Customer Review

83 of 93 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Keep it in house, boys...ditch your outside pals., November 21, 2012
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This review is from: Music From Another Dimension (Audio CD)
Talk about a yin and yang "comeback album."

On the plus side, producer Jack Douglas (Get Your Wings, Toys in the Attic, Rocks, Draw the Line) is on board. And the band, when in classic Aerosmith mode (as on the opener "Luv XXX") can still deliver the goods.

On the downside, the loathsome "outside songwriter" hacks are back: Diane Warren ("We All Fall Down"), Desmond Child ("Another Last Goodbye") and Jim Vallance ("Legendary Child"). The Warren song is syrupy slop, as is the Child song, but at least Vallance song rocks, in a Bryan Adams kind of way. You're almost waiting for Tyler to croon about how he got his first real six string at the five and dime. Why is it SO IMPOSSIBLE for these guys to go into a room somewhere and crank out a dozen or so Tyler/Perry/Whitford tracks?

It's not the idea that every Aerosmith song needs to rock the paint off the walls. After all, we all loved "Dream On," "Seasons Of Wither," "Home Tonight," and other "ballad" tracks back in their glory days, right?

The objection I have to the outsiders is that they're hacks. That's it, songwriting hacks "crafting" lightweight pop pap that is radio airwave-friendly. That said, this album is still about 1000 times better than Just Push Play, an album so truly loathsome that at any time following its release you could get seemingly endless used copies on Amazon for under a buck.

There's been a lot of grousing about the Carrie Underwood track, but what can I say? It's much, much better than the aforementioned tracks penned by Warren and Child, and it does in fact have a nice "classic Aerosmith" sound...well, maybe until Carrie takes her first lead vocal. But it's STILL not the worst track on the album.

It's not easy being an Aerosmith fan, especially when I count the hours I've spent driving around in my car listening to Rocks. I think we'd all like the band to deliver a new album that just sends it flying out of the park like THAT one did, right? And I don't mean rubber-stamping past glories...look at how many times Neil Young has had a wobbly album or two and came roaring back with something like this year's Psychedelic Pill?

Songs like "Lover Alot" have that old Toxic Twins swagger, but good grief, they go from that one right into the Diane Warren song.

THREE stars. Not FOUR, not FIVE, but THREE. I'm not saying this is a BAD album, I'm just saying they can do BETTER, because they've already DONE better. When you've been GREAT, "good" just ain't good ENOUGH.

If they can deal with the inter-band squabbling and personal dramas for another few years, and LOSE the hacks, JUST LOSE THEM, maybe they still have a five-sar album left in them. Maybe not. But in an age where the American Music Awards name Justin Bieber the "Performer of the Year," a three star Aerosmith album is better than no Aerosmith album at all...right?
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 21, 2012 2:59:37 PM PST
gmahler says:
I agree with some of what you're saying, but I don't really think that some of these outside writers are hacks; just that Aerosmith doesn't really need them. And as much as I love Get Your Wings, Toys, Rocks and Draw The Line, I actually pull out Just Push Play more than any of them. To me, that album is Aerosmith moving forward, not looking back and sounding modern and for lack of a better term Amazing!!! Yes, you can buy it for under a buck, yes, most classic era fans hate the cd, yes, it's slick, well produced and full of pop / rock tunes but I have to disagree with you that it doesn't rock. Go back, put some headphones on and just listen to Beyond Beautiful, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Outta Your Head, JPP and Light Inside and tell me they don't rock! Show me a better melodic pop song that Jaded or Sunshine. And most importantly, they do all that and still at least sound like Aerosmith!!! I know that JPP is looked down upon by many fans and I get it. It sounds current, produced, slick even; but I don't think those are bad qualities. I just want good songs and MFAD is missing 'em. If we're gonna look back and non forward, they I agree. Do it already, just the 5 guys in a room, and knock that puppy out in 3 or 4 months and get on with it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2012 5:32:04 PM PST
Mike says:
@gmahler - Maybe "hacks" was the wrong word. I'm not a fan of Diane Warren's work at all, Desmond Child wrote a few too many "attempted hits" for Kiss, and I got really sick of Jim Vallance's Bryan Adams songs being played to death on MTV. I just love "Rocks" FAR to much. I do think the new album is a solid 3-star effort, but as I said, I also know they can do better. It's like The Who. Remember when Pete Townshend had acute hearing issues and played an ACOUSTIC guitar in a GLASS BOOTH onstage, and they had a slew of other musicians onstage with them? Eventually they got back to basics and these days the "additional players" are Free's John "Rabbit" Bundrick on keyboards and Pete's brother Simon on guitar and vocals. Aerosmith can do it, they just need to want it. If they think the new album is good enough (especially if it $ELL$), they're not going to be motivated to attempt anything better. Anyway...thanks for your comments and have a rocking Thanksgiving.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2012 11:14:05 PM PST
wally gator says:
HA... I dont hate the album.. but you nailed it with this review! and Push Play did suck too... everything the band has done after Get a Grip was wishy washy but I still admire the fact that they jam it out the way they do...

