Big Ones serves up the hits and nothing but the hits; Aerosmith's excellent debut for Geffen, Done with Mirrors, is conveniently overlooked. So what's left is some of the finest mainstream hard rock of the late '80s and early '90s -- the fruits of one of the most remarkable comebacks in rock & roll history. Unfortunately, there's precious little of the classic Aerosmith raunch; in fact, the two new tracks are the hardest, slinkiest tracks here. Otherwise, the up-tempo tracks bog down in over-production ("Love in an Elevator"), and the frequently embarrassingly overwrought power ballads ("Angel" and "Crazy") dominate too much of the album. So what's left? The band's best stab at social commentary ("Janie's Got a Gun"), a sublime slinky throwaway ("Deuces Are Wild"), deliciously sleazy blues-rockers ("Rag Doll," "[Dude] Looks Like a Lady"), and their best ballads ("What It Takes" and "Cryin'").
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi