I have been listening to Aerosmith’s Music From Another Dimension for a couple of weeks now. I was hoping that my initial opinion of this release would change with a few repeat listens. My opinion hasn’t changed at all. Music From Another Dimension is just average.
Quite frankly, I didn’t have high hopes for Aerosmith’s latest effort. With there being so much infighting in the band, and Steven Tyler’s stint on American Idol, I was doubtful that the band, in its current state of health
could deliver an album worthy of the Aerosmith name.
After listening to the CD several times, my thoughts are this: Music From Another Dimension suffers from too many ballads, too many tracks, and an overall cohesive feel. Sure there are some good songs, but nothing that will probably overwhelm you, and say OOOOOH, I have to run out and buy the new Aerosmith album. If you are an Aerosmith fan, chances are you probably have this in your collection already anyway.
On a positive note, the band has brought in Jack Douglas to produce the album, and the overall production is very good.
The album starts off strong enough, but about midway through it starts to taper off, and suffers from far too many ballads.
The opening track “Luv XXX” sounds like a classic Aerosmith track, and that is great, but the lyrics are just stupid. The song does grow on you though.
“Oh Yeah” sounds like it could have been on Get A Grip. This is a pretty catchy, yet simple tune.
“Beautiful” could possibly be a hit for Aerosmith, but time will tell on this one. The jangly guitars give this song a feel more akin to Aerosmith’s later material, but I am a fan of all eras of Aerosmith so that isn’t a problem for me.
“Out Go The Lights” might just have one of the best Aerosmith riffs in recent years, the problem with this song is the background singers. I think the background singers weaken the track with their vocal piece on the lyrics “If You Want to Take A Lookie, Cookie Tonight Might Be Your Lucky, Nighty Nite Nite”. I think it could have been a stronger song without this. The song seems to go on forever too. It is about two minutes longer than it needs to be. This song could have been one of Aerosmith’s biggest hits, but it is overall a let down.
“Legendary Child” was the first single from the album, and this song is actually pretty good. I think this song could have easily been on Pump, but the song is a leftover demo from “Get A Grip”. I am glad they decided to use this song. I like this one pretty well.
“What Could Have Been Love” is the first sappy Aerosmith ballad, and this song will likely be a COUNTRY hit for Aerosmith. One word defines my opinion of this song, “BLECH”!!!. I skip this song every time. (You can check it out in the video below).
Every time I listen to “Street Jesus” I start thinking “Sweet Emotion”. I guess it is the vocal part on the chorus that is similar between the “Street” and “Sweet”.
I like this song a lot, even if it does somewhat borrow from one of Aerosmith’s biggest hits.
“Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” features a duet with Country superstar Carrie Underwood. I have to question Aerosmith’s sanity on this one. Are they looking to recreate some magic, the way they did with RUN DMC in the 80’s? If you wanted to gain a bunch of new country fans, bringing in Carrie Underwood is probably a great idea, but not so much for the rock crowd. I don’t have any problems with Carrie Underwood. She is a hell of a singer. It just seems odd to have a country singer on an Aerosmith album. Oddly enough, this song has less of a country feel than “What Could Have Been Love”. I think this song would have been better suited on a Steven Tyler solo album, than an Aerosmith album, but that is just me.
After a few non-Aerosmtih sounding tracks, we finally get another rocker with “Lover Alot”. This one is pretty catchy, and ought to translate well live.
Joe Perry handles the vocals on “Freedom Fighter”, and as much as I love Joe’s guitar work, I don’t care for his voice very much. The lyrics on this song are pretty good. It is a shame that Steven didn’t sing on this one. It could have been much better. The same goes for the song “Something”. I love the bluesy music on this song, but Joe’s voice just doesn’t do it for me.
The album closes with another sappy ballad “The Last Goodbye”. I think the album, could have been better served by ending with another rocker. It doesn’t and it ends on a weak note in my opinion.
The special edition from Music From Another Dimension includes three bonus tracks, “Up On The Mountain” (sung by Tom Hamilton), “Oasis In The Night” (Sung by Joe Perry) and “Sunny Side of Love” (Sung By Steven Tyler). “Sunny Side of Love” is the best song out of the three. It is a little more pop than rock, but it is still better than a few of the songs that made it on the main track listing of Music From Another Dimension.
Am I being too critical of Aerosmith? Perhaps! I just don’t believe the music from Music From Another Dimension is as good as past Aerosmith releases, and that is disappointing. This is the type of CD that I probably won’t reach for in my collection very often, but won’t turn it off if I hear it on the radio either.
Rating: Out of 10
01. LUV XXX
02. Oh Yeah
04. Tell Me
05. Out Go The Lights
06. Legendary Child
07. What Could Have Been Love
08. Street Jesus
09. Can’t Stop Lovin’ You (Duet With Carrie Underwood)
10. Lover Alot
11. We All Fall Down
12. Freedom Fighter
15. Another Last Goodbye
01. Up On the Mountain
02. Oasis In The Night
03. Sunny Side of Love
Steven Tyler – Vocals, Guitars, Keys, Percussion, Harmonica
Joe Perry – Guitars and Vocals
Tom Hamilton – Bass and Vocals
Brad Whitford – Guitars and Backing Vocals
Joey Kramer – Drums, Percussion and Backing Vocals
In my opinion, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry are the Yin and Yang of Aerosmith. The band can not succeed without both members. Joe Perry is one of the best rock guitarists of all time, and Steven Tyler is one of the best singers to grace hard rock music.
With that being said, the early eighties was a dark period for Aerosmith, and the band forged ahead without Joe Perry or Brad Whitford (although Whitford did play on “Lighting Strikes”). The rhythm section of Aerosmith was securely in tact for this album, as Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton were still in the band. “Rock In A Hard Place” still has quite a bit of that Aerosmith groove, but this disc is far from the band’s best effort.
When it comes right down to it, the great thing about Aerosmith is their vast collection of great hard rock songs. When I dusted this disc off to give it another chance, I hoped to find a couple of classic Aerosmith tunes on this disc. After two or three plays, none of these song stick with me very much. It isn’t that they are band, they just aren’t very memorable. The best cuts are “Jailbait”, “Lightning Strikes”, and the title track “Rock and In A Hard Place (Cheshire Cat)”. While I like the music, even the best tunes don’t live up to Aerosmith’s past works.
“Rock In A Hard Place” isn’t the worst Aerosmith album, but in my opinion it is just an o.k. disc, and one for the Aerosmith diehard fans only.
2. Lightning Strikes
3. Bitch’s Brew
4. Bolivian Ragamuffin
5. Cry Me A River
6. Prelude To Joanie
7. Joanie’s Butterfly
8. Rock In A Hard Place
9. Jig Is Up
10. Push Comes To Shove
Steven Tyler – Vocals
Jimmy Crespo – Lead Guitar
Tom Hamilton – Bass
Joey Kramer – Drums
Rick Dufay – Guitar
Brad Whitford – Rhythm Guitar on Lightning Strikes
Paul Harris – Piano – Push Comes to Shove
John Turi – Sax – Rock In A Hard Place
Richard Struab – Violins on Joanie’s Butterfly
John Lievano – Guitar O.D. on Joanie’s Butterfly
Jack Douglas – Percussion