Aerosmith: Steven Tyler (vocals, mandolin, harmonica, keyboards); Joe Perry (guitar, dulcimer, background vocals); Brad Whitford (guitar); Tom Hamilton (bass guitar); Joey Kramer (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Run-D.M.C. (rap vocals).
Liner Note Author: Geri Miller.
The 2005 release Gold is a repackaging of the 2001 double-disc collection Young Lust, bearing a different title and cover but the same 34 songs as the previous release. While Young Lust had more distinctive, arguably more attractive, cover art -- the new compilation fits into the overall look of Universal's Gold series, which is meant to be a thorough complement to their budget-line 20th Century Masters series -- that's the only difference between the two compilations, so it's only useful to fans who didn't already pick up the earlier set. And for those fans, this remains a pretty good, but not perfect, overview of latter-day Aerosmith, containing hits, album tracks, concert favorites, rarities, non-LP B-sides, and cuts only available on compilations. This approach doesn't work perfectly -- there are a few album cuts that aren't particularly distinctive, plus live material at the end that feels extraneous. More importantly, certain hits aren't here in their hit versions: the acoustic version of "Livin' on the Edge," the orchestral version of "Amazing," a live "Falling In Love (Is Hard on the Knees)" (not to mention the live performances of Columbia classics "Dream On" and "Sweet Emotion"). That said, this still fulfills its goals pretty nicely, offering an in-depth summary of Aerosmith's comeback, which indeed wasn't limited to just the hits; cuts like "Hangman Jury," "Monkey on My Back," "Blind Man," and especially the non-LP "Deuces Are Wild" are proof that the group was revitalized during this time, only starting to run out of steam around 1993's Get a Grip. Much of the best of this time is available here, but the collection feels a little off, probably because there is so much material in such a concentrated burst, which is not only a little tiring, but the density brings the weaknesses to the forefront in a way such tight albums as Pump couldn't; but it still does offer a lot, even if it doesn't have all that it should. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine