Night in the Ruts – Aerosmith (1979)

night-in-the-ruts

***1/2

For some reason, the members of Aerosmith seem to look back more fondly on Night in the Ruts than Draw the Line. I’m not sure why. It may have been less painful to record, but Night in the Ruts struggled to produce any songs worth remembering and was certainly the worst Aerosmith album up to this point in their careers.

It’s true that nothing on Night in the Ruts reaches the absolute rock bottom that is “Get it Up” from Draw the Line, but the Joe Perryless “Chiquita” comes pretty damn close. “Cheese Cake” is as cheesy as you would expect, and even the songs that critics (who, let me remind you, hated Aerosmith) halfheartedly celebrated like “No Surprize” and “Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)” were average at best. Thankfully, the band chose to pad the album with some great covers, including an old Blues standard (“Reefer Head Woman”) and even cooler, an unorthodox cover of ’60s girl group The Shangri-Las’ “Remember Walking in the Sand” which became the only single used to promote the album. Amazingly, Mary Weiss, the lead singer of The Shangri-Las, recorded backup vocals for Aerosmith’s version, which I find quite exciting. Outside of these two covers (and a forgettable take on The Yardbirds’ “Think About it”) the one Aerosmith original that is worth checking out is the eerie closer “Mia,” which Steven Tyler oddly named after his recently born daughter. By the time it was recorded, Joe Perry had quit the band, and those final bell tolls at the end of the song, as Steven Tyler has noted, “sounded more like the death knell of Aerosmith.” They were the last notes heard from the band for three years.

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