Album Review: Aerosmith ‘Music From Another Dimension’

From the intro this almost seems to want to be a concept album, but the auditory wow-factor of moving sound from one ear to the other is not exactly cutting edge at this stage in the history of rock music. It’s Aerosmith’s first record in more than a decade and the introduction feels like it was phoned in.

But this isn’t an album trying to be different. If ‘Luv XXX’ comes from another dimension, it’s 1979, and that’s a good place to be if you’re Aerosmith. It’s a catchy enough classic rock tune with some cute and clever lyrics, and it highlights one area in which this record absolutely shines: the riffs. Joe Perry captures everything that made Aerosmith objectively superior to their contemporaries. The guitar on this track is menacing and lethal, and for much of the record it stays on point.

It’s disappointing however that many of Music From Another Dimension’s songs feel extremely generic. ‘Tell Me’ is the fourth track, and the first to feature what seems to be a truly heartfelt and passionate Steven Tyler, who never again manages that feat without tiptoeing a step too far off the deep end of an olympic-sized swimming pool full of cheese.

‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’ with Carrie Underwood is a nice enough song, but doesn’t seem to fit very well here. It’s hard to imagine that anybody but Steven Tyler thought this song was a good idea, but it’s that delicate balance– or even tug-of-war– that has always seen Aerosmith hit the top of the charts. They manage to include moments or entire songs like this one, which can bring in new audiences, then seem to work to make up for it for the rest of the record, maintaining at least some of their rock cred.

‘Legendary Child’ is some sort of amalgamation of their back catalog, as the band pays tribute to itself unabashedly, but it’s fun and meant to be a little indulgent. This along with ‘Lover Alot’ make up the album’s lead singles, the latter being a churning and momentous tune that ultimately fails to approach the kind of epic rock moments Aerosmith was known for early in their run. All of the ingredients are here, and these songs will pass the test of inspiring drumming on many a steering wheel, but what would be filler in the past now seem to be the highlights.

‘We all Fall Down’ tries a little too hard to be the inspirational ballad, suffering from the sort of generic and almost cringe-inducing lyrics which plague the whole of the record. “Rain” rhymes with “pain”, and “all go wrong” with “always be strong”, but one has to think that Aerosmith could probably do a little better.

‘Freedom Fighter’ brings a southern rock vibe to the show, which did grab my interest at first, but the song didn’t end up going anywhere. It’s all buildup with no payoff, and that’s another issue with Music From Another Dimension. Or, maybe it’s all payoff with no buildup, but either way it gets to feel a little too one-dimensional, which changes the context of the title a little bit.

This is a solid collection for fans, but not much more than that. There is nothing specific that is missing from the package, but there is also nothing particularly compelling or new here to enjoy or be surprised by.

Release Date: November 6, 2012
Image Courtesy of Columbia