Just Push Play

  • Columbia

Big, brawny and very typical Aerosmith, Just Push Play mercifully owes very little to current pop trends, but plenty to the sturdy, if at times overly layered sound that's been the band's trademark for most of its nearly three decades on the rock scene.

Produced by singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry, along with Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson, the album is highlighted by the melodically rich, orchestral lead single “Jaded.” Tyler's soaring vocals have rarely sounded better than they do there, but he gets just as much passion into harder rockin' tracks like the muscular “Beyond Beautiful” and the riff-riding “Trip Hoppin.” The latter cut features the Tower of Power horns in all their brassy glory.

As has often been a problem for Aerosmith, the big power ballads like “Fly Away from Here” and “Luv Lies” are way too predictable, and sometimes they sound like they're going overboard in search of finding the most commercial avenue. But Tyler, Perry, and company make up for it more often than not when it turns to crunch time. Several tracks beyond “Jaded” do have hit potential, including the lyrically-provocative “Sunshine” and the rapid-fire, scratch-fest title cut, which sounds like a modern day successor to “Walk This Way.”

Kevin O'Hare