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Aerosmith - 2012 Music From Another Dimension

ARTIST: Aerosmith
ALBUM: Music From Another Dimension
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: 88725 44281 2
YEAR: 2012
CD REISSUE: 2012, Columbia, 88765 40747 2 (Walmart edition, 2 CD + DVD)


LINEUP: Steven Tyler - vocals * Joe Perry - guitar * Brad Whitford - guitar * Tom Hamilton - bass * Joey Kramer - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Luv XXX * 02 Oh Yeah * 03 Beautiful * 04 Tell Me * 05 Out Go The Lights * 06 Legendary Child * 07 What Could Have Been Our Love * 08 Street Jesus * 09 Can't Stop Loving You (with Carrie Underwood) * 10 Lover Alot * 11 We All Fall Down * 12 Freedom Fighter * 13 Closer * 14 Something * 15 Another Last Goodbye



Upon hearing this album late last year I swore to myself I wouldn't review it, simply because it was so bad on first impression. But here we are a couple of months later and upon a few more listens to this long-delayed album from the Boston rockers I really couldn't help myself. Lots of observers have asked if there was any need for this album at all; after all you'd have to go back to 2001's awful 'Just Push Play' for the last album of new material from the band. But after years of infighting, drug abuse, feuding and acrimonious bust-ups (Tyler and Perry) Aerosmith finally got their act together. Of course they were vocal in claiming this would be a return to the days of the mid-seventies sound, something they've been lying about for every sparse release. Hiring Jack Douglas might have fooled some, after all he did produce their best work in the 70's, but when you consider these dudes haven't released a real hard rock album since 1984, well you have to be suspicious. Sure enough this follows the same trend as every album since 'Permanent Vacation', with a few forced rock tracks interspersed with stale and cringe worthy ballads. This is a jumbled mess which is as unfocused as Tyler's stint on 'American Idol' and his rambling autobiography.

The Songs
One of the problems is there are too many songs, fifteen in all. This is common these days among many bands, but the best Aerosmith albums were the ones with eight songs and no fluff whatsoever in between. 'Luv XXX' could be 'Pump' all over again, sounding like 1989 revisited. It's hard rock at least, with shades of the long lost Aerosmith swagger. 'Oh Yeah' tries to recapture the 70's vibe and almost pulls it off, but the female backing vocals are a turn off, making this more of a Rolling Stones paean. 'Beautiful' sounds like a ballad based on the title, but is the third fairly hard rocking track in a row, with this one delving into an unconvincing modern rock chorus, ruining the promise of the verses. But don't worry, watered down slop is imminent, the limp 'Tell Me' a routine sub-ballad these guys crank out with ease. 'Out Go the Lights' has some of the 'swank' of old, with a riff that evokes 'Love In An Elevator', complete with horns and sadly more female vocals. Once again it sums up Aerosmith's approach to hard rock post 1987, not really deadly, just cornball riffs aplenty. 'Legendary Child' dates back to 1991 apparently, an average track with a recycled riff Perry's used at least 50 times. Just listen to 'Walk This Way' instead (if you can stomach it). Everything falls apart with the sickening 'What Could Have Been Love', a ballad only these guys seem to be able to manufacture. They just can't give it up can they? Why are they so hell bent on pursuing these tracks? I suppose it must still be 1993 and songs like 'Crying' and 'Amazing' are tearing up the charts. Typically the next song is a rocker, 'Street Jesus' clocking in near seven minutes, the pace of the song a take on 'Toys In The Attic'. It goes on a bit too long but it just makes me wonder why every song can't be in this vein.

The album continues interminably with another ballad 'Can't Stop Lovin' You', this one with Carrie Underwood sharing vocals with fellow diva Tyler. This is putrid, some kind of country crossover that Bon Jovi attempted some years back. As you'd expect they follow up again with another rock cut, 'Lover Alot' trying again to convince that the band can still rock like its 1976. It's almost as if they recorded a straight rock album but got scared and tacked on the 'hits' after the fact. Even after all these tracks there's still five songs left and the trend continues with yet another sappy ballad, this time the Diane Warren penned 'We All Fall Down'. Does it ever end? Joe Perry chips in with 'Freedom Fighter', which is non-descript in the melody department even with Johnny Depp in there on backing vocals. 'Closer' is one to skip, meandering and droning with nothing to recommend it. It can barely be classified. It's not rock and it's not a ballad. It's just total filler. Perry pitches in again with 'Something', another dud too. After all this you'd assume they'd go out with another bang, but no way, it's another ballad, yes another. This one sounds like 'What It Takes' slightly, nauseating me with its tearjerker approach. Enough is enough.

In Summary
I read recently that the band said this will probably be their last album. That might be the wisest decision they've made in a long time. This album is simply hopeless. The abundance of ballads is so prevalent and overwhelming that any hard rock that is present is quickly forgotten. Even those songs are second rate too. This bombed severely on release, selling just 65,000 copies in its first week, proof of how the market is dead even for Aerosmith. It doesn't deserve to sell more and I assume they were (are?) pinning their hopes on one of the ballads to drum up business. Even if they wanted to record another 'Draw The Line' or even 'Night In The Ruts' these guys couldn't at this point. What's laughable is how people still consider 'Rock in a Hard Place' to be the bands worst. Honestly? What is this then? It's just the Tyler show with an almost equal partner in Perry and three hired guns that just happen to have been there since 1972. At least they've been caught out with this joke of an album, which certainly is from a dimension I'd rather not contemplate.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on January 28 2013 11:47:19
Most of this album kinda works for me..until you come to the Perry sung tracks. There ARE too many ballads and it is way too long, but overall I feel it's a better record than 'Just Push Play' and 'Nine Lives'. It's not as good as 'Rock In A Hard Place'. For all the crap that particular album gets I always thought it was one of Aerosmith's best records!
#2 | Eric on January 28 2013 22:46:27
I don't mean to sound like a snob, but does anyone really care about these guys anymore? The sales stats say no. Pack 'em up.
#3 | gdazegod on January 28 2013 22:54:00
I'm still stuck in the 70's with these guys. Toys In The Attic, Rocks, Draw The Line etc. that's how I prefer to remember them.
#4 | Nick C on January 29 2013 12:23:26
It's okay - much better than I expected but too many ballads as per Get a Grip. First 11 tracks work for me with the exception of the Carrie Underwood duet which I can't abide. I don't mind Joes singing either and Freedom Fighter I especially like. I'd give it a 7 maybe even 7.5 but I'm biased.
#5 | tompa on January 30 2013 22:32:55
Haven't heard this album nor do I plan to. Gave up on them with Pump. Like so many other bands with a career as lengthy as theirs you see a decline in quality, like Scorpions, Sabbath, Judas Priest. But at least they have the "excuse" of a few changes in personnel. But then again, Aerosmith HAD a change in personnel on Rock In A Hard Place and that album turned out quite good. Just can't believe this is the very same five guys who brought us Spaced, Round And Round and Back In The Saddle.

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