Toys in the Attic
Teenage Boy Bliss
Aerosmith didn't invent blues-rock, wasn't the first band to dish bawdy lyrics, and really brought nothing innovative to the game—unless you count the scarves vocalist Steven Tyler tied around his microphone stand. Yet with its third album, Toys in the Attic, the Boston quintet took the basic three-chord guitar scheme, added some old-fashioned showbiz razzle-dazzle, and gave "rawk" a new attitude.
Toys is thirty-seven minutes of teenage-boy air-guitar bliss—all double-time peel-outs and leering talk of fast girls, with a hit of rebellion on the side. Its pulverizing backbeats and tightly wound riff boogie ooze horniness ("Walk This Way," still the prototype rock strut). Its songs about drugs ("Uncle Salty" and "Sweet Emotion," the cleverest deployment of bass marimba in rock history) are disciplined verse-chorus odes disguised as spacey meandering.
An instant hit that sold millions and established the band as arena headliners, Toys solidified the trick that the "Toxic Twins" song-writing team, vocalist Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry, would turn for decades: slightly sleazy bad-boy stuff made irresistible by fireworks-on-cue hookcraft.
Released: 1975, Columbia
Key Tracks: "Walk This Way," "Uncle Salty"
Catalog Choice: Rocks; Pump
Next Stop: Van Halen: Van Halen
After That: Mötley Crüe: Dr. Feelgood
Book Pages: 11–12