As Aerosmith's second album after their 1984 reunion, which spawned the critically panned DONE WITH MIRRORS, PERMANENT VACATION succeeds becuase it retains some of the rootsy grit of their seminal 1970's work (see AEROSMITH, GET YOUR WINGS, TOYS IN THE ATTIC and ROCKS. Vacation succesfully updates the sound of America's greatest riff machine without loosing site of their bare-knuckles core--a hallmark of all relaeses to follow. For some reason, when Steven Tyler sings about sex here it doesn't sound like the trite adolescent shtick of a married man desperately trying to be "one of the lads" (see PUMP, GET A GRIP, NINE LIVES etc.) PERMANENT VACATION unabashedly rocks. That is not to say that it is a complete classic. Although Rag Doll, Hearts Done Time, Simoriah, Hangman Jury and the title track salvage the album, the sacharine popiness of Angel and Dude!(Looks Like a Lady)--not to mention the buffed-to-a-sheen production values courtesy of Bruce Fairbairn--darg it down. It is obvious why PUMP is the critical favorite of "late Aerosmith's" big three (PERMANENT VACATION, PUMP and GET A GRIP). It's stylistcally advenurous, socially concious and sexual in a totally non-threatening manner. However, Aerosmith fans should ask themselves if this type of experimentalism is really what we want from Aerosmith (unless it involves new drug concoctions). One of Aerosmith's trademarks in their heyday was their eschewing of the pomposity of 70's progressive rock (Yes, ELP etc.) and metal (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple) for leaner, stonsier sound. PERMANENT VACATION retains much of this despite it sizable--and soon to explode--pop concessions. There can obviously be no full return to true Aerosmith (although Honking on Bobo takes a stab), but of their more recent material, this is about as good (and consistant) as it gets.