Nine Lives (1997)

1.Nine Lives
2.Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)
3.Hole in My Soul
4.Taste of India
5.Full Circle
6.Something Gotta Give
7.Ain't That a Bitch
8.The Farm
10.Kiss Your Past Goodbye
12.Attitude Adjustment
13.Nine Lives


The long-awaited debut for Aerosmith on their brand new record label was littered with problems before the album was even released. This had to be one of the most anticipated releases in rock-and-roll history, with Columbia records signing the band to a contract over $40 million. Odd, since the band was not young anymore - and at the time when the contract was being signed, they still had a few albums to release with their current label. Then, when they finally started the sessions, the band almost caved under all the pressure. Infighting almost destroyed the band and rumor was that they were starting hitting the drugs again. They ended up firing their original producer, Glenn Ballard, and continued to labor on. It didn't help when once the album was released, the band pulled the CD off the shelves and repackaged the disc after members of the Hindu faith found the cover offensive.

Like their last release, Get a Grip, this album sounds o.k. It has all of the right sounds in the right places, but it never seems to make the jump to greatness. It does sound a little rougher than its predecessor, also a little meaner and less commercial - almost as if they're trying to shake the sappy radio friendly sound that had haunted them for the last few years. Still, though - they come up short. The album is filled with sleaze and sex, yet it seems forced - or maybe just foolish - since the boys don't seem to realize that their not horny junior high school students anymore. Steven Tyler even mocks Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz throughout The Farm. I guess it's supposed to be funny.

To be fair though, it's not unlistenable. Hole in My Soul is the well-done (now obligatory) power ballad. They pull some rabbits out of a hat with some unique experiments such as Pink and Attitude Adjustment. Most of the album, though, is pretty formulatic. Even the last song, the eight-plus minute Fallen Angels is supposed to be one of those "serious" songs about missing children. Four minutes would have been fine. The band was definitely crumbling under their own weight.

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