Sick as a Dog

Song Review by

This track from Rocks is a great example of the potent album tracks that flesh out that album. The lyrics of "Sick as a Dog" have an unusually ambivalent tone for an Aerosmith song, portraying a man in pursuit of a woman he seems to love and hate all at once: in the verses he's pleading "you're the only friend I got," but in the chorus he is putting her down with phrases like "you really ain't that young." A desperate sort of tension infuses the lyric and this carries over to the melody: the word "please," which begins each stanza of each verse, is elongated to accentuate the pleading tone of the verse, but the choruses take on a darker, lower sound where the melody moves fast to give the words a spat-out feel. Aerosmith's recording of the song is carefully layered: after starting with a stately but mournful tapestry of guitar riffs, the group follows a chugging rhythm where the bass and guitars create densely intertwined rhythms that forcefully push along the song's narrative. The result is a rocker that is both musically and lyrically complex and a fine example of why Aerosmith's singular take on hard rock remains fresh.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Rocks 1976 Columbia 4:12
No Image 1994 Sony Music Distribution 4:42