MUSIC FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION
Released on November 6, 2012 (Columbia Records)
01. LUV XXX
02. Oh Yeah
04. Tell Me
05. Out Go The Lights
06. Legendary Child
07. What Could Have Been Love
08. Street Jesus
09. Can’t Stop Loving You
10. Lover Alot
11. We All Fall Down
12. Freedom Fighter
15. Another Last Goodbye
Japanese Bonus Tracks:
16. Shakey Ground
17. I’m Not Talkin’
Deluxe Edition Bonus Disc:
01. Up On The Mountain
02. Oasis In The Night
03. Sunny Side Of Love
Steven Tyler – vocals, harmonica and piano
Joe Perry – guitar and vocals
Brad Whitford – guitar and backing vocals
Tom Hamilton – bass and vocals
Joey Kramer – drums
Carrie Underwood – vocals (9)
Rick Dufay – rhythm guitar (16)
Desmond Child – piano (15)
Paul Santo – organ (14)
Rudy Tanzi – keyboards (14)
Julian Lennon – background vocals (1)
Laura Jones – background vocals (2)
Mia Tyler – backing vocals (3)
Russ Irwin – backing vocals (7)
Johnny Depp – background vocals (12)
Produced by Jack Douglas and Marti Frederiksen.
The Bad Boys from Boston are back after a long wait, and what a wait it was! There were rumors about band breaking up, drug use (not surprising when two of your most prominent band members were called the Toxic Twins in their heyday), solo albums, tell-all biographies, American Idol, etc. As lead vocalist Steven Tyler would say, ‘we were busy getting ready’.
But beware, if you are not a fan of Nine Lives/Just Push Play era Aerosmith then this CD might not be for you. Some songs have the swagger and stylings of their ’70s and early ’80s days, but most come from the same place that brought us “Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)”, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” and “Jaded”. For an Aerosmith fan like me that’s not a bad thing — for a fan hoping to get Toys In The Attic part 2, well… you’ll be disappointed, but then you are the only one to blame.
Music From Another Dimension starts off with a spoken intro by none other than longtime producer Jack Douglas, and heads face-first into the headbanging “LUV XXX” — apart from the silly title, this song rocks. Up next is the ’70s hard rock of “Oh Yeah”, which gets a lot of playtime on the recent Aerosmith tour, and is a great song that in my opinion could’ve easily fit on a ’70s album. “Beautiful” is one of my favorites, it’s a modern rock song, heavy on guitars, with rap-like verses and a psychedelic chorus where Tyler hits some high notes. Up next is the Tom Hamilton penned folk rock song “Tell Me”, which sounds like a cross between The Beatles and The Byrds. One of the two top hard rockers on this CD comes next in “Out Go The Light”, almost seven minutes of pure funk rock pleasure with great guitar riffs and female backing vocals. It is definitely a stand out and fans of every Aerosmith era will appreciate this song — no doubt about it. Next up is the first single, in my opinion one of the weaker tracks on Music From Another Dimension, the hard rocking “Legendary Child”. The second single and first of a few ballads “What Could Have Been Love” follows — I personally love this song as I am a big fan of the Geffen and Sony era Aerosmith, but I could understand people that are more into “You See My Crying”-styled ballads not liking this song. But if you like ballads such as “Just Feel Better” or “Luv Lies”, then you oughta dig this one. The other top rocker on this CD is “Street Jesus” — this riff rocker is also almost seven minutes long, and it doesn’t let up from start to finish — it’s got groove, it’s got style, it rocks hard and is another song that fans of any era will most definitely enjoy.
From this point on, Aerosmith start to experiment more. “Can’t Stop Loving You”, a duet with country star Carrie Underwood, is a great country-pop ballad but only if you are a fan of this kind of thing (otherwise you’re gonna hate it). The radio single “Lover Alot” is an up-tempo rock song that has already found its place in Aerosmith‘s setlist. The Diane Warren penned “We All Fall Down” took me a listen or two to get into it, but now I love it — it’s a great ballad that can be compared to Tyler‘s solo song “Love Lives”. The Joe Perry sung “Freedom Fighter” follows, and I’m loving it — this track sounds like it came from Steve Jones‘ ’80s solo album. It is a hard rock influenced song that deals with the theme of Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army — it’s very unusual for Aerosmith to have political lyrics, but it works and may be the best Joe Perry sung song ever. “Closer” is a mid-tempo rock ballad composed by drummer Joey Kramer that has a great groove and rhythm. “Something”, another Perry fronted song is, in my opinion, a take-it-or-leave-it kind of song because of its vocals. The music is great — the keyboards sound very Deep Purple-ish and the guitars are everywhere — but it would’ve been much better if Tyler was the lead vocalist as Perry‘s monotone voice doesn’t do the song justice. The regular CD ends with “Another Last Goodbye”, a stripped down piano ballad that fans of Aerosmith‘s 70’s ballads are gonna love. It’s a great song, and at the end Douglas provides us with a spoken outro to the CD.
On the deluxe edition of Music From Another Dimension we get three more songs. “Up On The Mountain” has, for the first time, Tom Hamilton on lead vocals and it’s a good and interesting rock song. Joe Perry is once again behind the microphone for the ballad “Oasis In The Night” before the deluxe edition closes with “Sunny Side Of Love”, a song in the style of “Lay It Down” and “Girls Of Summer”.
So how to summarize Music From Another Dimension? I’m loving it — it’s got a great flow and utilizes everything that made Aerosmith great in the latter part of their career. It’s more raw and rocking than Honkin’ On Bobo and Just Push Play, it’s got more songs than any other Aerosmith album, and it has the most ballads of any Aerosmith disc. That may be a downside to some, but on an 18 track CD you can stand five ballads… especially if they are good. You get funk and R&B on the CD’s two best songs “Out Go The Lights” and “Street Jesus”, pop in the ballads, a country duet, rock experimentation on “Beautiful”, fast rock songs, Tyler‘s trademark screams, lots of sexual innuendo, and the band ripping their instruments to shreds like Godzilla in Tokyo.
Fans of ’70s or ’80s Aerosmith won’t like this… but fans of Aerosmith will. Music From Another Dimension is the logical progression from their last few albums, and they are staying true to what they feel — I give them kudos for that. Instead of trying hard to write and record another Rocks or Night In The Ruts (and failing miserably in the process) they wrote what felt right for them. And this album has the most songs written without outside songwriters since Done With Mirrors, so think about that. I love this CD and have personally recommended it to everyone I know that is into modern Aerosmith and rock. And as a fan of this great band, I thank them for giving me, and their fans, another great album to listen to — and off I go to play it again!
Reviewed by Sleaze Glammer for Sleaze Roxx, November 2012