By Martin Popoff
It’s been 11 long years since we’ve gotten new music from “America’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band,” Aerosmith, and millions are wondering: “Just Push Play” or just push eject?
Well, the band’s 15th album, “Music From Another Dimension” can’t help being disappointment, if only because so much was said early on within the tortuously slow and interrupted process, how Jack Douglas was gonna produce and how that, somewhat improbably, was gonna help the record sound like classic, old-school Aerosmith.
Disappointed to say there’s exactly one song on the whole album — “Out Go The Lights” — that sounds like old-school Aerosmith from the ’70s, nothing much like the ’80s. For the ’90s … arguments can be made. But really, “Music From Another Dimension” is very much like a heavier, better version of “Just Push Play,” with about a 10 percent notch-back on the production excess that—and I’ve been complaining about this since “Get A Grip”—makes the guitars not sound much like guitars, rather just one of about a half dozen often indeterminate sounds that build the melody of these weirdly corporate, “by committee”-sounding songs the band’s been crafting and assembling since “Permanent Vacation” (and all that record’s bells, whistles and helpers).
Now, just to give you further short notation and analysis, here are my rough notes to myself upon first listen of “Dimension,” in preparation for my interview with Brad Whitford. They are left exact — no editing for Goldmine’s format, typos allowed (even though it just about killed the editor to let all this slide).
1. Luv XXX. Rumbling heavy like Hearts Done Time, cool, complicated. A bit annoying Beatles psychedelic. Each part more melodic than last, but good song.
2. Oh Yeah. Mid rocker, a little overproduced, hard to tell guitars, sorta Get A Grip-era production. A bit punky.
3. Beautiful. heavy but way over-produced, with poppy chorus. Like a Just Push Play/Nine Lives sound. Not good. Very annoying chorus.
4. Tell Me. Ballad, but folky guitar, but then there’s strings too. One of two OK ballads.
5. Out Go The Lights. Funky with old school production. Like Last Child meets Rag Doll. You can tell this is one of the Jack Douglas ones? Totally different guitar and drum sound from the others. Not that thrilling a song though.
6. Legendary Child. Like Beautiful, so overproduced it’s hard to tell how heavy it is. A heavy Just Push Play track.
7. What Could Have Been Love. Typical crap Aerosmith power ballad. Modulation in the chorus. Horrible. Utterly anonymous.
8. Street Jesus. Mid-rocker. Interesting production and textures again. Fast, Toys In the Attic rocker with shuffle. Like Joe Perry Project New Yorky. Cool pre-chorus
9. Can’t Stop Loving You. New country ballad. Kid Rock. Female guest vocal by a country gal. Carrie Underwood.
10. Lover Alot. Best track on it? Heavy, fast, punky, a bit like Ted Nugent. Interesting sparse production, tight, small, cool changes.
11. We All Fall Down. Crap ballad, piano, strings.
12. Freedom Fighter. Cool heavy one, Joe singing again? Again, tame tone on the guitar. Not a lot of high hat.
13. Closer. Dark ballad, Beatle-esque chorus. Pretty mellow but a bit bluesy and dark.
14. Something. Cool, slow, bluesy rocker, complicated melodies, interesting vocal – is that Joe? One of the best.
15. Another Last Goodbye. Piano ballad with strings, Beatles harmonies. No band/power ballad – straight piano and strings ballad.
Good songs: 8, 10, 2, 14, 1, 5, 12
Ballads: 15, 7, 11, 13, 4
New country song: 9
Over-produced “rock”: 3, 6”