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So Tight Their Lovin’ Squeaked: Aerosmith Were Too Good to Ever B…

A version of this article was originally published on June 29, 2016.

There was a time not so long ago, in a pre-Trump, pre-Brexit world, when a mythically thin line between stupid and clever existed. Not to pine for the past, but it was a distinct sweet spot; they just don’t make good, dumb, Homer Simpson-core bands like they used to, you probably thought to yourself as Woodstock ’99 burned to the ground.

Aerosmith deserve to go down as the best American hard-rock band to ever exist, but it’s not to be. Maybe they’re so bizarrely unfashionable because they’re not as self-mythologizing as serial operettas like Van Halen or Guns N’ Roses. But they also fall outside of the nostalgia cycle that’s validated even Journey because they never epitomized kitsch either. Namely, they were the right thing at the right juncture several times over, winking at clichés, or, at least, de-centering them — all-out abstaining from stuff isn’t really the Toxic Twins’ thing.

Aerosmith made more good records than any of the above-named bands, and at their best they made it look so easy that it landed them in this taken-for-granted mess in the first place. They also weathered drug abuse, enjoyed/exploited groupies, and had some brief personnel toss-ups in the ’80s, but that’s where the Behind the Music tropes end for the missing link between Led Zeppelin and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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