Release Date: Nov 6, 2012
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Arena Rock, Pop-Metal
And just like that, Steven Tyler's solo career seems like a strange dream we all had. The Aerosmith reunion album is the first collection of new tunes the bad boys from Boston have managed since 2001. Nobody knows why Aerosmith can't seem to do anything the easy way – you'd think these five guys could knock out an Aerosmith album in their sleep. (And it wouldn't be the first time they made a record that way.) But that's all just part of their long-running mystique as rock & roll's ultimate dysfunctional family.
Erstwhile American Idol sprite and life-long scarf enthusiast Steven Tyler tends to hog the spotlight, but Aerosmith’s first original disc in 11 years, Music From Another Dimension!, actually belongs to guitarist Joe Perry. His effortlessly supple brand of bar-stool blues dances equally well with the soul-drenched hip-shaker ”Out Go the Lights” and the punked-up juggernaut ”Street Jesus.’ And Perry’s low-key lead vocal turn on ”Freedom Fighter” provides just the right amount of yin to Tyler’s relentless horndog yang. B Out Go the LightsCan’t Stop Loving You .
"How can we miss you when you won't go away?" It's a question that sounds as if it could be the title of an Aerosmith power ballad co-written by Diane Warren, but it's a sentiment that also applies to the Boston quintet themselves. 2012's Music from Another Dimension! may be their first album in eight years -- and their first record of original material in over a decade! -- but the band has never been far from the headlines during those missing years, and not just because Steven Tyler screeched his way into America's homes as Simon Cowell's replacement on American Idol. Joe Perry, the Keith Richards to Tyler's Mick Jagger, never was happy about Tyler's leap to the small screen but it was just one of many interpersonal squabbles that bled their way into the public.
Aerosmith’s first studio album in over a decade, Music from Another Dimension, is really two albums. One comprises seven tracks of garden-variety Aerosmith filler, a high-cheese soundtrack in search of a film. The other is a good, almost classic American hard-rock album comprising eight tracks of the band at its very best. On “Out Go the Lights,” Joe Perry summons a monster riff and Tyler conjures his syncopated raunch with rib-bruising double entendres to match: “Liquor in the front/And poker in the back” is as pleasingly filthy as anything on Rocks.
Music From Another Dimension is Aerosmith’s first album in over a decade, and it’s full of ’70s hard rock riffs that reward every class of Aero-historian. Want Rocks? There’s the anxiety-volcano “Lover Alot”. Want Toys? Joe Perry’s “Street Jesus” is plucked right from the attic. Want Rock In A Hard Place? “Tell Me” is an articulate rendition of “Joanie’s Butterfly”.
Aerosmith spent much of the ’70s off their nuts, but still somehow made all-time classic ridiculous rock albums like ‘Rocks’. Plus, having bossed rap-rock with Run-DMC in the ’80s and dominated MTV in the ’90s, their legacy is assured. Those well-documented in-band rifts aside, this is the first proper noise they’ve made since 2001. Has it been worth the wait? Well, it sounds like Aerosmith, with plenty of hard-rocking blues swagger and lighters-aloft balladry, but most of the tunes are rubbish.
The random conceit on this umpteenth Aerosmith record, their first of original material in 11 years, is that the injury-prone, feuding rockers are beaming their music in from outer space. It's hard to avoid the impression that Aerosmith might indeed be phoning it in after 42 years, despite the cameos from Johnny Depp on Freedom Fighter and Julian Lennon on Luv XXX, and the recall of their 70s producer, Jack Douglas. "It sounds like dinosaurs eating cars," promises guitarist Joe Perry.
If 2012 has been a vintage year for elderly rock bands – ZZ Top, Rush and Kiss have returned with albums recalling their peaks – no one seems to have told Aerosmith the golden rule: make sure you remind your listeners of the 1970s. Instead, Music from Another Dimension! goes heavy on the insipid power ballads that characterised their commercial revival in the early 90s – thus country star Carrie Underwood is roped in to duet on Can't Stop Loving You. It all suggests the old joke about Noel Gallagher can work for Steven Tyler: he's released an album to promote his excellent new interview .
The Plan 9 from Outer Space-inspired sleeve art for Aerosmith’s 15th studio effort Music from Another Dimension! is a great pictorial representation of two commonly held beliefs about the band: one, they’re old, and two, even when they’re enjoyable, it’s not because their music is of immense quality. Given this is a fairly crude analogy, there are obvious differences. Whereas Plan 9‘s status as “the worst movie ever made” is legendary, the gold on Aerosmith’s Rock and Roll of Fame placard has lost some of its luster.
If there was one musical personality from the not too distant past (well, 11 years since the last album), one act that you’d hope would come back with something at least pleasantly eccentric (if not necessarily good), it would be Steve Tyler and Aerosmith. Whilst their MO has always been gratingly cheeky blues riffs and sugary torch songs they’ve also had the power to surprise, from a genuinely innovative collaboration with Run DMC to some genuinely excellent, if unhealthily saccharine, ballads (mostly from ‘Get A Grip’). Once in a while, Aerosmith can make you stop, don a pashmina and feel good.
AEROSMITH “Music From Another Dimension!” (Columbia) In a cowbell-thwacking song called “Out Go the Lights,” Steven Tyler, Aerosmith’s lead singer, spits out a phrase — “Déjà booty” — that could easily describe Aerosmith’s new album, “Music From Another Dimension!” It’s the first album of Aerosmith’s own songs since 2001, and with it the band aggressively reclaims every last one of its trademarks through the decades. Jack Douglas, who produced Aerosmith in the 1970s, returned as co-producer alongside Aerosmith’s longtime songwriting team, Mr. Tyler and the guitarist Joe Perry.