Our last review from Aerosmith was a live album from 2005. We jump all the way to 2012 for our next review which is pretty big gap between albums. Don’t fret though as they did release a couple live albums and 3 greatest hits albums during that time and honestly, I don’t own any of them. Since this is the Aerosmith Collection Series, we will stick to what is actually in my collection so here we are.
The band had a ton of issues between 2005 and 2012. They entered the studio to record a new album back in 2007, 2008 or 2009 (take your pick based on interviews) and nothing came of it. They toured, but they were plagued with health issues from several members and lots of shows were canceled. Tyler wanted to do solo work and seem to have stepped away for a little while. While out, Tyler became addicted to painkillers as a result of his knee injury and had to go to rehab. The remaining members were ready to replace Tyler as the singer and started auditioning new singers. Yeah, that didn’t go over well as lawsuits were filed, punches thrown and all sorts of mayhem over the years.
Then finally sometime in late 2011, the band finally went in to the studio to record their 15th studio album. Somehow Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer made it work. The album was called ‘Music From Another Dimension’ and it was released on November 6, 2012. The album was recorded like ‘Honkin’ On Bobo’ with everyone live in the studio. They also used some older material and they changed the sound up a little as well. There are a ton of guest musicians, singers and songwriters. It is an interesting smorgasbord of an album, but is it any good? We will see.
My copy is really interesting as it is the Deluxe Edition and it has 3 Discs. The first disc is the main album with all 15 tracks, a second disc of 3 bonus tracks (why only 3 is sort of nuts to put on the disc) and disc 3 is a DVD with some live performances as well as interviews with band members. The packaging changes up the album artwork as well as comes in a significantly larger package than your standard jewel case. You also get a folded up poster of the band (pictured above). It is quite a stellar package…is it better than the album? We will see. Ok, let see…on with the music…
Disc 1 – The Album:
The album starts off and ends with a Twilight Zone inspired narration on what to expect in the album. It is a little cheesy. The opening track is “Luv XXX” which kicks off with some pounding Kramer drums and then a cool ass riff from Perry. It is a high energy, fun-filled packed catchy ass song. But when the vocals kick in they sound a little tired and boring and don’t excite me at all. It sounds a lot like what they have been doing for over a decade. Of interest is that Julian Lennon was on background vocals for this one.
Then we get “Oh Yeah” which reminds of the Rolling Stones in its grooviness. It has a plethora of female backing vocals and I had heard one is Lauren Alaina from American Idol (which Tyler was a judge). But if so, she wasn’t credited. It isn’t a bad track overall, but it isn’t anything to write home about either.
“Beautiful” is up next and has a co-write with Marti Frederiksen. It has Tyler rapping the lryics for the most part and singing the choruses. We are in 2012 and this fits the mold of music currently being played. It has a great arrangement and might be the first song I actually like on the album, strangely enough.
Next up is “Tell Me” and it opens with a mandolin and I am not sure if it wants to be “Janie’s Got a Gun” or what, but it does nothing for me. Tyler’s vocals are purposely delivered deeper in tone and a slowed deliver and it is uninspiring that you are turned off pretty quick. So far, not that good and we have a ton of songs to get through…sadly. The song was written entirely by Tom Hamilton which I don’t think we have had too many of those, if ever.
“Out Go The Lights” is finally a shining moment on the album. The cockiness and swagger we love from the band is on full display. The bluesy rock track full of horns, harmonica and some of the worst sex-filled lyrics filled with a lot of female backing vocals is finally an old-school Aerosmith song that we need more of in my book. I like the break towards the end and then they come back and jam. Really cool stuff.
The first single off the album was “Legendary Child” which had a co-write with Jim Vallance of Bryan Adam fame. There is a whole “Walk This Way” shout it in the lyrics and I can’t tell if it is cheesy or cool, leaning more to cheesy. If they are trying to recapture the magic of that song, stopping trying. There are some great riffs and it is a high energy rock song which has its moments but it also doesn’t. It has some great Tyler screams but maybe not enough. I’m so torn on this one.
Then we get a power ballad called “What Could Have Been Love” picks up where “Cryin'” and “Amazing” left off from days gone by. It is sorrowful and full of regret. It isn’t a bad ballad, but it is a little been there, done that type of thing. We are in 2012 and not the early 90’s so not sure what to think again. I am finding that a lot of the songs are decent, but just missing the mark on this one.
“Street Jesus” has a whole bluesy sonics to it while also an uptempo speedy ass rocker. Tyler throws at the lyrics at break-neck speed and the riffs are a flying along with Kramer’s drum beats. It is finally something to grab hold to and not let go. A solid rock track that was sorely needed.
Then we get country Aerosmith with “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” featuring Carrie Underwood. I love Carrie, don’t get me wrong, but holy crap Aerosmith. I hated it when Tim McGraw sang with Def Leppard and I ain’t loving this any better. Stop the crap and play rock and roll.
“Lover Alot” at least brings back the rock, but this isn’t what I meant. A very repetitive chorus and very monotonous tone throughout including Tyler’s vocals. Skip for me.
Then Diane Warren is back with the song “We All Fall Down”. Sweet Jesus please stop. We don’t want to hear another “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing”. Shoot me now. This would’ve been a great song prior to the other one, but now it sounds like a rip-off.
“Freedom Fighter” thankfully comes not a moment too soon. This blues rocker with Joe Perry on vocals is finally a breath of fresh air. Fellow Hollywood Vampire, Johnny Depp, is on backing vocals and there is some great Hammond Dr. Rudi Tanzi. I also love the bass line on this one as Hamilton lays down a great groove.
