Rock in a Hard Place



by Dylan620 USER (4 Reviews)
November 11th, 2009 | 16 replies

Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What do you get when you take a five-piece band of rock n' roll superstars, replace the guitarists with guys who fit with the band like peanut butter and fish, put the lead singer on drugs and then drown the other members in alcohol?

Aerosmith rose to fame in the 1970's with albums such as Toys in the Attic (1975) and Rocks (1976), propelling the band to become known as one of the greatest rock n' roll bands of all time. Then all of a sudden, lead guitarist Joe Perry left the band while they were still in the process of making Night in the Ruts (1979). Rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford followed suit in 1981. Aerosmith gaily welcomed Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay as Joe and Brad's successors - huge mistake.

Rock in a Hard Place (1982) is probably Aerosmith's worst record to date. True, there are a couple of songs I like off this album: "Lightning Strikes", "Bitch's Brew", and "Joanie's Butterfly". So, why am I giving this album a 1 instead of a 1.5 or a 2" Because of how Rock in a Hard Place compares to Aerosmith's other albums. Aerosmith were rock n' roll gods in their early years - from their self-titled 1973 debut all the way until Draw the Line (1977), Aerosmith produced innovative, intelligent, and pure music. Even with the less impressive Night in the Ruts, Aerosmith still showed they cared about their music. Rock in a Hard Place failed to show a single sign the band cared at all. The whole album rolls up into one giant lyrical disaster - even the album's lone hit single, "Lightning Strikes", had lyrical problems. Itchy fingers" Kitchens" What the hell"

Here's a little track-by-track bio.

1.) "Jailbait" - 4:38
One of my least favorite songs by the band. Not only is it endlessly repetitive, bland, and just plain annoying, it is also WAY too long. 2/5

2.) "Lightning Strikes" - 4:26
Probably my favorite song off the album, being a strong, catchy song musically. Still, there are a couple lyrical issues. 4/5

3.) "Bitch's Brew" - 4:13
Another song which is better than the rest of the album. Still, it does have a bit of a bland opening section, and it's not quite as catchy as "Lightning Strikes". 3/5

4.) "Bolivian Ragamuffin" - 3:32
Downhill again from here with a truly appalling song. For god's sake, just look at the TITLE! That alone should sufficiently tell you that it's not their best work. 1/5

5.) "Cry Me a River" - 4:06
A cover of an old jazz song. Their cover version could have been one of the best songs off the album, if Steven Tyler didn't sing like he suddenly thought he was Aretha Franklin. 2/5

6.) "Prelude to Joanie" - 1:20
Not really worth writing a review for, since it's just a prelude to the next song on the album. N/A

7.) "Joanie's Butterfly" - 5:35
Probably the album's strongest cut lyrically, and musically it competes with "Lightning Strikes". Not only is it an uplifting, satisfying tune to ease out the album's pure frustration, but "Joanie's Butterfly" is thankfully the longest song on the album. 4/5

8.) "Rock in a Hard Place" - 4:45
Initially I liked this song quite a bit, but looking back I realize that it was the pinnacle of Aerosmith's un-creativity during the Crespo-Dufay era - the song is essentially a reworking of an early hit for the band, "Same Old Song and Dance" from Get Your Wings (1974). 2/5

9.) "Jig Is Up" - 3:10
I never really got around to understanding "Jig Is Up", nor did I really care, given what a dull, boring, and repetitive song it is. 1/5

10.) "Push Comes to Shove" - 4:28
The album's closing track. I don't really like that song - I find it unorthodox and unsatisfying, and what's worst of all is the awkward taste in my ears when the album's over. Just so you get a good idea of what "Push Comes to Shove" sounds like, picture Diana Ross getting high and then joining a garage band with a lounge pianist. Doesn't seem quite right, does it" 2/5

Joe Perry and Brad Whitford would re-join the band in 1984. This album and the follow-up, Done With Mirrors (1985), could have easily ended their careers, though the multi-platinum success of Permanent Vacation (1987) saved the band. I'm just glad that Aerosmith has sobered up since the Crespo-Dufay era. It just goes to show, though, what drugs and lineup changes can do to a band.

user ratings (225)

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 11th 2009


Entertaining. I know nothing about Aerosmith at all, being a die hard alt-rock fan. But this was a good read.


