Done With Mirrors review by Aerosmith

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  • Released: Nov 9, 1985
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 5
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.3 Neat
  • Users' score: 6.7 (3 votes)
Aerosmith: Done With Mirrors
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Sound — 7
The early to mid 1980s were a sketchy period of time for Aerosmith. Drugs plagued key members and differences surfaced, thus leading to the departure of Joe Perry and Brad Whitford. After some time, a new record label signing (to Geffen), and the wholly unsuccessful predecessor "Rock In a Hard Place", 1985 allowed Aerosmith to release their intended comeback album, "Done With Mirrors", with the original line-up restored. This album significantly sticks out to me, when compared to Aerosmith's extensive catalogue of classics. I think the one key thing that has always turned me off of Aerosmith was the over-exposure of their songs by the media, albeit I knew they were talented. "Done With Mirrors" was left alone by media because Aerosmith did not take the action of recording music videos for the lot of the singles released. This album features the abrasive rocking style carried over from the legacy they established in the 1970s, but was pleasantly left alone by executives and starving media moguls, making it much easier for me to listen to. As for specificity, the album features some tasteful slide guitar and some impressive leads evidenced in "She's On Fire." This is probably my favorite song on the album. To me, it's the only song with a solid melody and a decent attempt at going back to Aerosmith's roots. Other than that, a few minor setbacks could be defined in Perry's sloppy and sometimes unconventional guitar work, and the shotty production. In some spots, it makes me question: "Is this really a Geffen record?" Don't let that deter you, though. With time, you'll find this to be a particularly rocking record.

Lyrics — 5
No true concept. No complex meaning. No deep and thought provoking lyrics. Just typical in-your-face rock n' roll. The title in itself is conceptual though. "Done With Mirrors" on the albums art, in addition to every other piece of text on the album, can only be properly read when held up to a mirror, thus meaning that it is 'done with mirrors.' Furthermore, in lieu of the band kicking the cocaine habit (cocaine was traditionally snorted off of a mirror) the band also made it a double entendre that they were also finished with using, thus being 'done with mirrors' in that sense as well. Almost all of the lyrics were written by Steven Tyler, with the exception of Perry's piece, "Let the Music Do the Talking", which became the album's biggest hit, and the album opener. In a way, "let the music do the talking" is also an accurate way to begin the album because the music itself can tell you more about this album far better than any of the lyrics can. Sub-par work from Tyler and the gang, overall.

Overall Impression — 7
This album tends to be disowned by most Aerosmith fans, but I will always appreciate it. It marked the return of the original line-up, and I don't think any of us could stomach another "Rock In a Hard Place." Without this transition phase of Aerosmith, who knows if we'd ever see them succeed again? This album is obviously needed in any loyal Aerosmith fan's collection, but if you're just a casual listener, I would not bother too much. If you look past the intense lack of commercial appeal it has, you'll find at least one thing enjoyable about this record. It's decent.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    milliorn
    I personally think this album is better than any album they released after Get a Grip. They don't even write there lyrics or music anymore since that album which is why they don't sound the same either. Plenty of youtube videos with Joe and Steve saying they practice this god awful industry method.
    w77yyz
    Let The Music Do The Talkin' was a cover from Joe Perry's first solo. ST tried to style it up a bit with his vocals but came up short. The original is better. The whole album just seems to come up short in all areas - nothing memorable lyrically or musically. Not bad, but nothing great. Darkness is one track that I'll still play. Nonetheless, Done With Mirrors is still better than the honky-tonk crap they started churning out in the 90's and beyond.
    voodrew
    One of the hardest things about loving Aerosmith is the dissapointment caused when they release music that doesn't come close to the standards they set when they are firing on all cylinders. Done in Mirrors is the worst Aerosmith record, right behind Taste of India. Unless you are trying to complete your Aerosmith collection stay away.
    Tarsplitter
    voodrew wrote: One of the hardest things about loving Aerosmith is the dissapointment caused when they release music that doesn't come close to the standards they set when they are firing on all cylinders. Done in Mirrors is the worst Aerosmith record, right behind Taste of India. Unless you are trying to complete your Aerosmith collection stay away.
    I might've taken this seriously but there isn't such an album as "Taste of India" by Aerosmith. Credibility to zero...