Music From Another Dimension
Released: 2012, Columbia
This year is the 40th Anniversary of the release of Aerosmith’s debut record. I’ve been on a bit of an Aerosmith kick lately, so the timing is good. While I believe they are not ‘Metal’, the band has inspired legions of Metal artists. Many Metal bands such as, Testament and Metal Church have covered Aerosmith songs and some of us here at the Metal-Rules Global Command Center have a soft-spot for the pioneering bands of the 70’s. That is why you will occasionally you will get a review of a Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rush and yes, Aerosmith. So to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the band I’ve whipped up four quick reviews of a couple of books, a box-set and the last studio album. Enjoy.
So after an 11-year wait we finally get a new studio album...or should I say studio(s) album. They recorded this thing in eight different studios. That is never a good sign. MUSIC FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION charted in 24 countries including hitting #1 in America so by all accounts it was success, but a qualified success. Considering that JUST PUSH PLAY sold over a million copies in the US alone a mere eleven years ago, the intervening decade (with the utterly massive change in how fans consume/buy music) was not been kind to the band. MUSIC FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION sold a fraction of previous records, in the low hundreds of thousands. The other qualifier to this album success was a tepid response from critics.
AEROSMITH has maintained their usual high standards for an album. The album comes in many different formats, different covers, with different bonus tracks in different regions, but I grabbed the plain ol’ version (at Wal-Mart I think it was) and the 15 song, 70 minute album is good value. It’s a nice package with lots of photos, memorabilia, lyrics, notes and a shot of the infamous building, 1325 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston where it all started back in the 70’s. The production is magnificent, it had better be, after eight studios and four producers and six co-writers including Jack Douglas who did most of their hits in the 70’s.
Sales, technical details and critics aside, I liked the album quite a bit. I felt it was much better than JUST PUSH PLAY and NINE LIVES. Following the semi-autobiographical lyrics of lead-off single ‘Legendary Child’, the band followed with three more singles, all with the word ‘love’ in the title, and yes, two of them were ballads. I happen to like Aerosmith ballads, but many of the critics said the album didn’t have enough fire in the belly with what seems like half the album to be slow, sentimental songs. ‘Street Jesus’ is a good rocker as is ‘Luv XXX’ the first song on the record. My favourite cut is ‘Out Go The Lights’, running almost seven minutes with an extended jam and a rambling feel that reminds me of ‘Chip Away The Stone’, complete with female back-up vocals. Across the album, Joe’s guitar twang is fully intact, as are the acoustic bits, horns, strings, lame guest stars, (in this case some country music chick) and it is all marvelously over-produced to the hilt and I love it. It is their best since GET A GRIP, 20 long years ago. Tyler lyrics are still sexy, raunch and roll with tales of ‘spanking your monkey’ and other things that some critics seem to think are inappropriate coming out of the mouth of a 65 year-old man. He hasn’t lost any of his lyrical prowess thankfully but delivers the same easy ‘n’ sleazy lyrics he has for 40 years.
Aerosmith are really corporate, overblown, American Rock whores, without an ounce of danger but they have been that way since PERMANENT VACATION. If anyone was expecting cutting edge, fiery underground music they were really misguided. MUSIC FROM ANOTHER DIMESNION is a pretty fitting title because Aerosmith live in another dimension compared to the rest of us mortals and once in a while they descend to earth and deliver what we want and expect, a great album of mainstream radio-friendly Hard Rock.