“Closer” sees producer Jack Douglas dig deep in the bands old sound, but it is another ballad on an album that has way too many and I don’t think I’m in the mood for ballads as they all make me cringe a little.
The church-inspired Hammond opening, guitar riff-laden track with Tyler on the drums…yes, Tyler brings us more rock & roll. The song is “Something”…I mean that is the name of the song, not that the song is actually something. Well, I guess it is. Joe Perry sings this one as well. I don’t know if it is as good as Freedom Fighter, but I’ll take it.
The final track on the original album is “Another Last Goodbye” which is yet another freaking ballad. This one has a co-write with none other than Desmond Child. It is a piano led track with Desmond behind the keys and if I’m being honest, isn’t terrible. It is only that there are so so so so many ballads on this terribly long album. It has a nice string arrangement and Tyler really does shine on this one. It is dramatic and epic in its feel and not their typical ballad. Plus, a classic Tyler scream near the end that seals the deal. The song ends with the Twilight Zone voice again…still cheesy.
The bonus track on the main album is a Temptations cover of “Shakey Ground” and they turn it in to a blues infused, twangy track and I am not sure I am a fan so much. There is a nice horn section and solo as well as some nice backing vocals, but Tyler seems a little bored and so am I.
- Luv XXX – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Oh Yeah – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Beautiful – Keeper
- Tell Me – Delete
- Out Go the Lights – Keeper
- Legendary Child – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- What Could Have Been Love – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Street Jesus- Keeper
- Can’t Stop Lovin’ You (Feat. Carrie Underwood) – Delete
- Lover Alot – Delete
- We All Fall Down – Delete
- Freedom Fighter – Keeper
- Closer – Delete
- Something – Keeper
- Another Last Goodbye – Keeper
- Shakey Ground (Bonus on main disc) – Delete
The Track Score is…8 out of 16 or 50%. This album is so bloated with 16 tracks and at around 68 minutes and that is before the 3 bonus tracks on the 2nd disc which we will get to soon. First off, yes, the packaging is better than the album. The album does nothing for me but reinforce how tired I am of anything of Aerosmith’s past ‘Done With Mirrors’. This series has reenforced that for me…big time. Although I could pull out ‘Honkin’ on Bobo’. The album is too much of everything and not enough of Aerosmith if that makes sense. If this ends up being the last studio album, it is a shame. My Overall Score is 2.0 out of 5.0 Stars. I didn’t enjoy this one and it didn’t get better with each listen. Sorry.
Disc 2 – The Bonus Tracks:
First up on the Bonus Disc is “Up On The Mountain” which is another Tom Hamilton track. And to top if off Tom sings it too. This is a first and for that props! He doesn’t have Tyler’s range, but that is perfectly fine. I like bands to have multiple singers as it keeps things interesting and that is what this does. Next is “Oasis in the Night” which has Perry on this third song for this overall release. Perry sings it softly and tries to get more dramatic but he does lack the range and it sounds more like speaking. It isn’t his best track and gets pretty boring. The final track is “Sunny Side of Love” with Steven back on vocals. The guitar sound on it sounds so familiar, but I can’t place it. I swear they stole it from another song. It could’ve come from any of their 90’s albums as it has that vibe, but that isn’t a bad thing. I actually like this one more than some of the songs of the album.
The DVD has four live songs. Three of which “Same Old Song and Dance”, “Oh Yeah” and “Rats in the Cellar” come from a show in Tacoma. The fourth track is from Hollywood and is for “Train Kept A-Rolllin” and features special guest and friend of Perry’s Johnny Depp. Is it bad that I enjoyed this stuff more than the album. Then we get a bunch of interviews. First is a conversation with Joe Perry and Steven Tyler, then finally a separate interview with each member of the band. I enjoyed all of this and won’t spoil any of it. You will need to go see if for yourself.
And there you have it. Only one more to go and we are done with the Aerosmith reviews. Then it will all be wrapped up in an Album Ranking from Worst to First!
UP NEXT: ‘1971: THE ROAD STARTS HEAR’ (2021)
THE AEROSMITH COLLECTION SERIES:
- ‘Aerosmith’ (1973)
- ‘Get Your Wings’ (1974)
- ‘Toys in the Attic’ (1975)
- ‘Rocks’ (1976)
- ‘Draw the Line’ (1977)
- ‘Live! Bootleg’ (1978)
- ‘Night in the Ruts’ (1979)
- ‘Greatest Hits’ (1980)
- ‘Rock in a Hard Place’ (1982)
- ‘Done With Mirrors’ (1985)
- Run DMC – “Walk This Way” 12″ Single (1986)
- ‘Classics Live!’ (1986)
- ‘Classics Live! II’ (1987)
- ‘Permanent Vacation’ (1987)
- “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” (1987) – 7″ Single & 12″ Maxi-Single (Bonus Edition)
- “Angel” (1988) – 7″ Single (Bonus Edition)
- “Rag Doll” (1988) – 7″ Single (Bonus Edition)
- ‘Gems’ (1988)
- ‘Pump’ (1989)
- ‘Pandora’s Box’ (1991)
- ‘Get a Grip’ (1993)
- ‘Nine Lives’ (1997)
- ‘A Little South of Sanity’ (1998)
- ‘Just Push Play’ (2001)
- ‘Honkin on Bobo’ (2004)
- ‘Rockin’ The Joint (2005)
- ‘Music From Another Dimension’ (2012)