90s Score: 7/10
2020 score: 8/10
Most music enthusiasts think of Aerosmith as a classic ‘70s band, but their longevity is as impressive as their early success. Case in point: 1993’s Get a Grip, which preserves the band’s hard-rocking roots while offering lots to chew on for their younger fans.
After Steve Tyler’s brief and strange rap intro, the band rips into “Eat the Rich,” with its stadium-ready chorus and heavy, yet melodic riffs. The expansive “Get a Grip” follows, with its characteristically stratospheric lead vocal, courtesy of Steven Tyler. It makes for a convincing start, with bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer providing a tight yet malleable and tuneful back end. One could almost be tricked into thinking this is going to be a heavy record.
Yet, in true Aerosmith fashion, an epic rock ballad comes in and changes the course of this album. Megahit “Livin’ on the Edge” illustrates the amazing depth of this band. From blues-rock grooves to a larger-than-life chorus, this impeccably-produced masterpiece, like so many of Aerosmith’s smash hits, is enough to cement this album’s place in history on its own. “Livin’ on the Edge” stands out from every other track on Get a Grip, as did “Dream On” on Aerosmith, “Walk This Way” on Toys In the Attic and “Water Song / Janie’s Got a Gun” on Pump. As excellent as the other songs are on here, they all sound like filler by comparison.
However, there are a few other tracks worthy of note here: “Flesh,” with its compelling story and key change, brings back the percussion theme from the intro and segways nicely into the rest of the album. Joe Perry also graces us with a lead vocal on “Walk On Down,” a refreshingly simple and down-to-Earth song! Then, “Shut Up and Dance,” almost a punk anthem, embodies the simple, impactful riffage characteristic of the 90s while maintaining an old-school positivity in the groove. Lastly, of course, no one could write about this album without tipping their proverbial hat to the awfully cheesy, yet irresistibly compelling “Cryin’.” I’ve heard it too often to fully appreciate the impact it must have had when it was new, but there’s no denying the power of Aerosmith’s performance here.
To be sure, I would have enjoyed Get a Grip in 1993, but age and perspective give this album enough context for me to attribute an additional point for powerful performance and great musicianship.
Written by Henri Brillon
*Edited by Dominic Abate