Aerosmith is without a doubt one of the biggest forces in musical history. With a career spanning 42 years (and counting), Steven Tyler and the gang have had Top 10 hits in every decade since their formation in 1970 and have been a powerhouse act all the time.
It’s been eight years since the band’s last record, the blues-based Honkin’ on Bobo. So, naturally, when the band premiered their single Legendary Child on the Season 11 finale of American Idol and officially announced their newest effort Music From Another Dimension!, a storm of hype began brewing beneath Aerosmith’s sizzling pot of rock n’ roll.
And for months now we have had one question on our minds: can Dimension! live up to the hype? The answer is a resounding, “Yes.”
When a band has four different decades of fans, it’s tough to find a middle ground. Those who were teenagers in 1976 want a hard-rock record. Those who grew up with I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing in 1998 want a pop-rock record.
So, subsequently, the bad boys from Boston did what they thought could please the most. They packed the record to the brim with new material. The standard edition of the album has 15 tracks while the deluxe has 18. The Wal-Mart editions have an extra song, making their Deluxe Edition a whopping 19 tracks. And what a 19 tracks they are.
The production of Dimension! was spearheaded by Jack Douglas, known for producing many of the band’s most successful 1970s albums, including Toys In the Attic and Rocks. Lead singer Steven Tyler and and lead guitarist Joe Perry co-produced, along with Marti Frederiksen (known for his work co-writing and co-producing much of Aerosmith’s material since 1997) co-producing 4 songs.
I might say the highlights of the album are Beautiful, Tell Me, Out Go the Lights, and Another Last Goodbye, but then that would be undermining the greatness of the rest of the album. Beautiful has raspy rapping from Steven Tyler and a swirling futuristic chorus.
Tell Me ventures into almost folk-pop-rock (if that even exists) and is entirely written by bassist Tom Hamilton, interestingly enough. Out Go the Lights is a bouncy, funky, sleazy rocker that stems right from Aerosmith’s roots, while Another Last Goodbye finds Tyler in one of his finest vocal performances of all time, sending chills down your spine both lyrically and musically.
And, ironically, none of those tracks are any of the three singles that have been released thus far.
There are also a few guests who show up, including Johnny Depp on background vocals for the track Freedom Fighter and a song featuring Carrie Underwood, which is sure to be the band’s next smash single. In fact, it will probably be the Underwood duet Can’t Stop Lovin’ You that will break the Billboard Top 10, making Aerosmith the only musical artist in history to have Top 10 hits in each of the last five consecutive decades.
There is only one small problem with Dimension!: Three songs are sung by Joe Perry and one by bassist Tom Hamilton. It’s long been a staple for Perry to sing on one track, but never three. Tom Hamilton faced throat cancer a few years back and has actually never sung on a track before, so it’s interesting to hear him on Up On the Mountain.
Both Perry and Hamilton have okay voices. They know the logistics of singing. They can hit the notes. But when your voices are just okay and you have one of the greatest lead vocalists ever, why not let him do most of the work? Hearing Tyler rock those tracks would have definitely been an improvement.
Still, a few songs out of the many on this album is a small price to pay, as Aerosmith succeeds on almost all levels with Music From Another Dimension! And, though the exclamation point is a part of the album title, it would definitely fit at the end of that sentence anyway. That’s how good the record is.
An excellent album with a diverse set of songs that definitely lives up to the hype and, more importantly, the band’s legacy. Standout tracks include Beautiful, Tell Me, Out Go the Lights, and Another Last Goodbye.
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