Permanent Vacation (1987)

1.Heart's Done Time
2.Magic Touch
5.Dude (Look's Like a Lady)
7.Hangman Jury
8.Girl Keeps Coming Apart
10.Permanent Vacation
11.I'm Down
12.The Movie (Instrumental)


Who could have possibly thought the unthinkable could happen? After drug induced infighting within the band, several mediocre releases, and a failed reunion of the original lineup, the guys finally climbed back up to the top. Way up to the top. To be fair, the band did have a small break a year earlier. The Rap group Run D.M.C. did a cover of the band's biggest hit to date, Walk This Way, and decided to include the band in the song. What probably made it so effective was the successful video (let's remember videos were everywhere at this time). Maybe that at least sparked interest in the once great band, but in all honesty - this was just a damned good album.

Of course, they didn't do this without help. Outside writers Jim Vallance and Desmond Child were recruited to help fine tune the material, and producer Bruce Fairbain would be twiddling the knobs in the production booth. From the very beginning pulses of Heart's Done Time, it's clear that the band has rediscovered their magic. This is not a run of the mill hard rock album which the band was prone to releasing lately. This one was by far more meatier, more edgy and more diverse. It helped that the band was now clean for the first time in who knows how long. They seem to finally remember what they were capable of doing as this release echoes some of the great styles on Toys in the Attic and Rocks from oh so long ago.

It was a little odd that they started the climb from the ashes with the first single Dude (Looks Like a Lady). Not that there was anything wrong with the song itself, it just sounded kinda stupid - like the name of any other song from a cheesy metal band. The skeptics were won over quickly, though, and the song is one of the most stable tracks on the album. The next single was not received well by many of the diehards - Angel. To be honest, it's pure sap. Even some of the band members didn't like it. But, oh well, you had to take the good with the bad. In a scary way, this song represented the birth of the power ballad for Aerosmith. The guys would always do well, sales wise, with this type of song, but some of the faithful were less than amused, and the schtick would tire easily. The third single Ragdoll was definitely the best of the singles, with it's punchy-funky sing-along beat complete with a brass section.

Ironically, some of the best material remains unheard by most people. Hangman Jury is the band at it's bluesy best and St. John is a great "ode" to John the Baptist - the chorus is one of the catchiest things they've ever written. They even do a great cover of The Beatles' I'm Down and truly make the song "their own". Really, the only thing that isn't at par with the rest of the album is the somewhat average Girl Keep Coming Apart.

Not only was this a comeback, but they were now (and would be for pretty much the rest of their career) bigger than they ever had been before.

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