… That’s the album title by the way, not the review.
So this sixty-something aged band are back with their first, all new material studio album in over a decade, and it kicks off with a message from “another dimension”, by a well-spoken man (who sounds like he could narrate episodes of Star Trek for radio) telling us that there is “nothing wrong with our perceptions” and that “we (Aerosmith?) will move you to the left, and we will move you to the right”. And that is exactly what this album does.
Their entrance with LUV XXX lets us know that Aerosmith are still Aerosmith, no experiments, no concepts, just rock.
This album has apparently been ‘bugging’ the band for a long LONG time, we’re talking way back to their early years. And here they are with producer, Jack Douglas who was with them during the 70’s and early 80’s, who helped produce Toys in the Attic and Rock in a Hard Place, to name but a few and you definitely can hear that sound coming through. This album was also co-produced with the ‘Toxic Twins’ (Steve Tyler and Joe Perry) themselves and this definitely shows the amalgamation of the three. Marti Frederiksen also returns, a man who wrote a large quantity of material from 1997 onwards. All the songs on this album are either heavily drenched in the bands ‘Seventies’ sound with some keeping the ‘thrashy’ feel of ‘Nine Lives’.
The song Legendary Child is a perfect homage to nearly every album that Aerosmith have ever produced. You can hear remnants of Walk This Way, Young Lust the feel of Nine Lives all sprinkled with Eat the Rich, whilst still keeping their early Draw the Line feel.
A brief interjection here as I’d like to explain that I Love Aerosmith, but their early albums aren’t the greatest, and with some controversy will explain that I feel Nine Lives is actually their ‘perfect album’. Now this is extremely rare as almost everyone who adores Aerosmith will say Pump was their best. Admittedly a very good album, but I just don’t feel like they found their perfect sound until Get a Grip I’ll even give Just Push Play its merits. There, done, let’s continue.
Then this is where this album throws me. Brillaint, yes. Long-awaited, yes. But groundbreaking, no. I don’t see their need to for Aerosmith to unleash something that has been on their minds from eons ago, they have already released songs of lesser or equal value. The song Something is absolutely nothing new and quite frankly is boring and Tell Me could’ve been easily mixed into the Honkin’ On Bobo album. Yet, Oh Yeah routes itself with ‘Old School’ Southern Rock whilst adding a mildly nice modern sound and Lover Alot really lets Brad Whitford (Rhythm Guitars) and Joey Kramer (the drummer) get down to some heavy riffs and beats.
Then you have the ballads. I’m not understanding the space age sound effects on Can’t Stop Loving You but the addition of Carrie Underwood (American Idols winner, 2005) really adds to the feeling of this song and Steve Tyler obviously wanted to get some instrumental time on Another Last Goodbye and could turn out to be a wonderful karaoke classic, but both are equally quite beautiful songs. Whereas you take the song What Could Have Been Love and you realise that it’s just the late mother of Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing released for the film Armageddon. Then the album takes you to the left again and releases ballads like We All Fall Down, which is just such a pointless cliché of a song and one that is disappointing, especially when a well established band like Aerosmith are capable of a shit load more.
The Really impressive songs on this album though definitely come from Street Jesus, it’s a no holds barred R n’ B song – you know Rhythm and Blues, not that stuff we have today with Nicki Minaj shoving her “booty” in your face to electronic sounds – but proper Rhythm and Blues! I can’t wait to see this song live, you just know that the ‘Screamin’ Demon’ that is Tyler is going to throw his voice out for this one. Beautiful is just a massive Hip Busting slice of funk, and Out Go The Lights is just a modern glam-rock tribute, but it works. Then let the album move you again to the biggest disappointment that is Freedom Fighter, it would be amazing if Bruce Springsteen designed it, but even better yet is if Tyler screamed it. Why then – can anyone tell me – is Joe Perry singing, don’t get me wrong, I like the few songs that he’s sang in the past but his voice was not for this song, a bad judgement call from Jack Douglas, or perhaps the executive producers themselves.
This album does swing you constantly. It’s brilliantly produced, Jack Douglas does a brilliant job of letting each individual member of the band to flourish, and I can understand why Aerosmith wanted to make it but the songs just don’t seem to mesh with the bands established sound. I say this because let’s face it, it was only until they released their more “popular” songs like Love in an Elevator and Dude (Looks Like a Lady) that Aerosmith gained major success, and that is a sound that has worked for decades. All I can hope for, being that they are coming to the end of their contract with Columbia Records, that this was not just a reason to vent out the last of what-they-may-feel is the exhaustion of their abilities.
… That’s the album title by the way, not the review.