Thursday, December 27, 2012

RECORD REVIEW: Aerosmith "Music From Another Dimension!"

Music From 
Another Dimension!
(Columbia Records)

11 years after their
last full-length record
to feature all-new
material, Aerosmith
returns with an
offering that doesn't 
completely suck.
In fact, it's their
strongest effort in
nearly 20 years.

In his 2012 book, No Sleep 'Til Sudbury, author Brent Jensen discusses what I believe to be his spot-on theory of the two Aerosmiths:

"There is Old Aerosmith, and there is New Aerosmith. Old Aerosmith is that slutty Jezebel that would take you upstairs to deliver the groceries at the end of a sloppy late-night boozefest. New Aerosmith was the beautiful prom queen with great-smelling hair you were proud to bring home to Mom. Both got your rocks off, but one cut through the artifice and did it on a much more primal level." -Brent Jensen

It's funny that despite the enormous success achieved by the "prom queen" Aerosmith over the last 25 years, the band typically makes comparisons only to the "slutty" Aerosmith records when hyping an upcoming release. Hmm — at least the band still recognizes the undeniable street value of cool. But cool doesn't make your BMW payment — hence we're not likely to ever get another Toys in the Attic. (insert frowny face here)

"That slutty Jezebel"
Longtime Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas returns to join forces with Steven TylerJoe Perry and Marti Frederiksen — resulting in their most enticing effort since 1993's Get a Grip.

More of a group songwriting effort than their last couple of records, Music From Another Dimension! offers abundant killers and fillers. In fact, it likely would have been a snappy 40-minute record, but clocking in at over 60 minutes, it gets a bit bogged down along the way.

"Luv XXX" is a catchy, high energy Toxic Twins opener — one of the record's best. But c'mon — it's 2012. Enuff with the dopey '80s spellingz.

The latest from Aerosmith 
doesn't completely suck.
Joe Perry's "Oh Yeah" and the Tyler / Perry collaboration "Out Go the Lights" are both fabulously soulful — stanky and funky ditties reminiscent of the "slutty" Aerosmith — rock solid tracks that also serve as mighty highlights.

Written by Tyler, Perry and Jim Vallance, the lead single "Legendary Child" is edgy, fun and possesses considerably less cheese factor than most of Aerosmith's modern day chartbusters.

Following the tried and true "Crazy, Amazing, Crying" blueprint that brought the band incredible success during the '90s, "What Could Have Been Love" is almost great. However, the formulaic charm is now wearing thin. And although it's a well-written heartache anthem, the vocal could have just as easily been cut by any number of current country crooners. Performed with Carrie Underwood, "Can't Stop Loving You" is also a tremendous song. Given that the country music audience is the last remaining contingent still embracing humans who actually sing and play instruments, these two tracks certainly exemplify Walmart-like marketing savvy — but it's a concept that would have been unthinkable during the band's "slutty" era.

Would this Aerosmith have done
a tune with Carrie Underwood?
Less compelling tracks include the Tyler, Frederiksen, Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton  offering "Beautiful," and "We Fall Down" — a perfect example of Aerosmith simply trying too darn hard to still be cool. And had it been cut in 1975 or '76, before the Desmond Child / John Kalodner mandated band castration, "Another Last Goodbye" might have been truly epic — in the vein of "You See Me Crying" or "Home Tonight." But in 2012 it falls flat. Hey guys — you're Aeromith. You're the band that wrote "Lick and a Promise," "Uncle Salty" and "Lord of the Thighs" — you're already cool. Just relax and stop trying so hard.

But it's the Tyler / Perry / Whitford collective effort, "Street Jesus" that is perhaps the record's crowning jewel. Despite the awkward-fitting, minute-long intro and a very slight hint of Emmentaler, this one comes the closest to recapturing Aeromith's early gritty coolness.

In sum, Music From Another Dimension! bridges the gap successfully between the "slutty" Aerosmith and the "prom queen" Aerosmith. It ain't Rocks, but thank goodness it ain't Just Push Play either. And for that, the fellas deserve awesome bear hugs!

-Christopher Long
(December 2012)

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  1. Dress it up anyway you want - this album flat out sucks and is insignificant!

    1. Direct and to the point, "Anonymous." I like your style. Thanks for sharing and stop by again anytime!