Aerosmith - “Pump” [Retro Album Review]

- Sep 08, 2019 at 12:01PM
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In his acclaimed 2012 book, No Sleep ‘Til Sudbury, celebrated author, podcast host and music aficionado, Brent Jensen discusses his theory of the “Two Aerosmiths.” “There is ‘Old Aerosmith,’ and there is ‘New Aerosmith,’” writes Jensen. “Old Aerosmith is that slutty Jezebel that would take you upstairs to deliver the groceries at the end of a sloppy late-night boozefest. New Aerosmith was the beautiful prom queen with great-smelling hair you were proud to bring home to Mom,” Jensen continues. “Both got your rocks off, but one cut through the artifice and did it on a much more primal level,” he concluded.

Heartbreaking victims of the usual suspects — egos, drug abuse, delusions and burnout, “Old Aerosmith” no longer was “top dog” on America’s rock scene. A scab configuration and sagging record sales were undeniable evidence of an iconic force from the ‘70s gasping desperately for breath in the early ‘80s. A successful 1984 reunion concert tour with its original lineup did little to fully restore the band’s rightful place of prominence, as their intended 1985 comeback album, Done with Mirrors tanked at the time of its release.

However, Aerosmith pulled out of its nosedive convincingly with the rather unlikely 1986 collaboration with rap kingpins Run-DMC — yielding the enormous-selling remake of the band’s 1975 classic, “Walk This Way.” Now recognizing fully the value of a massive single, the once-gritty AOR combo experienced a rebirth. Focusing on producing polished songs, “New Aerosmith” dropped its red hot Top 20 slab, Permanent Vacation in 1987. Brimming with hits, the record was embraced warmly by both radio and MTV. Aerosmith clearly was “back in the saddle” — as long as the next record didn’t suck.

The soundtrack to many a hook-up, this is “Love In An Elevator:”


Picking up where Permanent Vacation left off, the band’s much-anticipated tenth studio set, Pump, arrived in stores 30 years ago this week (September 12, 1989) via Geffen Records. Zinging with catchy, John Kalodner-approved hooks, and driven by Joe Perry and Brad Whitford’s signature gunky guitar riffage and infused with Steven Tyler’s libido-drenched lyrics, Pump demanded immediate attention — proving to arguably be one of the last great arena rock records — just before, well, you know.

Overseen by the late legendary producer, Bruce Fairbairn (Bon Jovi, AC/DC, Poison, KISS), Pump became a multi platinum-selling seduction. Cut from the same stylistic fabric as their 1987 hit, “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” the irresistible lead off single from Pump, “Love in an Elevator,” blew up straight out of the box. A songwriting tag team effort between Steven Tyler and bassist Tom Hamilton, the powerful “Janie’s Got a Gun” snatched a golden Grammy, while the engaging “What it Takes” served as a friendly forerunner to the band’s Get a Grip “Crazy” / “Amazing” / “Crying” trilogy 1993 and ‘94.

Check out this Aerosmith publicity photo taken back in ‘89:


The singles certainly all were infectious and impressive. However, it’s the other tunes from Pump that provided the most punch. The opening track, “Young Lust,” oozed heart-stopping energy and the down and dirty “F.I.N.E.” dripped with the band’s classic cock-rock swagger. Bursting with crunchy, blues-based chug, “Monkey on My Back” made for another shiny highlight.

Sleeker and sexier than previous Aerosmith efforts, Pump was crisp, concise and 100% fat-free. Three decades following its initial release, it remains an important and much-loved record — leaving fans with NONE of the bitter aftertaste or shameful rearview guilt generated by so many other rock chart-busters of the day.

Pump Track Listing:

01. Young Lust - 4:18
02. F.I.N.E. - 4:09
03. Going Down/Love in an Elevator - 5:39
04. Monkey on My Back - 3:57
05. Water Song/Janie's Got a Gun - 5:38
06. Dulcimer Stomp/The Other Side - 4:56
07. My Girl - 3:10
08. Don't Get Mad, Get Even - 4:48
09. Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man - 4:39
10. What It Takes - 5:11

Run Time: 47:22
Release Date: September 12, 1989
Record Label: Geffen Records

Another massive hit for the band, check out “Janie’s Got A Gun:”

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