Music Review: Aerosmith – Music from Another Dimension! (Sony, CD)

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Aerosmith: Music from Another Dimension!

Back together after frontman Steven Tyler’s questionable detour as an “American Idol” judge, Aerosmith was certainly poised for a return to the classic style of its early 1970s records. Not only was the original band intact (there were rumors Tyler was going to be replaced over the past few years), but producer Jack Douglas, who produced classics like Toys In the Attic and Rocks, was back as well.

So did we get a return to the band’s original style? Well, yes and no. There are some songs here that definitely kick it old-school Aerosmith, such as “Legendary Child”, “Out Go the Lights” and the Rolling Stones-inspired “Oh Yeah”—but Music from Another Dimension! also finds the band hedging its bets with tracks like “What Could Have Been Love” and “Another Last Goodbye”, power ballads along the lines of “Amazing”, “Crazy” and “Cryin’”, and—what’s that? A COUNTRY song? On an Aerosmith album?

Say it ain’t so, but it is—Music features “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”, a duet with country singer Carrie Underwood. Clearly the band—and its label Sony—were paying attention to Bon Jovi’s crossover hits of recent years such as “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.” Hey, I get it—it’s a business. And it’s not a bad song, just somewhat cornpone for my tastes. And it’s not my Aerosmith. But it may be what Aerosmith has to be to survive these days.

So Music from Another Dimension! is the sound of band hedging its bets, varying from old-school rockers to surefire commercial hits. It is good to have Douglas back in the producer’s chair—this CD certainly has less of the exotic studio ornamentation that was heard all over albums like Get a Grip, Nine Lives and Just Push Play. Mostly it’s just the five Aeros, and what’s better than that? Tyler is still in great voice, guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford play up a storm, and the rhythm section of drummer Joey Kramer and bassist Tom Hamilton are rock-solid. Interestingly, some of the hardest, ballsiest songs here are the ones where Perry sings lead—”Freedom Fighter” and “Something.” Hmmm …

It’s good to have them back, especially considering that for a while there it looked like Aerosmith as we knew it was over and done. This CD proves that the band still has plenty of life left in it. Now, about that country song …

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