Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Aerosmith: Rocks [Columbia, 1976]
Dave Hickey compares the teen crossover of the year to a Buick Roadmaster, and he's right--they've retooled Led Zeppelin till the English warhorse is all glitz and flow, beating the shit out of Boston and Ted Nugent and Blue Oyster Cult in the process. Wish there were a lyric sheet--I'd like to know what that bit about J. Paul Getty's ear is about--but (as Hickey says) the secret is the music, complex song structures that don't sacrifice the basic 4/4 and I-IV-V. A warning, though: Zep's fourth represented a songmaking peak, before the band began to outgrow itself, and the same may prove true for this lesser group, so get it while you can. A-