And so the great comeback began,
This review is from: Done With Mirrors (Audio CD)
In the 1980's Aerosmith issued more appreciated comeback albums. But Done With Mirrors is equally essential. It fell on deaf ears in 1985, probably because of Geffen's mediocre promotion. The cover didn't have the classic winged-A logo we all know and love.
In fact there are 3 versions of the album cover, the original pressings had the band and album name reading backwards (mediocre promotion indeed). Later versions would have the frontward cover, but still without the Classic "Winged A" logo we all know and love. Finally this problem was solved once and for all, and the latest design sits atop this web page.
As proof of how underrated this album is, I point to the fact Aerosmith recently put out a supposed "Ultimate" hits collection, and "Done with Mirrors" was TOTALLY IGNORED, Not even one song. What gives?
After bottoming out with "Rock and a hard place", Joe Perry and Brad Whitford settled their differences and returned, and Aeromith were back with a vengeance. Working with Ted Templeman (of Roth-Era Van Halen and Doobie brothers fame). The production is perfect. The Bad Boys from Boston concocted a classic. EVERY Joe Perry riff oozes with Swagger, and the sleaze of Steven Tyler harks back to their 70's heyday. They sound rejuvenated and the accompanying tour was a success, despite the fact few bought this album.
When I see the low ratings for "Done with Mirrors' I think, Geez...What album are these people listening to?". This is pure, full-on, full-tilt Hard Rock.
Joey Kramer's drums sound terrific as usual, and, moreso than on other albums, his hi-hat work really comes through here. Maybe the different producer had something to do with it, I'm not sure. Tom Hamilton's bass playing never disappoints, and on "Done with Mirrors" he's more than up to the task.
The opener is "Let the music do the talking", which of course was originally recorded by the Joe Perry Project, but Aerosmith made it theirs and it sounds ten times better. "My fist your face" features some fine distortion.
"Shame on you" has a great blues lick. Also noteworthy are the sly lyrics of "The reason a dog". "Shela" is powered by a mammoth groove that only intensifies once the distortion kicks in!
"Gypsy" keeps an up-tempo pace throughout, and the Twin-Guitar assault never lets up. A lighter, acoustic element is thrown into "She's on fire" but it's still Rock Solid (Pardon the Pun). The keyboards tacked on at the end were a great touch as it adds another dimension. I used to press the skip button for Track 8, "The Hop", which puts my idiocy on center stage ;). This song will rock your socks off, Plain and Simple. The Chorus hits home when Steven sings "Yeah...Yeah...Can't stop Rockin' Tonight".
The all-out finale exists in the form of "Darkness". I guess the boys don't like dark stuff, but my motto is "Real Men Wear Black". You know, "Back In Black, with my Road Bruins Jersey". Anywho that's off topic. The lyrics tackle the subject of a misfortunate outing Mr. Tyler had with a girl. The Piano dominates the slower sections, but then, boy do guitarists Brad Whitford and Joe Perry make their presence felt.
Their follow-up album, "Permanent vacation" was great in it's own right, and returned them to past glories, spinning off a few hit singles but overall the record wasn't as satisfying as "Done with Mirrors".
As is, I rank this as Aerosmith's second best comeback album, behind only 1989's "Pump". Everything they've done since 1993, has, quite honestly, made me ashamed to have been once a fan. You know what I mean, Superbowl Halftime shows with Prefab acts and Sappy Ballads.
"Done with Mirrors" is one of the most underrated albums in Rock history. Hopefully more fans will discover it.