys from Boston. Are they an overrated classic rock outfit whose time has come? Or is this hiatus a well-needed break that will only benefit the band in the long run?

“Get a Grip: Aerosmith is Overrated”
By Brent Johnson

I don’t like the thought of bugs crawling on my skin. I don’t like traffic on one-lane streets.

And I don’t like Aerosmith.

I say this after hearing the rumor that Steven Tyler has quit Boston’s favorite Rolling Stones knockoff band. And my response was thus: I don’t like Aerosmith.

They fall into a category I’ve never gotten: Bands that people love because they rock.

According Brent Johnson, Aerosmith never did better than their great first single, "Dream On."

It’s completely cool to like The Rolling Stones — they did some incredible work in the early 1960s, before Brian Jones drowned. But they’ve written the same, ‘rocking’ song since 1975. So it is not cool to like them simply because they’re awesome, man.

It’s cool to think AC/DC are endearing because of Bon Scott’s antics, their balls-to-the-wall, has-to-be-tongue-in-cheek attitude and the fact that they’ve written the same song every time they write a song. But it is not cool to like them simply because they’re heavy, dude.

The same goes for Aerosmith.

To me, Aerosmith hit their peak withtheir first single, the gorgeous, stirring ‘Dream On.’ Haunting melody, great guitar work and a masterful vocal from Tyler before drugs ravaged his voice. (It’s a pity his voice shredded into the rasp we’re supposed to like now — because it rocks.) It’s a classic song because it transcends — it exists in its own universe.

Everything else since then? It’s okay. Everyone has dubbed Aerosmith a classic band — when really, to me, they’re a band that occasionally pens a sturdy, likable song (‘Janie’s Got A Gun,’ ‘Crazy,’ ‘Jaded’).

Maybe my problem is with classic rock in general. But that’s another post altogether.

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Toys in the Attic: Aerosmith Needs Time Off to Recapture the Magic

By Bill Bodkin

I was raised on the sounds of doo-wop and of lite FM. I was never into modern rock because my parents didn’t allow me to watch MTV until my early teens. So I’m a bit of late bloomer when it comes to music.

In 1996, I discovered heavy metal and fell in love with it. The harder, the better. But in the spring of 1998, I heard “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith. From its unforgettable talkbox opening to its fade out with drums pounding like machine guns and a sweet bluesy guitar solo, I instantly became an Aerosmith fan. To this day, I still turn the song up and air drum along with Joey Kramer any time it’s on the radio or comes up on my iPod.

The reason I loved them? Because they rocked. While my co-blogger believes that a band simply rocking isn’t good enough, let me point out that the masterful guitar work of Joe Perry and ultra-solid groove provided by Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer have been the backbone of not only Aerosmith for the past 30-plus years, but hard rock and metal bands for the last 30 years. Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, Poison, Bon Jovi (check out “Social Disease” on Slippery When Wet), and countless others have modeled themselves after Aerosmith’s guitar driven, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll style of hard rock. These guys set the standard — hence, why they are a classic band.

Bill Bodkin believes the time has come for Steven Tyler & Co. to call it quits. At least fo rnow.

However, I think their time is over. To me, the end of the credible rock ‘n’ roll Aerosmith’s came during the infamous Super Bowl halftime show (which my Giants lost). The performed with ‘NSync, Britney Spears and a countless array of crap (minus Mary J. Blige). From there, they produced one forgettable original album and churned out three or four greatest hits albums, which I believe gives them more greatest hits records than The Beatles, Stones and Zeppelin combined.

To me, Aerosmith went on cruise control — becoming the band that toured every summer, performing their greatest hits, reaping in big bucks from die-hard fans. No different from The Allman Brothers or Chicago. They have not produced a relevant piece of music in quite some time. Even their 70s contemporaries like AC/DC and Kiss have recorded new songs that remind fans both new and old why they still kick ass. Aerosmith — not so much. We’re forced to listen to their overproduced ’90s hits ad nauseum on the few remaining rock stations in the area. It’s frankly one of the reasons I stopped caring about this band.

So to me, this break-up is exactly what Aerosmith needs. Let’s forget about the ballad from Armageddon, let’s forget the Super Bowl, let’s forget the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Go on a break for a few years, work on side projects. Then in a few years, despite the age, come back for one last big world tour. Remind people why you were the biggest band in the world.

Will this happen? Who knows. But I’ll always have “Sweet Emotion.”

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.


  1. If you had listened to your parents and paid more attention to Doo Wop you would appreciate good music. Pay attention to your partner he knows his stuff. Aerosmith, Metallica, Heavy Metal next you’ll be saying you like Wrestling.

  2. Brent – one quick point to further your argument. Check out how many of those occassional strudy, likeable songs were written with the help of a professional songwriter. Sort of makes it even harder to defend them, doesn’t it?

    That said, often rocking IS enough. It’s just a question of rocking with conviction and not rocking because its what is expected of you, or because you’re really good at pantomiming what you used to look like when you rocked.

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