Review Summary: Outdated for sure, and far too bloated for anything but its best parts to be remembered, but Music from Another Dimension! sees The Bad Boys from Boston returning to predictable form with no missteps. Even if there are no advancements either.
It’s interesting how Aerosmith’s popularity has managed to survive from the mid-80‘s to the present day. They have been well past both their prime and era of relevancy for quite some time now, putting out album after album and all the while refusing to change their sound as if they are apparently unaware of the changing times around them throughout multiple decades. Yet despite this, there’s always been something that brings Aerosmith’s legacy back into the public’s attention, the most recent time around without a doubt being Steven Tyler’s 2 year run as a judge for the popular pop star reality show competition American Idol.
New Aerosmith material has been in the works since 2006, and it’s entirely possible that Tyler’s time with American Idol was that one push that re-ignited the inspiration to finish an album with the band, but no matter the reason, here we are with Music from Another Dimension!
, an album that’s been 8 years coming. Even though Music from Another Dimension!
is appearing 8 years after the last Aerosmith record, it’s not really so much a comeback album as it is a simple reentry. It’s been awhile, but Aerosmith thankfully aren’t rusty at jamming the traditional routine they have been for decades. They know how to play their own sound, and they sound surprisingly limber at doing so despite their age.
Music from Another Dimension!
is a long album for Aerosmith, 3 minutes shy of 70 minutes, making it the most lengthy studio album in Aerosmith’s discography to date. The album is considerably longer than it should be, and the reason being is that it suffers most from a large amount of throwaway material.
6 of the 15 songs found of Music from Another Dimension!
are pop rock-oriented ballads only geared toward radio appeal, all of them being hollow and forgettable snooze-fests that are too generic to evoke any emotional responses, and lack so little differentiation from each other that they all blend together in a straight-listen through. As if these ballads making up almost half the album wasn’t repetitive enough, the way the album is arranged is in an even more monotonous manner. The order of the album’s tracks is two hard rockers, one ballad break, and then rinse-and-repeat. Fatigue sets in rather quickly.
Though to give credit where it’s due, the ballads are really the closest to relevant Aerosmith ever remotely comes to being on Music from Another Dimension!
. The album’s hard rock singles are where Aerosmith show just how thin their formula is wearing. “Legendary Child” has a main riff that appears ripped straight from “Walk This Way”, and a chorus that’s far too similar to the one of “Sweet Emotion”, while the sheer mind-numbingly repetitive nature of “Lover Alot” snuffs any energy the song attempts to exert.
The best songs on the album are actually the more lengthy tracks. The 7 minute epic “Out Go the Lights” is a very complex and ambitious song for Aerosmith, especially at this point in their career. The song possesses an infectious honky-tonk-esque swagger about it, with a stomp and clap beat and classic blues-y harmonica solo that reeks of a musty atmosphere that’s reminiscent of a western saloon. A gospel choir also aids Aerosmith on the song and the first quarter of the album, giving soulful melodies that add much needed layers to Aerosmith’s music to make it interesting. “Street Jesus” is the second longest song at 6 and a half minutes, and another elaborate venture on the band’s part, containing varying rhythm sections and patterns to make a bombastic thrill ride of a hard rock song, the kind of song many would doubt aerosmith still had in them.
All in all, Music from Another Dimension!
certainly is from another dimension, a dimension where it’s still 1988. It’s clear that Aerosmith moves and reacts to the world at their own delayed pace, the last quarter of the album featuring songs with production akin to Screaming Trees or Mother Love Bone, as if Aerosmith are just now stumbling upon the 1990‘s and the grunge explosion. Music from Another Dimension!
is Aerosmith playing Aerosmith, and they’re in tip top shape and flawless in doing so even after all these years, but they aren’t progressing an inch any time soon in that way.