'Bolivian Ragamuffin' is an ACE song title. Hillarious! Makes me want to hear that song.

November 12th 2009


I stopped reading when you broke out into a pseudo-track-by-track analysis. You should shy away from that style; it doesn't flow very well. You were doing a good job until then.

November 12th 2009


yeah, and what´s with the swearing? you´re not the Angry Video Game Nerd!

November 12th 2009


I love AVGN! What were they THINKING?!

November 12th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

1? Nah.

Far from their best though

November 12th 2009


review was good until the tbt part, which was quite bad, sorry. Still, I expected worse when I clicked on this, seeing that 1 star rating. At least this wasn't a rant.

November 12th 2009


Album Rating: 1.0

OK, I think I've fixed up the review (i.e. cleaned up the track-by-track, eliminated the swear words, etc.)

November 12th 2009


Album Rating: 1.5

This is a terrible album, but everyone pretty much knows that going in.

November 14th 2009


Album Rating: 1.0

What's with all the comments I can't see? (According to my profile page, six comments have been made here since the most recent one shown.)

July 31st 2010


I don't see eye to eye with the reviewer. AEROMITH and TOYS IN THE ATTIC were pretty much masterpieces, everything else, especially ROCKS and DRAW THE LINE, is some good songs, some head scratchers...this album follows along with that pretty much, but it's,to me, more intersting. Listening to this album, to me, is like going out to party with someone you just met and subsequently finding out they live a much faster lifestyle than's dizzy, and disturbing, with moments of euphoria...I do agree with one could lop "jailbait" off the beginning, and it might even be a better album...but as a whole, this is actually my 3rd or 4th favorite Aerosmith album...but remember I stopped listening after "love in an elevator"

July 3rd 2011


Good review, man!

June 2nd 2012


Album Rating: 2.5

I don't understand the hate for this album honestly, it has some pretty good stuff. I wouldn't put it on the level of let's say Rocks or Toys in the Attic, or even Get Your Wings. I would put it on almost about the level of the self-titled debut album and on the equal level footing of Night in the Ruts and better than Draw the Line (or just as good).

Edit: Ugh, nvm. I recently gave it a re-listen. I enjoy Jailbait, Lightning Strikes, Bitch's Brew, and Cry Me a River, everything else is whatever.

July 9th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

Why does everybody hate this album??? This album is very underrated and i'm willing to bet that if Joe Perry and Brad Whitford stayed with the band for this album that this album would have a much better reputation than it currently has. This album rocked and i'm proud to say that it's one of my favorite Aerosmith albums of all time

Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2013


Album Rating: 2.0

I think it's safe to say that this is the first bad Aerosmith album. It's the band's first release of the 80s, but it can't be helped that the instrumentation just sounds bland for the most part, and Tyler's vocal chords were not working to his advantage at all. A lot of songs here just don't click, most notably 'Lightning strikes', which seems to adopt a BOC-esque structure, and the couplet that is the absolutely pointless 'Prelude to Joanie' and it's much better albeit generally so-so successor 'Joanie's butterfly', which is two minutes too long. There are a few nice songs to be found here though. 'Jailbait', although not the best opener to an Aerosmith album, does kick into gear eventually, and the title track makes for fun listening with its constant harmonica/saxohpone interludes entwined with perry's excitable guitar work. At least the band would go on to make better albums (Call them 'sell-outs', if you will) after this.

Digging: Finsterforst - Zerfall

January 16th 2014


Album Rating: 2.5

It's not the best nor not the worst aerosmith album perhaps very average if not weak compared to such great ass kickers like Toys and Get Your Wings.

February 15th 2018


Album Rating: 3.5

1? But your average song rating is 2,5! Another one who thinks that he's THE reviewer.

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