Aerosmith’s soaring, grinding, hard-rock ballads are quintessential to the American pop-culture landscape.
What would Dazed and Confused be without Sweet Emotion ? Matthew McConaughey’s brooding, post-puberty nostalgia and frail cockiness would be far more pathetic without that song’s momentous rises, without Steven Tyler’s coarse, pumping vocals.
As much as Get A Grip in particular resonates with my high-school experiences, my first relationship, I could have done without Tyler’s unrehearsed, off-key, rambling rendition of God Bless America last night at Fenway Park.
How many times must singers, whether novices or old hands, trample on our patriotic melodies at major sporting events before they realize that the best performers simply lend their unique voices to simple, traditional arrangements?
Tyler provided no arrangement at all.
Jimmy Hendrix alone has maintained the spirit of the National Anthem while fundamentally changing it, but his sad guitar solo spoke to a greater patriotic sadness of the time.
Perhaps if Tyler had owned such purpose, such depth of emotion and openness of expression, his unseemly vocals would have seemed more appropriate.
As it happened, Tyler took this honor so lightly that he cavalierly shrugged and grinned his way off the field in all his aging, over-tanned, Oompa-Loompa-esque former glory.
Look, I love Steven Tyler’s work, but the man needs a band. Although I’m picking on what was a tremendous Opening Night in Boston, I still think someone in the front office should better vet these performers.
The next time everyone in the baseball universe has eyes on Fenway, we could use as much strangling-the-cat prevention as run prevention.
Another way to put it would be that, as underrated as the Red Sox run production apparently is, Steven Tyler’s musical production is equally overrated.