Deep Cuts: Aerosmith, "Seasons Of Wither" (1974)

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Familiar band, not-so-familiar song.

But perhaps it should be more familiar. Sinister, sophisticated and beautiful in a evocative way, “Seasons Of Wither” represented a major advancement in the maturation of the then-fledgling band. In a time dominated by the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith served notice that they’ll tip their hat to those superstar bands of gritty rock, but they weren’t going to kneel at their alters (as in the way the heroes of Wayne’s World paid homage to this band decades later).

“Seasons” was first introduced to the world buried in Aerosmith’s 2nd album, 1974’s Get Yor Wings, which followed their first hit “Dream On” (from the self-titled debut) in chronological sequence, but that song didn’t really blossom on the airwaves for more than another year. Consequently, Wings never really took off because their breakthrough didn’t happen until the following release Toys In The Attic.

It’s too bad, too, because Aerosmith really came on their own, here. Never was there a stronger, more varied set of songs and it’s here that the band transcended blues-rock without ever really abandoning it. From the funky struttin’ of “Lord Of The Thighs” to the spirited blooz of “Train Kept A’Rollin'”, everything that made Aerosmith one of America’s most beloved hard rocking bands was contained on these sides.

But the highlight amidst all the highlights begins with an ominous arpeggiated acoustic guitar figure comes into focus as the crowd noise that ends “Train” fades out. The extended instrumental into the first statement of electric guitar-led chorus, then it’s back to that arpeggio figure but in the form of a truly dark four chord progression.

It’s here where Steve Tyler enters with some aching and yet subdued vocals:

Loose hearted lady
Sleepy was she
Love for the devil
Brought her to me
Seeds of a thousand
Drawn to her sin
Seasons of wither
Holdin me in

Tyler continues to sing in a low voice until he soars on the refrain-concluding “take the wind right out of your sails” line. The next chorus is joined by a multi-tracked single note backing wordless vocals—almost like a Gregorian chant. Pretty creepy sounding, if you ask me, and a nice touch added presumably from producer Jack Douglas.

Following that last chorus, Joe Perry finally emerges with a very brief statement on lead guitar before returning to the same lines that opened the song. And there’s a sign of that maturation: the song got it’s morbidity across without needing to punch you in the gut with a generous helping of Perry’s or Brad Whitford’s heavy metal guitar attack. Instead, they wisely reigned themselves in and let the melody’s distinctively mournful mood stay at front and center.

Tyler, who wrote “Seasons Of Wither” without Perry’s help this time, calls it his favorite song of the entire Aerosmith oeuvre. There’s plenty good reason to agree with him.

Listen: Aerosmith “Seasons Of Wither”

Purchase: Aerosmith Get Your Wings

“One Track Mind” is a more-or-less weekly drool over a single song selected on a whim and a short thesis on why you should be drooling over it, too.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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