14 Aerosmith Albums Ranked From Worst to Best
For those that love rock, you probably have a special place in your heart for Aerosmith music. So today, I encourage you to sit back and relax and see if my listing of all of the Aerosmith albums ranked from worst to first matches your personal ranking of their discography, as well.
Top Aerosmith Albums Ranked
15. Nine Lives (1997)
Typically, most fans of the band have little in the way of criticism for any Aerosmith work from its comeback era. However, Nine Lives seems to be a bit of the band doing “a little too much.” At the time of the release of the LP, Aerosmith had just signed a new recording contract with a new record company, and there are multiple “contributions” from outsiders to the record.
Nine Lives did produce some timeless hits – “Hole in my Soul” is the perfect song for a breakup, but it’s simply not the driving, bluesy, soulful rock of Aerosmith. The songs almost fit a cookie-cutter pattern.
My favorite song on this album is “Pink.” The innuendo in the song is just plain fun. Frankly, this song is the closest to the tongue-in-cheek lyrics that made the band popular.
14. Just Push Play (2001)
Just Push Play isn’t even a favorite of the band members themselves; Joe Perry is said to have remarked that the LP is a lesson on “how not to make a record.” The album is not without at least one top ten hit – “Jaded” is well written, and it is much more like the original Aerosmith sound. Notable face-palming songs include the “raps” on the title track as well as “Outta Your Head.”
My favorite song on this particular LP is “Jaded.” For me, this record is so unmemorable that it’s the only one I remember (and I owned the CD!) without looking up a song list. “Jaded” was great for singing along on road trips, and every female listener can related to “Baby Blue,” the subject of the song.
13. Get a Grip (1993)
Get a Grip is one of Aerosmith’s best-selling albums, and while it’s difficult to even remotely rank the record as one of the group’s worst records, it unfortunately is. The songs on the record aren’t just awful; they’re formulaic. They’re repetitive, and the videos feature Liv Tyler (frontman Steven Tyler’s love child with a groupie, Bebe Buell).
To top it off, the record got a ton of radio play, making many of these redundant songs tiring for even the most ardent Aerosmith fan. Yes, as far as Aerosmith albums ranked from worst to best, Get a Grip is truly one of the least favorites of many critics.
My favorite song from the record is “Livin’ on the Edge.” Joe Perry’s guitar riffs are at their best, and the driving beat of the song only adds to the strength of the ditty. Although many of the lyrics are almost politically correct (and rock n’ roll should never be PC), the percussion and guitar are simply too good to ignore.
12. Music from Another Dimension (2012)
This album was Aerosmith’s first album containing original material since Just Push Play. Most of the tracks are simply not notable in any way. While the basic formula for the band’s success is there – Tyler’s emotional vocals, Perry’s amazing guitar licks – this album received little fanfare.
My favorite song from this album is one I knew, but had never associated with the record until I researched the song list. It’s “What Could Have Been Love,” and the song never even cracked the top twenty on any U.S. charts. Aerosmith released the video for the song via Vevo.com.
11. Honkin’ on Bobo (2004)
This album is filled with cover songs, but they are made distinctly Aerosmith’s due to the bluesy nature of their takes on each remake. Tyler and Perry carried out the bulk of the production on the album, which was intended to pay homage to blues heroes such as Bo Diddley and Little Walter. Steven Tyler has said of the record that they intended to do an album of this nature in the early 90s, but the legendary Eric Clapton beat the band to the punch.
My favorite song on the album is “Stop Messin’ Around,” which is a Fleetwood Mac cover. Aerosmith had performed this song live for quite some time, but Honkin’ on Bobo marks the first time the song was ever recorded by the group.
10. Rock in a Hard Place (1982)
1982 wasn’t a good time to be a member of Aerosmith. The partying had divided the “twin terrors” – Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. In fact, Perry had already left Aerosmith at the time this album was recorded. Perry had been replaced by Jimmy Crespo, who had played with FLAME years before. In the middle of recording, Brad Whitford left Aerosmith as well. The album did manage to sell enough to earn a gold record, however.
My favorite song from the album is “Jig is Up.” While Jimmy Crespo is no Joe Perry, he does offer some bluesy, hard licks to accompany Tyler’s wailing lyrics.
9. Night in the Ruts (1979)
Night in the Ruts marks the last 1970s album on which Joe Perry appears. Although Perry and Tyler were known as the “terror twins” due to their behavior on the road (often fueled by drugs and alcohol), the substances between them caused a huge rift. Perry left in the middle of recording this album, to be exact.
My favorite song from this album is “Draw the Line.” I can remember hearing this on a compilation album years ago, and it’s just an awesome song. I find it amazing that Aerosmith could produce this awesome song in the midst of all the infighting and substance abuse, but, such is rock n’ roll.
8. Done with Mirrors (1985)
Many critics call this Aerosmith’s comeback album, and a lot of fans will agree. Producer Ted Templeman, who worked on notable records such as Van Halen’s 1984, multiple Eric Clapton LPs, and Montrose self-titled album, heard Brad Whitford say that the band wanted to return to their “out of control freight train” sound of the 1970s. Templeman had the band simply play the songs, then he recorded them doing so (the band was unaware they were being recorded).
Ironically, Doug Herzog, an executive for the parent company of VH1 and MTV, remarked that Aerosmith was “done.” One year later, however, Aerosmith would see fans raving for their work with Run DMC.
