|First posted 4/2/2008; updated 9/11/2020.|
Get a Grip
Released: April 20, 1993
Peak: 11 US, 2 UK, -- CN, -- AU
Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.3 UK, 20.0 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: classic rock
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Total Running Time: 62:17
3.563 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)
About the Album:
Aerosmith released their first seven albums, from 1973 to 1982, with Columbia Records. Their last effort, 1982’s lackluster Rock in a Hard Place, saw the band splintering as neither Steven Tyler and Brad Whitford was involved in the making. The original lineup returned for 1985’s Done with Mirrors, but the magic seemed like it might be, well, done.
When Run-D.M.C. recorded a remake of Aerosmith’s classic “Walk This Way,” they tapped Steven Tyler and Perry for guest spots. The song served not only as one of the most important songs for establishing rap music as a commercial entity that was here to stay but signaled that Aerosmith was far from done.
The band roared back on 1987’s Permanent Vacation in one of rock’s great comeback stories. Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, they followed it up with the even bigger Pump. The rockers seemingly had nothing left to accomplish, but their next album, 1993’s Get a Grip, gave the band yet another milestone – their first #1 album.
It also became their best-selling studio effort with 20 million sold worldwide. WK “Janie’s Got a Gun,” from the previous album, had snagged the band its first Grammy – for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. They repeated the feat not once, but twice, with Livin’ on the Edge and Crazy from Get a Grip.
Surprisingly, the album which produced seven charting hits on various charts, including four top-40 hits on the Billboard pop chart, was sent back to the drawing board after originally being planned for release in the third quarter of 1992. John Kalodner thought the album lacked a radio-friendly song. He’d pushed the band to work with outside songwriters like Desmond Child and Jim Vallance on Permanent Vacation and Pump. The band went to Child, who helped write Flesh and “Crazy.”
Child was just one of many outside songwriters. While Tyler and/or Perry is credited on every song on the album, the only song written by just the two of them is Fever, a song which became a top-five album rock track and, interestingly, was covered by Garth Brooks, who took it to the top 40 of the country chart. Otherwise, the album featured Vallance lending his pen to a few songs, including a couple of “trademark raunch-rock” AMG songs such as the title cut and Eat the Rich, another top-five album rock track, which kept “adolescent fans in their corner.” AMG
The group also worked with Lenny Kravitz (Line Up) and the duo of Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades (Shut Up and Dance), who’d respectively worked with Styx and Night Ranger before working together in Damn Yankees. The latter was a minor hit in the UK. Mark Hudson, the uncle of actress Kate Hudson, also co-wrote a couple of songs, including “Livin’ on the Edge,” the album’s lead single. He would continue to work with the band, most notably as a producer on the band’s 2001 album Just Push Play.
The presence of so much outside help can make the album feel like it’s trying to hard to be everything. “Crazy,” Cryin’, and Amazing are “radio-ready hit ballads” AMG all of which feature actress Alicia Silverstone in their videos. Meanwhile, songs such as the latter and “Livin’ on the Edge” can feel like studied efforts to make “a stab at social commentary.” AMG Of the song “Amazing” and the title cut, Tyler said they reflected on the band’s history with drug abuse. “We ere saying you can point ot back to some of those old beliefs about the crossroads and signing up with the devil, that you can look at the drugs as that: It can be fun in the beginning but then it comes time to pay your debt, and if you’re not sharp enough to see that it’s taking you down, then it really will get you.” WK
All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine said, “it’s a studied performance – it sounds like what an Aerosmith album should sound like. Most of the album sounds good; it's just that there isn’t much beneath the surface.” AMG While “fitfully entertaining, Get a Grip pales against its predecessor’s musical diversity.” AMG Famed rock critic Robert Christgau, however, called it the band’s best album since Rocks. WK
Notes: “Can’t Stop Messin’” was added to the UK version.
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