Aerosmith - Permanent Vacation (1987)
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Hard Rock, Southern Rock | Geffen Records #9 24162-2
Permanent Vacation is the ninth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released in August 1987 by Geffen Records. The album marks a turning point in the band's career. It is their first album to employ professional songwriters, instead of featuring material solely composed by members of the band. This came as a suggestion of executive John Kalodner, who also pushed the band to work with producer Bruce Fairbairn, who remained with them for another two albums. It was also the first Aerosmith album to be promoted by heavy music video airplay on MTV. Though Done with Mirrors was intended to mark Aerosmith's comeback, Permanent Vacation is often considered their true comeback album, as it was the band's first truly popular album since their reunion...
"Rag Doll", "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", and "Angel" all became major hit singles (all three songs charted in the Top 20) and helped Permanent Vacation become the band's most successful album in a decade. The album features their cover of "I'm Down", a piano-driven Beatles song that appeared as a B-side to their single "Help!" in 1965. This was Aerosmith's second commercially released Beatles cover, after "Come Together". Permanent Vacation has sold over five million copies in the U.S. In the UK, it was the first Aerosmith album to attain both Silver (60,000 units sold) and Gold (100,000 units sold) certification by the British Phonographic Industry, achieving these in July 1989 and March 1990 respectively.
The much-ballyhooed reunion of the original Aerosmith lineup had pretty much fallen flat on its face after 1985's hit-and-miss Done With Mirrors. Realizing that the band simply couldn't do it alone, A&R guru John Kalodner capitalized on the runaway success of Run-D.M.C.'s cover of "Walk This Way" and decided to draft in the day's top hired hands, including knob-twiddler extraordinaire Bruce Fairbairn and career-revitalizing song doctors Desmond Child and Jim Vallance. Together, they would help craft Permanent Vacation, the album which would reinvent Aerosmith as '80s and '90s superstars. Yet, despite the mostly stellar songwriting, which makes it a strong effort overall, some of the album's nooks and crannies haven't aged all that well because of Fairbairn's overwrought production, featuring an exaggerated sleekness typical of most mid-'80s pop-metal albums. Furthermore, Desmond Child's pedantic writing often compromises the timeliness of even the best material. On the other hand, pre-fab radio gems like "Rag Doll" and "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" remain largely unassailable from a "delivering the goods" perspective. But remember kids, this is Aerosmith, so that can only mean one thing: a guaranteed number of incredible tracks for any time and place. These include the earthy voodoo blues of "St. John" and the excellent hobo-harmonica fable of "Hangman Jury." And, although some of the remaining cuts lean to the filler side, both the awkwardly Caribbean title track and the cover of the Beatles' "I'm Down" are well executed. Finally, the crowd-pleasing schmaltz of "Angel" showcases the band at the peak of its power ballad cheese. A valiant effort, this album proved to be the crucial catalyst in reintroducing Aerosmith to the masses, but if you're looking for an even better example of the band's renewed strength, check out Pump first.
01. Heart's Done Time [04:45]
02. Magic Touch [04:38]
03. Rag Doll [04:27]
04. Simoriah [03:22]
05. Dude (Looks Like A Lady) [04:27]
06. St. John [04:10]
07. Hangman Jury [05:32]
08. Girl Keeps Coming Apart [04:14]
09. Angel [05:10]
10. Permanent Vacation [04:55]
11. I'm Down [02:20]
12. The Movie [04:00]
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