Music From Another Dimension!

Aerosmith

Columbia, 2012

http://www.aerosmith.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/20/2013

Oh dear God. A song titled "Luv XXX" and an album called Music From Another Dimension!? This is what we waited 13 years for?

The other dimension in question appears to be 1989, when cavernous drums, layers of guitar overdubs, and loud splashy production ruled the day. Aerosmith was on top of the heap with Pump during that time, and their latest effort tends to recall that one in sound and style.

Quick backstory: this is the first Aerosmith album in 10 years and the first one of originals since 2001's underwhelming Just Push Play. What makes it annoying is the hype that kept surrounding this. We were promised a new album in 2008, then '09, then American Idol and infighting and rehab and such kept popping up. The new album dropped in 2012 to almost no fanfare, and nobody that I spoke with knew or cared that it was coming out.

And while it's not nearly as good as it should be, it's not half bad either. Yes, there are seven ballads. Yes, it is filled with loud, overproduced songs with buried hooks. Yes, there are many looks back and few nods to originality. There's even a point where Steven Tyler rasps, "I think it's time to realize it's done," and although he's talking about a relationship, he may as well be talking about his band. There is little left to say.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But that's not to diminish the effort on the songs that work, and there are plenty enough that fans should at least give this a spin. By fans, of course, I mean those who came on board in the late ‘80s. Those who know Aerosmith from the mid ‘70s will find little to care about, but to be fair, the band forgot them years ago once they started making videos with Alicia Silverstone.

"Out Go The Lights" is a long, multi-part song with a great harmonica and guitar solo and female backup singers – not terribly cohesive but fun all the same. "Legendary Child" and "Street Jesus" feature great vocal hooks and solid guitar work (welcome back, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford); the former is a nod to the band's history, while the latter is musically a nod to Toys In The Attic.

"Oh Yeah" has a bit of 2001-ish thumping garage rock feel to it, à la the Hives, and it's one of the few songs that sounds organic instead of overproduced. "Shakey Ground" is a revelation, a funky strut unlike nearly anything in the Aero catalog. "Lover Alot" is not half bad either, with a bit of attitude left over from the Rocks era, and Joe Perry gets to shine on a couple of numbers, especially the grungy "Freedom Fighter," even if his singing is average at best.

Those who love Aerosmith for the ballads are all set because they clog up a lot of the run time on this disc. "Tell Me" is decent, but "Another Last Goodbye," "Closer" and "What Could Have Been Love" are superfluous and don't offer anything we haven't already heard. "We All Fall Down" and "Can't Stop Lovin' You" are the worst offenders, the latter being a country power ballad sung with Carrie Underwood. Awful, but maybe they would play well on Idol, and if that's the point, then the Aerosmith of 1976 should kick the asses of Aerosmith in 2012. It should be noted that Diane Warren and Desmond Child helped write a couple of those ballads, which explains why they blow.

It shouldn't have taken 12 years to churn this bad boy out. The problem is that the rock songs, as good as they are, really don't grab the listener the way the best of Aerosmith does. They sound good as they play, but they don't stick in the memory, nor do you feel the need to return to them that often. So, Music From Another Dimension! ends up as a decent album, not as bad as Just Push Play or Get A Grip, but only offering a handful of rewards for the 70 minute run time. This was definitely not worth the 12 year wait.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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