Written by Chris Rogers
It’s been eight years since the world has seen a studio album from Aerosmith. As 2012 comes to a close, out pops their 15th studio album, Music From Another Dimension!, (with 15 tracks; 4 of which include the word ‘love’ in one form or another).
Most of the songs seem to be the standard mash-up of rock songs Aerosmith come out with, but it comes to the point where, when you listen to these new songs, you keep hearing echoes of older songs they’ve made. The chorus on the first track “LUV XXX” sounds like the first notes to the chorus from “Love in an Elevator”. The first ballad on the track “Tell Me” has the same beat and feel of “Crazy”. SNL did a skit in the mid 90′s because their rock ballads tend to sound the same. Songs like this only reiterate that point.
Maybe it isn’t their fault. Aerosmith have been rocking for four decades or so. Who’s to say you wouldn’t have songs that sounded like repeaters in your repertoire if you had been playing for that long? It’s not as if this lessens their quality of groove that the band puts into each song. It still has the same feel of an Aerosmith album. They are one of the few bands that have managed to not change their sound too much, and still remain a popular band.
But as the years go on, will Aerosmith continue to come out with new material? This album fulfills their contract to Sony/Columbia, so at this point the band may decide to be a free agent, or to hang up the guitars, and finally take the scarf off the microphone stand.
In my opinion I wouldn’t go much further. Which is not to say anything bad of Aerosmith. This album would be a fine note to end on. But if they were to come out with another album, my fear is that they will stop sounding like the rock band they always have been, and more like the rock bands that cover them. Steven Tyler is 64 years old, and he has led his life to excessive points. But if his voice starts tapering off; if he can’t hit the screams he used to, it will affect the way he approaches every song he creates, and that may be the decline of Aerosmith as we know it.
For now, I will still bob my up and down to these tracks. They are in no way a disappointment. As the album suggests, in nearly every track, there are sections of the songs that seem to come from nowhere. On the track “Lover Alot” at the 2:40 mark or so, the two guitars begin playing notes in an odd scale that makes it sound like two angry bees fencing with their stingers.
The song “Beautiful” has a great shift between the verse and chorus. Tyler doesn’t sing, but screams the lines of the verse out until Tom Hamilton drops the bass out with enough force to make Skrillex proud, as the chorus slows the beat down, and the familiar backing vocals of the word “beautiful” come in, sounding much like what they did with the words “sweet emotion”, giving an ethereal quality to the track.
Music From Another Dimension! also has a couple departures from the normal sound of Aerosmith. After watching the viral footage of the African Warlord Joseph Kony, guitarist Joe Perry wrote “Freedom Fighter”. At its core a very political based song, it’s something Aerosmith would have most likely shied away from in the earlier days, or not even paid attention to.
The second difference is a duet Tyler has with country singer Carrie Underwood in “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”. The mesh between the rock ballad sound that Aerosmith have perfected, and the twang from Underwood’s voice does not go well. Though both wonderful separately, they shouldn’t be put together, for the same reason you should never brush your teeth and then drink a glass of orange juice immediately after.
To Sum Up:
With or without the ghosts of their #1 hits possibly heard throughout this album, it is still a full-fledged Aerosmith, and there is no reason not to rock to it. In my humble opinion, I hope these to be the swan songs of a very accomplished band, and that they will not bleed out their popularity with another studio album. Let their last track on this album, “Another Last Goodbye”, be a fitting title.