My favorite song is “Let the Music Do the Talking.” It’s simple, straightforward, hard, rocking music. I learned in my research that this song was actually first released by Joe Perry’s band after he left Aerosmith. I’ve never heard it without Steven’s vocals, and I can’t really imagine it any other way!
7. Draw the Line (1977)
Aerosmith’s 1977 offering Draw the Line offered three singles. “Draw the Line” was the title track, and it’s Aerosmith – and their legendary sound – all the way. “Kings and Queens” could be the soundtrack for Showtime’s The Tudors – after all, the main topic of the song is “kings and queens and guillotines.”
A final single “Get it Up” is unremarkable. While the band was beginning to split up, Kerrang! Magazine did list the album at number 37 among its list of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums. Joe Perry said that the band at the time was a group of addicts dabbling in music rather than “musicians dabbling in drugs.”
My favorite song is the title track, “Draw the Line.” I first heard the song when watching a recorded Aerosmith concert. Joe Perry looked like the rock god he is; Steven Tyler’s screeching lyrics are so Aerosmith.
6. Get Your Wings (1974)
Get Your Wings offers multiple hard, driving, bluesy Aerosmith originals, and, in this writer’s opinion, it really ties with others as one of Aerosmith’s best records. This record really set the tone for Aerosmith’s signature sound, particularly in songs like “The Train Kept a-Rollin’” and “Lord of the Thighs.”
My favorite song from the album has to be “The Train Kept a-Rollin.’” I was also introduced to this song while watching a recorded Aerosmith concert. Perry and Tyler were simply awesome together. Perry is the stoic, hugely talented guitar player (Slash and Perry are much alike in this way) while Tyler is the wildly dressed, loud lead vocalist.
5. Rocks (1976)
While Rocks is a huge critic favorite, it’s also a fan favorite. This LP produced two Top 40 tracks: “Back in the Saddle” and “Last Child.” Yet, these aren’t the only notable songs on the record. Fan favorites from the record include “Lick and a Promise,” “Nobody’s Fault” and “Home Tonight.”
My favorite song from the album is “Back in the Saddle.” The song’s percussion literally sounds like a galloping horse. In fact, the whole beat has driving vibe.
4. Toys in the Attic (1975)
Most fans and critics hail Toys as the quintessential Aerosmith record. Producer Jack Douglas is said to have captured the honest essence of the band with this album. This album offered hits including a title track, the original version of “Walk this Way,” and the ever-popular “Sweet Emotion.” This was also Aerosmith’s most popular 70s record release, and the record sales can attest to that.
My favorite song is “Sweet Emotion.” The song simply rocks. It’s a tune one can pull up on Pandora or Spotify as a driving song, but don’t be surprised if you forget how fast you’re going while listening! Aerosmith also performed a small portion of the song during a “Wayne’s World” skit on Saturday Night Live. It’s simply a timeless classic.
3. Big Ones (1994)
While this is a compilation album – and typically not one to rank on a list such as this, Big Ones offers virtually every awesome Aerosmith song from the 1980s and early 1990s. From “Rag Doll” to “Cryin’” to “Blind Man,” every single song on this record is pure rock gold.
My favorite would have to be “Deuces are Wild.” This didn’t originally appear on an Aerosmith album; it was featured on a soundtrack for The Beavis and Butthead Experience. The lyrics are fun and carefree – the definition of 80s and 90s hard rock and glam metal.
2. Pump (1989)
Choosing the top two best Aerosmith albums is no easy task. Pump is definitely a personal favorite, offering three Top Ten hits. However, even the unreleased songs on Pump are pure gold. “Monkey on my Back” is an ode to the substance abuse issues that Perry and Tyler battled in order to make a comeback in the early 80s. “Young Lust” is a fun, driving, party-themed song; it’s the epitome of 80s hard rock.
“What It Takes” is the perfect Aerosmith power ballad – it’s the song of a couple no longer together, but one of them simply can’t get over the other. Then one has to consider “Love in an Elevator” and “Janie’s Got a Gun.” “Janie” is perhaps the first serious topic broached by the fun-loving Aerosmith. The video was highly controversial, and even those who don’t call themselves Aerosmith fans are familiar with the highly-rotated song and its themes.
My favorite song from this album has to be “Love in an Elevator.” It’s the perfect example of 80s rock music – it’s carefree and full of innuendo. However, just about every song on Pump is a really good one.
1. Permanent Vacation (1987)
Permanent Vacation went platinum not only twice or three times – it went platinum an amazing five times. Critics hailed it as a change for Aerosmith to a “pop metal” sound, but Aerosmith perfectly combined the bluesy sound for which the band is known with a bit of hair metal and hard rock for a successful mix. Three of the singles from the record achieved Top Ten status.
Choosing a favorite song from this record is no easy task. First, there’s the song meant to parody the way men (particularly Vince Neil of Motley Crue) looked during the heyday of the hair/glam metal scene in LA – “Dude (Looks Like a Lady).” Then, there’s “Rag Doll” and “Angel.”
However, one can’t forget “Magic Touch” and the title track. For me, however, my absolute favorite is “Angel.” There are personal reasons for my pick, but, overall, it’s still an amazing song. If I had to choose a close second, though, “Rag Doll” would have to be it.
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