Classic Rock Review

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Aerosmith Music From Another Dimension (2012)

91R4GEGAJNL__SL1500_From amazon.com

Let’s face it – we will never get another A+ Aerosmith album like “Rocks” or “Pump.” The band is too fractured for that, and it’s nothing short of a miracle that after years of failed attempts we saw a new album at all. And with the possible exception of Rush, it’s damn near impossible to find a band who makes music 40+ years into their career that ranks among their very best work.

That being said, “Music From Another Dimension” has a 45-minute album’s worth of material that ranks from pretty good to quite good. What does the remaining 25 minutes suffer from? Overwrought balladry and Joe Perry’s lead vocals. And while much of the album rocks hard, there’s also an unfortunate lack of big rock hooks, which is really what prevents this album from ranking among the band’s best. But this didn’t need to be their best to still be pretty damn good.

“LUV XXX” starts things off right. It’s pure sexy rock with a great groove and one of the album’s better hooks, and would be a welcome set opener for the supporting tour. It’s likely no coincidence that the writing credits read simply “Tyler/Perry,” and one can only help wonder what kind of album this may have been if all songs carried similar credits.

“Oh Yeah”, penned solely by Joe Perry, continues the rock & roll party, and let’s all thank Steven Tyler for insisting that he sing the lead vocals instead of Joe (more on that later). On “Beautiful”, it’s evident that the band came to the table with the verses while an outside writer brought in the chorus, but it works. And “Tell Me”, penned entirely by bassist Tom Hamilton and carrying a noticeable Beatles influence, has the distinction of being one of the album’s only enjoyable ballads.

Over the next six tracks, we see the blend of near-greatness and mediocrity that modern-day Aerosmith has become known for. “Out Go the Lights” and “Legendary Child” share not only a melody but also a sense of raw rock & roll fun, and rank as two of the album’s best tracks (sadly, the latter is an outtake from nearly 20 years ago). “Street Jesus” and “Lover A Lot” are right up there, too, with the former serving as one of the band’s most energetic blasts of rock boogie since the 70’s.

But then we have “What Could Have Been Love”, a largely outside-written melodramatic ballad that’s basically a rewrite of “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” mixed with Jourey’s “Open Arms”, and “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”, a country-fied duet with Carrie Underwood. The songs are practically interchangeable in their mediocrity, making you yearn for ballads that actually felt genuine (“What It Takes”, “Cryin”).

Unfortunately, the album never really recovers after this. Ballads “We All Fall Down” and “Another Last Goodbye” should have been shelved or saved for other projects, while Joe Perry’s rocking “Freedom Fighter” and psychedelic “Something” both suffer from his lead vocals.

Of the album’s last five tracks, only the mid-tempo “Closer” (with a rare songwriting credit to drummer Joey Kramer) is worthy of inclusion on the album. Oh, and deluxe-version bonus track “Sunny Side of Love” is much better than any of these songs. Couldn’t have one of the album’s many producers fought for its inclusion?

All its flaws considered, “Music From Another Dimension” is still a 3.5/5, B-grade album simply because there’s enough good material to latch onto, especially for anyone who didn’t want the lackluster “Just Push Play” or covers-only album “Honkin’ On Bobo” to be known as the band’s latest work. Overall this is a step back up for the band and one worth checking out.

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June 16, 2013 - Posted by | Aerosmith Music From Another Dimension |

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