Review Summary: Stay away from this album at all costs, it is an attempt to cash in on the greatness Aerosmith once possessed and fails in every respect
Aerosmith are a band that has, in recent times, somewhat fell off the radar of the rock community. Their days of being on top of the pile in terms of popularity have long since died off, and yet they still have a hugely devoted fan base who swallow up everything they release with eager anticipation. So when Steve Tyler and the rest of the crew announced that 2012 would be the year of their fifteenth studio release, Music From Another Dimension, a lot of Aerosmith began to froth at the mouth, whilst the general public remained almost oblivious, despite the fact that four singles had been released to promote said release.
The album is a mixture between Aerosmith's signature brash, cheesy style of hard rock and a more blues-rock oriented sound that infested the previous album, released six years beforehand. The album has been a long time in the works, having fallen through due to the band's breakup with Steve Tyler, leading to a troubled recording that resulted in the fifteen songs found on here. This is a mash-up of a number of styles that attempt to recall the band's respectable glory days on albums such as Pump, but is devoid of any of the energy that packed that album out and gave the listener a reason to want to continue, having resulted in such instantly recognizable songs as Love In An Elevator and Young Lust. This album, however, has none of this memorability.
What Music From Another Dimension is, in fact, is a combination of numerous clashing ideas that never seem to slot together, resulting in an album that changes its sound so many times that the listener does not know what to expect. The strongest song on the album, Can't Stop Loving You, is a ballad, featuring Carrie Underwood, and does nice job at bringing back the atmospheric, heart wrenching feel that I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing did so well. This is the one song on the album where the band is firing on all cylinders, releasing a track that happily sits at home among their more well known hits.
The single's of this album highlight perfectly what is so wrong about this release, and what keeps it from fitting in with the band's earlier releases. Legendary Child and What Could Have Been Love in particular showcase the clear weakness of Steve Tyler's voice on their more modern recordings. Where he once brought an aura of energy and youthful lust to the band he now croons like the older man he is, retaining none of the power his voice once had. The instantly recognizable voice is there, but the soul that backs it died four albums ago, and all that is left is his empty corpse.
Freedom Fighter shows a more politically aware style of Aerosmith, and is a decent enough deviation from what has become expected of the band, mirroring the society of today and reflecting it through well written lyrics. The thundering instrumentals chug along at a nice enough pace, giving the song a feel of hard rock intensity that shows that Aerosmith do still possess a knack for writing songs that are equal parts catchy and loud, but Steve Tyler manages to massacre this song with his monotonous yelp that he musters with every line of lyrics, each one drilling home the fact that he should have retired when the band still had a shred of respect.
This is a clear attempt at Aerosmith to get back on top of the pile of hard rock bands, but shows exactly why they will never accomplish this. The music industry has its essential cheesy rock bands, each of whom has their own style and some soul in their music, something that the most recent Aerosmith release is missing throughout. At times the lyrics and instrumentals are decent enough, but Steve Tyler is consistently the member of the band that manages to destroy any decent sound the band manages to create. The one song that hearkens back to their hay day and is enjoyable enough needs a guest appearance from Carrie Underwood to save it, with every other song being utterly worthless and completely forgettable tripe. You will not be missing anything by avoiding this album entirely.