Review Summary: A band that once had nine lives, but now has no life (or indeed creative juice) left.
You'd be hard pressed to find a person who listens to any genre of music who hasn't heard of Aerosmith. The band's songs have been repeatedly played and exhausted by pretty much every radio station or music channel to have ever existed. And to think that these seemingly endless bouts of success for one of the world's most renowned rock bands had been the cause of a mere three consecutive albums released between 1987 and 1993. Well, the band's luck had to run out sooner or later, since Aerosmith's 12th studio album, “Nine lives” isn't exactly held in high regards. Not even by the most devoted fans. Despite the fact that the band had signed a multi-million deal with Columbia (who worked with the band before on their first seven albums) and that “Nine lives” reached the top of the Billboard chart (hardly surprising given that the band were expected to release something half as big as “Get a grip”), the band's twelfth album is one that seems to have been forgotten.
Make no mistake, “Nine lives” has been forgotten for plenty of reasons. For one thing, it can't be ignored that a multitude of songs on this album are basically borrowing from the exact same framework as songs such as 'Dude looks like a lady' ('Falling in love'), 'Livin on the edge' ('Hole in my soul') and 'Crazy' ('Full circle'). While saying this may anger a few Aerosmith fans, it has to be said: “Nine lives” is practically Aerosmith trying to be Aerosmith. As silly as that sounds, the band really did try too hard here to make another “Get a grip” or “Pump”. The accessible, hook-laden tunes that saturated “Permanent vacation” and “Pump” are virtually non-existent on the band's twelfth album. Discounting the bouncy title track, the eccentric 'Crash' and well-known single 'Pink', there are just too many moments where generic, re-hashed song structures replace the funnier, rowdier side of Aerosmith, and you have to question yourself whether the band are even supposed to be producing albums like this anymore.
Don't get me wrong, there are a few treats to be found on “Nine lives”. The title track does a good job of kick-starting the beginning of sixty long and dragged out minutes, Tyler donning his bizarre vocal performance and consequently sounding like a feline leopard that has been “pleasured” seven times in the same night and Perry charging forth his groovy guitar style. 'Falling in love (is hard on the knees)', although nowhere near as eccentric as its predecessor, has a sound as fun and catchy as a mariachi band covering punk songs, and few would argue that the meaningful presence of 'Pink' is one of the band's best songs in a long, long while. Yet these are few and far between, because it seems all too often as if the band have been stuck on auto-pilot. The other major problem, which is what “Get a grip” suffered from (albeit much less than on “Nine lives”, is the fact that too many songs are just TOO DAMN LOOOONG. There is seriously a surplus amount of filler to be found here. 'Hole in my soul', the nonsensical 'Taste of India', 'The farm', and even disappointing closer 'Fallen angels' all have endings that repeat themselves endlessly, and by the time each respective song finishes (that is, if you haven't skipped to the next track already), you'll be left wondering why this excessive time was just left there to fester.
It's probably a little cruel to say something so negative about any Aerosmith album, but “Nine Lives” really just wastes away for the most part. Its like the rotten corpse of a once fresh warrior with the body of a Hercules on steroids. Better still, like a cat that, once smelling fresh and living in a luxurious mansion, is now on its death-bed waiting to end life once and for all. It would be fair to say that by the time Aerosmith had come to release “Nine lives”, they had already wasted their musical lives and didn't have one chance left to make something of themselves. Thus, their twelfth album was released, and left to fester in a world that has much better albums of the same genre to offer.