Review Summary: Just push play.
I’ve never heard any other Aerosmith album in my life, so going into this review, I have absolutely no frame of reference. Which from what I’ve heard, is probably a good thing because now I can talk about this album as if I lived in a vacuum. No comparisons will be drawn to previous or future works by this band, and instead, I’ll be reviewing this album as its own entity. So with all that being said, here is “Just Push Play” by Aerosmith.
Right out of the gate, this album starts off strong. The opener, “Beyond Beautiful” gets everything right. This song is a very very well done combination of energy and emotion, that culminates in a song that is as fun as it is powerful. The lyrics are pretty standard, but the vocals soar through the chorus on this song in a way that easily makes this one of the highlights of this album. The slow buildup into the song itself creates a very distinct atmosphere that permeates throughout the whole song, and serves to make it much more intriguing than it would otherwise be. The production is excellent here as well, with the guitars having a thick, meaty sound to them, while not taking being overwhelming to the listener. Instead, they’re mixed subtly into the track, with the vocals taking center stage, as the guitars duel quietly with each other in the background. However, when the song does bust out solos, they’re beyond audible, and are all performed excellently. Overall, first impressions of this album are excellent, and my expectations were high, as the song slowly faded out, and the second track faded in.
The second song on this album is the title track, “Just Push Play”, and it is an absolute masterpiece. The song takes on a poppier vibe to it, while still maintaining a sound similar enough to “Beyond Beautiful” that it’s clear that they’re meant to be on the same album. The whole song is brimming with raw, albeit strangely refined energy, and this song’s groove is undeniable. The drumming is quicker here, but the bpm is low enough that this song can be easily danced to. Or you could just walk down the street while listening to it, and feel like a badass. The heavily bitcrushed percussion, mixed with the very pronounced driving riff is is truly a sound to behold, and with the vocals in the mix as well, this song is truly something special, with the singing being equal parts controlled and suave, as well as incredibly chaotic and energetic. The lead guitar work throughout the song rounds out the sound nicely, but it never quite gets as intense as it could have been. However, the song as a whole is so well rounded out, that it’s already a near wall of sound when it wants to be, with the last instance of the chorus being a crescendo of all the elements and idea built up throughout the song, in a musical climax that is unrivaled within the album. Overall, another fantastic song, and the best on the album by a landslide.
The rest of the album follows a similar pattern to these two first songs, though they’re met with varying degrees of success. Track three, “Jaded” is a definite combination of these two different styles, though it fails at both to an extent. The lyrics are incredibly generic, and the instrumentation isn’t anything to write home about, with the unnecessary use of violins to fill the sound out coming off as incredibly forced at best, and downright stupid at worst.
Other songs that are worth bringing up would be tracks such as “Trip Hoppin’”, which does something similar to “Jaded”, but the execution is much better. “Under My Skin” Is home to some of the best guitar work in the album, with an incredible driving riff, and consistently good rhythm throughout, despite the chorus lacking in this department. “Outta my Head” is another very good song on this album, in which the verses are borderline rapped, though the chorus is pretty par for the course on this album. “Light Inside” Is notable for being the song with the best drumming on the album, despite everything else being simply good. And the album’s closer, “Avant Garden” is just kinda bad.
So overall, despite the pretty sub-par album closer and a few bad songs throughout, “Just Push Play” is an album that is very much worth your time, and is one that I would highly recommend.