Done with Mirrors

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Done with Mirrors
Aerosmith Done With Mirrors.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 4, 1985 (1985-11-04)[1]
RecordedEarly 1985
Studio
GenreHard rock
Length35:42
LabelGeffen
ProducerTed Templeman
Aerosmith chronology
Rock in a Hard Place
(1982)
Done with Mirrors
(1985)
Permanent Vacation
(1987)
Singles from Done with Mirrors
  1. "Let the Music Do the Talking"
    Released: September 16, 1985
  2. "Shela"
    Released: October 31, 1985
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic [2]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[3]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal7/10[4]
Kerrang![5]
Rolling Stone(unfavorable)[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[7]
The Daily VaultA[8]

Done with Mirrors is the eighth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released on November 4, 1985.[1] It marked the return to the band of guitarists Joe Perry, who left in 1979 and Brad Whitford, who departed in 1981. The band's first album on Geffen Records, it was intended as their ‘comeback’. However, the record didn’t live up to commercial expectations despite positive reviews.

Background[edit]

"Let the Music Do the Talking" was a rerecording of the title track from first album by the Joe Perry Project, with altered lyrics and melody.

Brad Whitford revealed that producer Ted Templeman wanted to capture the band's aggressive, "out of control freight train" sound by removing the red light indicating that recording was underway (a technique he had used to capture Van Halen's sound). Templeman told the band to run through the songs in the studio and recorded them without their knowledge. Whitford referred to the nerves generated when knowingly recording songs as "the red light blues".

"I had a great time making that record," Templeman told The Washington Post's Geoff Edgers” and Steven was one of the most amazing guys. But we had to do that record in Berkeley because they didn’t want those guys to score (drugs). They didn’t want them to be in L.A. or San Francisco. I wasn’t familiar with the board. As a producer, if you know your room and the mic preamps, you know how things are going to sound. I don’t think I made Joey’s drums sound as good as they could have or Joe’s guitar."[9]

On VH1 Classic's That Metal Show, Joey Kramer expressed his dislike of Done with Mirrors, claiming the band "never really finished it".[10]

Joe Perry was similarly dismissive: "Done with Mirrors, as far as I'm concerned, is our least inspired record. But I've heard fans really like it so I'm not gonna stand there and tell 'em, 'No, it sucks.' We had to do that record to get to the next one so it served its purpose. I just don't think it's up to the standard of some of our others."[11][12]

Viacom (MTV & VH1) executive Doug Herzog recalled that, after this album, "Aerosmith was done… They were a little bit of a joke."[9] However, they would revive their career in 1986 with a landmark remake of 1975's "Walk This Way" with hip-hop group Run DMC, followed by an album that would eventually go 5× Platinum – Permanent Vacation – in 1987.

Despite the band's views, this album earned mostly positive reviews and is a cult favorite among fans.[13]

To date, Done with Mirrors is the last Aerosmith record written without the aid of outside songwriters.

Packaging and title[edit]

In keeping with the title, all the text (bar the catalog number and UPC) on the original releases were written back-to-front – to be read by holding it to a mirror. Rereleases flip the artwork so it can be read without a mirror, and add the band's logo. As a result, the original CD (which came in a longbox) is collectable. (All text in the booklet of the first CD pressing is also back-to-front.)

The title refers both to illusions that are "done with mirrors", and the laying out of drugs such as cocaine, traditionally snorted off a mirror.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Let the Music Do the Talking"Joe Perry3:48
2."My Fist Your Face"Steven Tyler, Perry4:23
3."Shame on You"Tyler3:22
4."The Reason a Dog"Tyler, Tom Hamilton4:13
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Shela"Tyler, Brad Whitford4:25
2."Gypsy Boots"Tyler, Perry4:16
3."She's on Fire"Tyler, Perry3:47
4."The Hop"Tyler, Hamilton, Joey Kramer, Perry, Whitford3:45
All CD, cassette and certain vinyl pressings
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
9."Darkness"Tyler3:43
Total length:35:42

Personnel[edit]

Aerosmith

Production

  • Ted Templeman – producer
  • Jeff Hendrickson – engineer, mixing
  • Tom Size, Gary Rindfuss, Stan Katayama – assistant engineers
  • Howie Weinberg – analog mastering engineer at Masterdisk, New York
  • Ken Caillat – digital mastering
  • Joan Parker – production coordinator
  • Kent Ayeroff – album cover concept
  • Norman Moore – art direction and design
  • Jim Shea – photography
  • John Kalodner – A&R

Charts[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
position
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[14] 72
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[15] 41
US Billboard 200[16] 36

Certification[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[17] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "AeroHistory: Done with Mirrors".
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "A". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved August 16, 2020 – via robertchristgau.com.
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin (November 1, 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5.
  5. ^ Russell, Xavier (November 1985). "Smith's Krisp". Kerrang!. No. 107. London, UK: Morgan Grampian. pp. 18–19.
  6. ^ Guterman, Jimmy (1985-12-05). "Done With Mirrors". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  7. ^ Kot, Greg. "Aerosmith - Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  8. ^ Thelen, Christopher (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : Done with Mirrors". dailyvault.com. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  9. ^ a b Edgers, Geoff (May 18, 2016). "The inside story of when Run‑DMC met Aerosmith and changed music forever". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  10. ^ "That Metal Show Season 3 Episode 8: Ratt". That Metal Show. VH1. 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2011-09-01.
  11. ^ Yates, Henry (February 2015). "Heavy Load". Classic Rock. No. 206. p. 138.
  12. ^ Epting, Chris. "Joe Perry Reveals Which Aerosmith Albums He's Not a Fan Of (Exclusive)". Noisecreep. AOL. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  13. ^ "How Aerosmith Got Their Wings Back on 'Done with Mirrors'".
  14. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0621". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22April 2018.
  15. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  16. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Aerosmith – Done with Mirrors". Recording Industry Association of America.

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Templeman, Ted; Renoff, Greg (2020). Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer's Life In Music. Toronto: ECW Press. pp. 387–94, 404–6. ISBN 9781770414839. OCLC 1121143123.