The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

AEROSMITH

MUSIC FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION

2012

 

 

 

Tracklist:

01. LUV XXX
02. Oh Yeah
03. Beautiful
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 (feat. Carrie Underwood)
10. Lover Alot
11. We All Fall Down
12. Freedom Fighter
13. Closer
14. Something
15. Another Last Goodbye

 

Bonus Tracks on various versions of the disc:

 

01. Up on the Mountain (Deluxe Version)
02. Oasis In the Night (Deluxe Version)
03. Sunny Side of Love (Deluxe Version)

 

PLUS

 

01. I'm Not Talkin' (Japan Only)

01. Shakey Ground (Wal-Mart only)

 

 

 

 

When you are as emotionally attached to a band as I am to Aerosmith it’s hard to tell if you can write an objective review of a band that has been with me practically all of my adult life. One thing is for sure as I sit here now there would be no Rockpit if there hadn’t been an Aerosmith.

 

 

 

For fans it’s been a long rollercoaster ride through the early years to the break-up to the glorious reinvention in the mid eighties. It’s hard to think of a band that has done what these guys have and made it through with the original line-up intact for all but 1982’s ‘Rock In a Hard Place’ (which strangely is still one of my favourite albums of theirs.

 

 

 

Since ‘Just Push Play’ it’s been a long wait for something new and we’ve seen  the band on the verge of breaking up, and the (almost) yearly ‘Greatest Hits’ tours, which I’ve been lucky enough to catch over the last few years. Then of course over the lest few years there’s been the simmering discontent and Tyler’s dabble with the mainstream American Idol (which I hated).

 

 

 

Still that is all behind us now and here we have Aerosmith’s first album of new material in what seems forever.

 

 

 

Over the last few months the marketing campaign has kicked in and thrown us parts of the puzzle: all of which have been promising- from ‘Legendary Child’ to last months dual singles the ballad: ‘What Could Have Been Love’ and the rockier ‘Lover Alot’ and it’s perhaps the latter that really struck a chord with me.

 

 

 

If you had to put me on the spot I am of course on the side of the vintage Aerosmith rather than the reinvented version. Despite their demons in those days they put out some of the very best rock albums we’ll probably ever see; and whilst they never really blew it the bringing in of outside writers dulled the edge they always had.

 

 

 

But hell, this is 2012 and it has been 11 years and so let’s just have a listen? What strikes you first is the number of tracks on offer here – 15 if you buy the standard release and another 3 available as bonuses in various formats. You look at that and wonder if this is going to be a ‘Use Your Illusion’ deal where there’s just enough to make a killer album and it really should have been cut back, but probably the real reason only becomes apparent later – there’s a good few ballads on here so in this case it just might be good common sense – appeal  to both the rockers and the ballad lovers and surely you can’t go wrong in these days when you no longer have to negotiate the needle in the groove!

 

 

 

So after 12 and a bit listens let’s get down to it…

 

 

 

We start with a Twilight Zone / Outer Limits spoken word intro straight into the rocker ‘Luv XXX’ which has a hard rock groove, great drum sound and trademark Aerosmith harmonies that recall Living on the Edge vintage Aerosmith. It’s a great song that checks all the Aerosmith boxes and a great way to open.

 

 

 

‘Oh Yeah’ a Perry penned blues-tinged tune if anything is even better – a mid tempo hard rocker with pop sensibilities that is better than anything we heard on his solo album. So far so good. ‘Beautiful’ opens with a great Tyler rap and is the first song to feature outside writers (the main album has 8 assisted tracks against 7 band only penned tunes). Despite a nice riff and that opening it’s more contemporary sound is perhaps the first slight disappointment and probably closest to ‘Just Push Play’ here.

 

 

 

The acoustic led ballad ‘Tell Me’ – a Hamilton original, is nice and understated and serves Tyler well.  If anything it shows that maybe the guys don’t need outside writers to come up with the big ballads.

 

 

 

You immediately know that "Out Go The Lights" is a Tyler/Perry tune just from the groove and the whiskey-soaked lyrics. The female backing vocals and harp too really add to the end product. It’s the sort of stomp that recalls the glory days without trying to replicate them and wouldn’t have been out of place on an album like ‘Permanent Vacation’. I particularly love the breakdown with the soloing guitar working over those sweet backing vocals. Nice.

