Album Review: ‘Music From Another Dimension’ by Aerosmith
Aerosmith has been performing, touring, and making records on and off since the 70’s. These guys have been around when bands like Led Zeppelin and Queen were still active. That was ages ago! Yet these days, even mentioning bands like Aerosmith may seem comical to some. But if you credit and cite everything they have done in the recording industry, these guys shouldn’t be taken lightly and assumed by some to be an “old act” who can’t anymore deliver. Because while trends in music come and go, the formula the band has followed has remained mostly intact and faithful to their rock beginnings.
Even before I purchased their latest album, there has been a few songs of Aerosmith that I have always been particularly fond of such as ‘Janie’s Got A Gun’, ‘Living On The Edge’, and ‘Dream On’. Everyone has his own personal favorites. Aerosmith has been making music together for more than 40 years! The fact that they are still the same five principal members is no small miracle in itself by Rock N’ Roll standards. That is a rarity, and even somewhat of an oddity, because no matter how much in-fighting, internal squabbles with management, and drug abuse have taken place, these five guys find a way to set personal differences aside long enough in the recording studio and during live performances.
“Music From Another Dimension” is Aerosmith’s fifteenth studio album and the newest one in more than a decade consisting of all-new original material. This studio album marks a new milestone reached by the band. The funny thing is that as I was inquiring about the album in a record store, the saleslady thought it was a “Greatest Hits” album of the band. That, too, crossed my mind for a second, because admittedly the last album I purchased of Aerosmith was in the early 2000’s.
Owning an album of Aerosmith which is composed entirely of new material is a welcome surprise for any music aficionado who is well aware of the band’s long history and career highlights. With such a lengthy time gone by, of course, the expectations are quite high as fans would view this album as the band’s attempt to reclaim their former glory and a return to their 90’s sound. Furthermore, if their contract with Columbia Records doesn’t get renewed or they don’t get signed by any other major record label, then this very well could be the last album we will hear from the Boston quintet. If that is the case, then what an album this is, indeed! After all, Steven Tyler is already in his 60’s. Yet for a singer with his signature style of high pitched singing, rasps and screaming–this would have taken a toll by now and caused damage to the vocal chords. Do I know any other 64 year-old hard-rock singer whose voice quality has remained relatively unchanged ? No, I don’t . Perhaps he may be the only one around.
Steven Tyler’s career as the lead singer of Aerosmith got a jumpstart and renewed “life” eversince he had his 2-year stint as a judge in American Idol. That became his exposure for a lot of young viewers and kids who haven’t heard of his name before, although I am quite sure that some of these kids’ parents were familiar with Tyler and Aerosmith and may have told stories about them to their kids. The PG stuff only and not their exploits that made them infamous during the band’s height of popularity in the 70’s to 80’s.
The fact is, Aerosmith is more Rock n Roll than most bands are. You speak of the Rock n Roll lifestyle–these guys lived it, survived it, and have come out as true ambassadors of rock! They are one of the last active Rock n’ Roll greats. Therefore, it is with much excitement that I will get to review the latest offering from the legendary Boston quintet, Aerosmith.
Here is my review of the BEST TRACKS of “Music From Another Dimension”.
Track.2 – ‘LUV XXX’- As soon as you get past the “Twlight Zone” style intro, indeed, you are taken for a ride and thrown back to another dimesnion or more appropriately, to another decade. The 90’s. ‘LUV XXX’ sounds more like a song from the band’s album “Get A Grip”. Its gritty and raunchy with its drum style, Joe Perry’s guitar riff , and a bass line that is audible to the ear. The lyrics are somewhat lacking but the instrumentation does make up for them. An attenton-grabbing, strong opener!
Track.3 – ‘Beautiful’- The unique singing/rapping style highlights the vocals of Steven Tyler, combined with the agressive guitar riff of Joe Perry. A relatable stand-out track if you were familiar with their albums in the 90’s. Speaking of that decade–and this is worth mentioning–the band has covered four decades with this album when it comes their music style. It is just a matter of choosing which track best suits your taste.
Track.5 – ‘Out Go The Lights’- As I first was listening to this track, I realized that this doesn’t sound at all like any of the albums I have of them in the 90’s. This was way earlier stuff, that required a lot of digging through, and a bit of research to find songs in their lengthy catalog of work which would match up to this. This is a meaty, bluesy, and a sure-fire hit with their most loyal of fans. In my opinion, this is the quintesssential classic 70’s Aerosmith.
Track.6 – ‘Legendary Child’- This was the first single released as a teaser when the album wasn’t available yet in stores. The bluesy guitar riff By Joe Perry, and the simple yet effective lyrics by Steven Tyler, remind me why they are one of the best rock duos in the history of Rock n Roll music. More than its sense of nostalgia, the craftsmanship displayed here, elevates it to a “must-listen-to”. Although it would have been perfect to have had more songs in the album sound this way and approached in this manner, at least they got this song in there. There is still a lot left in the tanks of Aerosmith and ‘Legendary Child’ is proof of that. This is my choice to be the best track in the entire album.
Track.7 – ‘What Could Have Been Love’- A ballad that is layered with electric and acoustic guitars. Steven Tyler’s choice of lyrics here is one of the best in the entire album. Even his verse–and not only the chorus section–is fantastic. But this track is so reminiscent of their first Number 1 hit ever–that is, ‘I Dont Wanna Miss A Thing’. If you hated that song, this track, then, is not for you. But if you want to hear the sentimental side of Steven Tyler once more, take a listen.
Track.9 – ‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’- The country style vocals of Steven Tyler with guest artist Carrie Underwood combine well. A syrupy ballad that doesn’t take the edge off the album. It merely diversifies it. The slick production makes this a perfect choice to become a single. American Idol audiences would be pleased with this track, especially if you are a fan of country-pop superstar Carrie Underwood. Steven Tyler did make some valuable friends during his stint at American Idol. If there are fans who insist that Aerosmith doesn’t experiment with their sound or try other genres, aside from hard-rock, this is the track for you.
“Music From Another Dimension” doesn’t quite live up to the level that classics like “Toys In The Attic” has made. However this is up there in the rankings of the best studio-albums Aerosmith has released in many years. Definitely a major improvement compared to their 2001 release: “Just Push Play” in terms of the songwriting, instrumentation, and production value. Some of the tracks of “Music From Another Dimension” are “pop-glossy” and select tracks are left gritty and raw.
Only the “magic touch” of acclaimed Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas can pull this off as he is responsible “behind the boards” for the greatest albums of Aerosmith in their heyday. Again, this might be the last studio-album that Aerosmith will ever release given the circumstances they are currently facing with Columbia Records and some health issues with Steven Tyler. Needless to say, this is a “MUST-BUY” album for any Aerosmith fan! Welcome back Aerosmith!
My Final Verdict: 9/10.