Aerosmith’s “Toys in the Attic” was the album that lunged this band to the top. Aerosmith, a young band at the time, was staffed by an unabashed group of courageous young men, adventurous, unafraid and ready to show the world their gutsy, imprudent style, which “Toys in the Attic” did. This breakthrough album was initially met with mixed reviews from critics, but ended up peaking at number 11 on Billboards top 200, with songs like “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk this Way” providing the punch. With the exception of the “Big Ten Inch” cover, all material was composed by the bands members, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford. We took a look at this iconic album, considering everything from its impact on the band and the music scene, to the pleasure provided to fans, and ranked our own top 5 songs from the album.
5. You See Me Crying
Often cited as their best ballad, “You See Me Crying”, is a passionate if somewhat underplayed song by the band. The clever blending of hard rock riffs with full orchestration helps this song reach its full potential as a power ballad. Though this song was released as a third single, it remained out of the loop as far as the charts were concerned. However, the fans consider this a landmark song for the band with regards to its emotional vibe, helped along by the intrepid and defiant piano offerings. Indeed, despite the full on orchestrations, it is the fearless, almost militant force with which the keyboards are hit, which reinforce the power of the lyrics, making this a most resolute and forward song.
4. Uncle Salty
There’s nothing charming, delicate or pleasing in the lyrics of “Uncle Salty”. This is no lullaby for those searching for answers to life’s petty problems. This is an anthem to those who have wasted away in their shanty of a soul, due to the hard knocks life has unfairly given them. Here, an orphan waif stumbles through life, only to end up alone, with no reward for her struggles and suffering. A troubling reminder that while some in life are fortunate to enjoy the pleasures of meditating beneath a willow tree, others are living a life torn in tatters under no fault of their own. Composed by Tom Hamilton and Steven Tyler, the song is about Uncle Salty, as Tyler explains, “Salty worked in a home for lost children and had his way with this little girl. That’s what it’s about.”
3. Toys in the Attic
In 1975, when fans first put needle to vinyl, they were met with a clash of the rapid wrestling of crack instrumentation that collided with Tyler’s accelerated vocals with breakneck speed. Brisk, lively and mercurial, “Toys in the Attic”) is a rendezvous with living thunder, confronting the listener with the quintessential party song. Anyone hearing this song for the first time is confronted with the tumble and tussle of a gritty rock and roll band that shunned the simplistic and sometimes silly mysticism often sold as something to be admired, but is in reality a mere marketing ploy. Fans of both Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones began to notice the influence, yet appreciated Aerosmith’s musical adherence to authenticity and originality.
2. Walk This Way
There’s absolutely nothing pretentious about “Walk This Way”. In fact, it’s anything but. Steven Tyler’s energetic and animated delivery has an elastic flow, snapping forward and back, giving the listener a feeling of volatile delight. That, paired with Perry’s power riff, created a song that reached number 10 on Billboards Hot 100 in 1977, and helped cement Aerosmith as a hard rock band capable of crafting an ingenious, visionary sound–a vivid explosion of fertile sound and vivid vocal delivery. Indeed, “Walk This Way” was breaking ground for these bad boys from Boston. When Run DMC took the song on, fans were able to experience a quixotic blend of the new and old, a fertile crossover by two bands that bled originality, spiking the interest of fans of both genres.
1. Sweet Emotion
“Sweet Emotion”,for some, the song that began it all, and for a good reason. “Sweet Emotion” gave rock fans a taste of something quite unique, powerful and surreal. The song carries with it a sense of antagonism, fury and animosity. With Joey Kramer’s driving beat cutting through the dreamlike ambiance of the intro, the listener is wrapped up tightly in the spell of the music. When the massive riff thrashes in, reminiscent of the emergence of a mighty kraken from its sleep, we are thrust into a whirlwind of emotion. Even the band Van Halen performed a cover of “Sweet Emotion”, putting their own unique flavor onto the track, with their rendition taking on a more violent twist in exchange for the energetic yet hypnotic moves of the original.
Our top 5 ranking of Aerosmith’s “Toys in the Attic” album is subjective, of course. In all truth, your top 5 may differ significantly. Nonetheless, after listening to this iconic album, no one who enjoy’s this Boston bands sound can deny its pulverizing, bone-crushing power, as well as it’s enduring influence on the music scene. Each song on this album holds its own with its own signature sound, with no two alike. The album is an example of the confident attitude held by each band member, as they strived to attain a number one status in the world of rock and roll. All in all, Aerosmith’s “Toys in the Attic” is an unforgettable, immersive and powerful album, and will remain so for generations of music lovers to come.