 

 

 

‘Legendary Child’ the first glimpse we got of ‘Music’ adds the input of Jim Vallance to the mix (who first helped out the band on ‘Permanent Vacation’). There’s a lot in the song, including references to ‘Walk This Way’, but it’s the killer groove and lyric that carries it off.  Again it’s not exactly vintage but it’s prime second period Aerosmith.

 

 

 

The single ‘What could have been Love’ we’ve reviewed elsewhere (Check out the reviews page) and it’s a song to keep the ‘second period’ ballad lovers happy, and one of only two songs here that has an outside writer taking the lead writing credit in Russ Irwin. File under ‘Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’…

 

 

 

‘Sweet Jesus’ that follows – a Whitford/Tyler composition is one of the most interesting songs on the album and one of my favourites. It’s blues - heart and soul, and after a guitar and vocal intro it kicks into life. It’s one of a couple of songs that clocks in at over six minutes and is certainly the closet we get to vintage Aerosmith. With a breakdown that references ‘Train Kept A Rollin’’ it moves to another level (OK then maybe ‘dimension’).

 

 

 

‘Can’t Stop Loving You’ (featuring Carrie Underwood) again pulls in Marti Fredericksen to assist with the composition, and to be honest, though I love the guitar refrain, I’m not overly enamoured with Underwood, Sure I see the cross-over potential and it does have the feel of say ‘What It Takes’ but dare I say it’s a low point for me. Which presumably means it will top some sort of chart when released!

 

 

 

‘Lover A lot’ is another fine rocker and one we’ve reviewed when it was put out recently as a single. It works, it’s good, and it’s Aerosmith at the top of their game. Dianne Warren’s ‘We All Fall Down’ that counterpoints is a fine song, replete with strings and space and everything you would expect from the writer of some memorable ballads for both Aerosmith and others.

 

 

 

‘Freedom Fighter’, a Perry composition, and one of the three tracks he sings on. Is a crunching song that really reminds me a lot of Neil Young in his Crazy Horse days and is a big highlight and certainly the best of three rather good Perry-only penned tunes.

 

 

 

At this point it’s hard to believe we are twelve songs in already: and ‘Closer’ which sees Tyler and Kramer this time teaming up with Fredericksen is a real atmospheric dirty slow hard rock blues with a surprisingly yearning chorus. The guitar stabs here are beautifully paced and it’s one of the most atmospheric songs on the album.

 

 

 

Perry’s ‘Something’ is another eye-opener and has a vibe of late-vintage Pink Floyd with Perry’s rather emotionless vocal actually suiting the song well. It’s certainly not an immediate favourite but it grows on you with each listen; and something a little different and unexpected.

 

 

 

Closing the album proper ‘Another Last Goodbye’ is the last of the ballads and if you were to take issue with ‘Music’ it might be that we are a little ballad heavy, though as I mentioned earlier on an album of 15 songs that’s largely excusable. This one is augmented by ‘Beatleseque’ backing vocals, but essentially it’s a piano ballad that has a nice vocal from Tyler but little real passion to propel it to the level of classic.

 

 

 

All in all ‘Music From Another Dimension’ is a welcome return and in places it shines as bright as Aerosmith have for the last 4 decades. Welcome back.

 

 

 

By Mark Diggins

 

 

 

FOOTNOTE: The bonus tracks:

 

 

Leaving the deluxe DVD version aside there’s five other songs released on various versions of ‘Music’ and in truth they are a mixed bag.

 

 

‘Up on the Mountain’ stands out mainly because it’s a Hamilton penned mid –tempo blues that sees Hamilton also take on vocal duties. There’s a nice hippie-vibe and it’s a decent enough song if not a highlight it’s certainly interesting.

 

 

 

‘Oasis on the Night’ the last of Perry’s tunes again sees him take vocal duties. It’s slow, it’s bluesy and probably the weakest of his compositions here.  

 

 

 

‘Sunny Side of Love’ sees Tyler back on a mid tempo rock pop tunes that doesn’t quite make the grade but is a nice diversion.

 

 

 

On other versions of the album Aerosmith tackles a couple of covers:

 

 

 

The legendary bluesman Mose Allison standard ‘I’m Not Talkin’’ which appears only on the Japanese release is another song worthy of tracking down.

 

 

 

One of the nice aspects of the Wal-Mart only bonus ‘Shakey Ground’ is the cameo from Rick Dufay (Who fans will know was one of the guitarists, along with Jimmy Crespo, who appeared on the Perry and Whitford-less ‘Rock in a Hard Place’) It may be a Temptations cover but it’s one of the bonuses that would have been a worthy inclusion on the album proper.

 

 

By Mark Diggins