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The bad boys from Boston are back with their latest release Music From Another Dimension! November 6. This album marks an astounding fifteenth studio album and the first album of all new material since they released Just Push Play back in 2001. This is the longest gap between albums for Aerosmith. Apparently in the making since 2006, the band has gone through many ups and downs in this time frame, and I believe this album reflects it.
Music From Another Dimension! is frankly all over the map. It’s hard to put your thumb on this album. Maybe it’s so many years in the making that it’s hard to get a good flow of music going; maybe Aerosmith is simply trying to please everyone. In this album, Aerosmith I believe shows signs of each phase in their career. You have your hard rock that reflects back to fan favorite '70s Aerosmith, but then thrown in is some cheesy ballads that fit in to later Aerosmith. Of course later Aerosmith is solid as well; each phase of the band has its own place in the heart of fans. Some portions, you can see Aerosmith trying to push through and recapture their sound, but then some tracks find Aerosmith seeming to put out another crowd pleaser. They’ve of course earned the ability to mix out everything, but when all of it is captured and thrown onto one album, it can become a mess.
To fulfill the review, I suppose we can go with the good, the bad, and the interesting. The lead single off the album is “Legendary Child.” It sounds like they were maybe trying to recapture the sound of “Sweet Emotion.” It’s a decent song, and I suppose it holds its spot as the lead single because of the similar sound to the hit from so long ago, but I believe it is the most song fit for radio and possibly attracting new fans. However, it’s not the best that the album has to offer.
The best tracks off of Music From Another Dimension! are “Out Go The Lights” and “Street Jesus.” “Out Go the Lights” showcases the R&B infused rock that Aerosmith can pull off so well. It’s really the song off the album that I can get behind. It has that classic Aerosmith sound. While infusing a solid harmonica and Joe Perry guitar solo, this song is funky. It’s my opinion this track is the best that this album has to offer. “Street Jesus” is a solid tune. It starts off with a blues vibe, and then twists into a fast paced Aerosmith jam. This song takes you on a ride with its quick guitar riffs, along with Steven Tyler’s speed singing, accompanied with this powerful and exciting vibe, it’s a song to listen to a couple times. Unfortunately, outside these two songs, the rest fall off the map a little.
To the fans of a good Aerosmith ballad, the last track of the album, “Another Last Goodbye,” is worth a listen. While this album is filled with a couple cheesy ballads, this one stands out. Tyler pours his heart out into this one. It’s him and his piano, singing of heartbreak, but you can feel the emotion through his voice. Something unique about this song is that it’s not going to be a fan favorite, mostly because it’s not necessarily a song to sing-along to. This is a song that you just have to sit and listen to Tyler sing to you.
Along with some good songs, there are also plenty of forgettable ones. These ones you can pretty much bunch up together. These songs include, “What Could Have Been Love,” “Lover A lot,” “We All Fall Down,” and “Closer.” These songs aren’t worth a listen. They fall into boring and disposable, mostly cheesy.
The album has some unique portions to it too. “Can’t Stop Loving You” features Carrie Underwood, and while maybe they’re trying something new, or were just interested in working together, a country vibe gets put into an Aerosmith song and it just doesn’t work. Joe Perry steps up and takes the lead vocals on “Freedom Fighter” and “Something." While “Freedom Fighter” is a decent song, and actor Johnny Depp is involved in backup vocals, it’s nothing special otherwise. “Something” is simply out of place on the album.
Then there are simply tracks that fall into the middle area. Decent songs, but somewhat bland and don’t necessarily standout. These tracks include “LUVXXX,” “Oh Yeah,” “Beautiful,” and “Tell Me.”
Maybe it’s the different mentalities of Steven Tyler who aims to please and is always happy to try new things, and Joe Perry who wants to keep it real and rock and do what he does best. I find Music From Another Dimension! simply trying to do too much. With the variety of musical styles, sometimes conflicting, the album can become somewhat awkward to listen to. There are signs of classic Aerosmith in this album though, and that’s enough to keep listening. I believe if the album was cut down a few songs, it’d be more popular. With that said, I’d give the album 2.5 out of 5. Maybe Aerosmith’s only goal was to put a little bit of something for everyone on this album, in which case they may have succeeded. But the variety can be found to be a little overwhelming.
But hey, in reality, any Aerosmith is good Aerosmith. Give it a listen, and decide for yourself.
Aerosmith – “Out Go The Lights” :