Excellent point comparing with Crazy Horse... both bands still rock the floorboards off live, but Crazy Horse seems more willing to take that chance on record. Aerosmith makes music for your girlfriend and daughters now, that you can listen to without feeling too lame about it. I still feel hints of that raw noise though from here to there on the record

Posted on Dec 3, 2012 9:38:37 AM PST
alollol says:
They should have made Richie Supa write a song. All his songs are amazing.

Posted on Dec 4, 2012 7:21:18 AM PST
MRT says:
Without these "songwriting hacks" , Aerosmith would have died with Done With Mirrors.

Posted on Dec 4, 2012 1:25:59 PM PST
Boetius says:
I remember the day! Unfortunately, I haven't truly been moved by much of anything they have done since Permanent Vacation. Tyler's proclivity towards being a somewhat more masculine Freddy Mercury drags the band down, and the gross over-production is tiresome. For all our sakes, amidst this desert of programmed chants backed with sound effects (or that two-dimensional j-off music that passes for modern medal - sounding like a comb with wax paper!), forget being "artists," forget trying to psych-out the market (how much more cash flow do you need for one lifetime - especially now that your habits are presumably under control?), and get down to doing good blues-based hard rock. It is what made you rich, now either cut out the crap, or retire and spend your time reminiscing about "the old days."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2012 12:47:45 PM PST
wally gator says:
^^^^
Boetis; I don't think the production is like that on this album... exactly the reason why I can't stand the last three A-smith albums...not to mention so much music that might have been great in the last ten years. Even the ballads have a more organic feel here.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2012 8:36:19 AM PST
I agree totally about JPP--great listen!! I like it alot more than the newbie--it's more solid throughout (tho I can do w/o ANY Perry-sung track-useless,IMO). THe new cd is mostly a 'nice try but not quite there' listen. I do love the one ballad- What Could Have Been Love',tho. Monster hit single there. TK

Posted on Dec 25, 2012 3:52:52 PM PST
Jason M says:
Some people lose the ability to write with age. Done with Mirrors had a few good songs but there was no way it would lead to a comeback. Lightning struck that Run DMC remade Walk This Way, and the outside "Hacks" were brought in for Vacation, Pump, etc. I don't mind the outside songwriters, but wish they would have balanced out post 1990 albums with a few more hard rock tracks. I don't mind the ballads either, but they probably could have stuck to no more than 3 per album, and at least focused some on hard rock. Still, Tyler and Perry came up with a lot of the main ideas here, and the outside songwriters gave the songs a little more. It's just that the overall songwriting on this album is a bit on the average to very good here, and not going to blow anybody away. Considering their age, Aerosmtih are probably where we would have expected them to be. In fact, those who were around them in 1978 likely expected them to be dead or at least alive and unable to function. What we got from 1986 on was a total bonus if you really think into it.

Posted on Jan 21, 2013 8:47:08 AM PST
Mike - you pretty much hit the nail on the head, although part of the problem is the over-balladification. Fact is, any one or two ballads on the albums the band has put out since "Pump" would've been fine, but once they started cramming a ballad every other song on these later albums and it just kills the pace and energy. I've got "We All Fall Down" playing now, and it's kind of weak, but if it were the only slower song on the album, it would be fine. I find albums like this and "Nine Lives" are much better when I put them on my mp3 player without the ballads (or play them in the car, where I can hit the skip button when the ballads come on).
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Mike
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Location: San Jose, CA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,722