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Regardless of whether you’re an Aerosmith fan, you have to admire the band’s resiliency.
Breakups, makeups, drug addictions, infighting – they’re like a musical telenovela.
Fans have been anticipating “Music from Another Dimension” for more than a decade (yes, “Just Push Play,” their last original studio record, bowed in 2001) and for their 15th record, the Beantown Boys present 15 tracks.
Lifelong fans will probably appreciate the output, but truthfully, they could have used an editor, as the album is too-often bogged down by zipless fare such as the opening “LUV XXX” and no fewer than six ballads. Not that Aerosmith isn’t adept at slowing the tempo – “Dream On” will never lose its standing as a rock masterpiece – but with the exceptions of “Can’t Stop Loving You,” on which Steven Tyler matches yowls with a plucky Carrie Underwood, and the eerily stirring album closer, “Another Last Goodbye,” the rest are bonus track fodder.
(The ‘90s-friendly “What Could Have Been Love” returns Aerosmith to the adult contemporary charts for the first time since 1998. Take that for what you will.)
As for the rockers – since that’s really what we want from Tyler and Joe Perry – the Stones-y “Oh Yeah” slithers gleefully and “Out Goes the Lights” spotlights Tyler’s trademark swagger and amusing wordplay that circles a swelling chorus. For whatever reason, first single “Legendary Child” was unfairly maligned for sounding like a knockoff of “Walk This Way.” But if anyone is going to rip off such an enduring rocker, why not the guys who created it?
Besides, is it really such a bad thing that Aerosmith sounds like…Aerosmith on a few tracks? When the electro-enhanced “Just Push Play” arrived, fans cringed at its overproduced sheen. They don’t have to worry about that here, as the band is happy to crank it up and slam it hard, as they do on “Street Jesus” and “Freedom Fighter,” on which Perry handles lead vocals (with Johnny Depp in the background).
There are too many middling songs crowding “Music from Another Dimension,” but the standouts should please fans who will be relieved to know that Aerosmith isn’t trying to be anything other than Aerosmith this time around.
By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene