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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Devil's Got A New Disguise' (Columbia)
Artist - Aerosmith

OK people, let's do a little math. Over the course of their career, Aerosmith have released fourteen "proper" albums. There are also five official live albums (1. Live Bootleg, 2. Classics Live I, 3. Classics Live II, 4. A Little South of Sanity, 5. Rockin' the Joint.) Meanwhile, not including various repackaging schemes, re-releases, and international items, there are currently nine Aerosmith compilation albums on the market. (1. Greatest Hits, 2. Gems, 3. Pandora's Box, 4. Big Ones, 5. Box of Fire, 6. Young Lust, 7. O Yeah, 8. Gold, 9. Devil's Got a New Disguise.) Add those compilations to the live albums and you get fourteen "retrospective" releases. So Aerosmith and their record companies have managed to squeeze fourteen retrospectives out of fourteen original albums. A pretty impressive feat, if you think about it. But it's obvious what the true fan should really spend his or her money on, if you disdain market saturation and contractual fulfillments.

The recent compilations favor the overblown blues/soul orchestrations of the latter phase of the band's career (late 80s to present), while giving short shrift to the well-toned heavy rock of the classic years (up to the late 70s) and completely ignoring the lost years (late 70s to mid 80s). If you're partial to the hard rockin' classic years, then for a useful overview you still can't do any better than the short and snappy Greatest Hits from 1980. Or just buy all the proper albums from that period, which would be infinitely more rewarding than these useless modern compilations. As for this new Devil's Got a New Disguise release, the song selection is nearly identical to the O Yeah collection from just four years ago, with the obligatory so-called bonus tracks to supposedly make the purchase worthwhile. Here, "Sedona Sunrise" is actually rather unique for the band's recent history, but there's a reason the two bonus tracks were previously unreleased. One could certainly blame the record companies for regurgitating all these quickie compilations, but some fault also lies with the band, who have diluted their legacy by allowing these repetitive retrospectives to be released, as easy ways to fulfill contracts. If you're really into Aerosmith, just commit some money to all of those fourteen original albums. After all, there's as many of those as there are retrospectives, and the originals are where the action really is.