October 24, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Michael Kimmel speaks to UMass students about ‘Guyland’ -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

UMass football looks for third straight win against Toledo on Saturday -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

‘Love is Strange’ is beautiful, painful and groundbreaking -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

White supremacy and settler colonialism at UMass -

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UMass hockey hopes first win will propel them past Hockey East rivals -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

UMass’ second line playing and succeeding with young talent early in the season. -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

‘The Good Wife’ returns as strong as ever -

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Professor receives grant to cover massive election survey panel -

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Unions rally over recent concession proposals -

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NFL Pick’em games return to the Massachusetts Daily Collegian -

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UMass celebrates Campus Sustainability Day -

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“Fury” falls just short of greatness -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Minutewomen look to continue their season in weekend game against Saint Bonaventure. -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New meal plans receive mixed reviews from students -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

ISIS’s magazine is good for the West -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

UMass women’s soccer controls its own destiny as conference tournament approaches -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass soccer deploys new formation with Keys, Jess -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass calling on young swimmers to continue strong start to the year -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WMU, Ohio, NIU pick up wins in busy MAC weekend -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A comprehensive guide to the Ebola virus -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Aerosmith revives funky blues-rock with latest studio albums

Flickr/Rachel Petersen Photography

Aerosmith is a group that needs no introduction. The band is a living legend, having spawned more monster rock hits in its lifespan than one can count on both hands. The latest Aerosmith release, “Music from Another Dimension,” serves to reignite the band’s weathered flames.

Constant feuding and crippling drug addictions have kept the ‘Bad Boys from Boston’ silent for much of the new millennium. The new album is the first Aerosmith LP to hit record store shelves since 2004, and the band’s first full-length release of original music in over a decade.

Luckily, the group has not lost its ability to craft the type of funky blues-rock songs that made Aerosmith a household name. “Music from Another Dimension” is a return to hard, crunchy riff rocking.

While far from perfect, the album is a solid release from a band that is well past its prime. A sufficiently aged Steven Tyler, now 64, still belts his signature squeals as powerfully as he did in the 1970s and his band still has the chops to back him up.

Tracks like “Out Go the Lights” and “Street Jesus” prove it. Guitarist Joe Perry shreds something brilliant while Tyler cackles and howls like a madman.

“Luv XXX” falls somewhat flat as the album’s opener due to its excessive repetition, not to mention the goofy title. Luckily the band quickly makes up for the weak start with “Oh Yeah,” a heavy hitter that wreaks gritty, unfiltered rock power.

The band takes a more novel approach with “Beautiful.” Tyler’s lyrics during the verses are more spoken than sang, leading into fluid, drawn out choruses marked by his high-pitched wail.

The album also slows down a bit at certain points. “Tell Me” is a softer track that allows listeners to catch their breath after a rugged dive into the wild world of hard rock. Built over an acoustic chord progression and smothered in airy backing vocals, “Tell Me” seems as close to heaven as Aerosmith will dare to go.

The break from body-shaking blues-rock is quickly left behind, though, as the album enters “Out Go the Lights,” a track that is classic, high-powered Aerosmith. The groove continues until being interrupted by “What Could Have Been Love,” an effectively executed, gut-wrenching power ballad.

Sadly, the album also carries its share of total failures. “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” is a duet featuring “American Idol” star Carrie Underwood. The song sounds less like Aerosmith and more like desperate pandering to the country music demographic.

Tyler sits out on “Freedom Fighter,” relinquishing vocal duties to Perry, who sings like someone’s drunken uncle in a karaoke bar. His lukewarm performance only highlights the futility of Aerosmith without Tyler, who has always been the band’s main attraction.

Even while setting aside the disappointing vocal performance, “Freedom Fighter” is dissatisfying and hollow. Instead of sounding like a true rock and roll song played by seasoned veterans, it comes off like something out of a cheesy rock opera.

With Underwood and Perry’s vocals far from sight, “Lover Alot,” a sparkling gem on this album, comes chugging through the speakers like a rogue locomotive. Perry’s guitar screams through a dirty fuzz filter that makes for a uniquely satisfying solo. The song’s hair-raising energy makes it the most powerful track on the album.

The record also contains piano-driven tracks notable for their surprising tenderness. While most of Aerosmith’s sound has been traditionally defined by hard rock sensibilities, tracks like “We All Fall Down” and “Another Last Goodbye” remind listeners that Tyler and his gang boast an exceptional capacity for emotional depth.

All things considered, “Music from Another Dimension” is worth at least a few listens. The weak points are few and far between, and the fact that Aerosmith can still rock this hard after more than 40 years of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll is beyond admirable – even if most of their albums do sound basically the same.

The band has clearly earned its place in music history.

Chris Trubac can be reached at ctrubac@student.umass.edu.

Comments
2 Responses to “Aerosmith revives funky blues-rock with latest studio albums”
  1. Robin says:

    I have read about 30 reviews on MFAD and yours is most closely reflects what I think and feel about this album. There are some novel high points, including female chorus and Perry creative flourishes at end of songs. I also enjoyed Hamilton singing on Up on the Mountain on the Deluxe version. Listen to that song loud. I hope this is not their last album.

  2. Hi Chris,
    I’m a big Aerosmith fan and appreciate the review, but disagree with a few points (also agree on quite a few). I have a blog where I also just reviewed the CD. Feel free to take a look and comment at http://www.jeremybednarski.com. Thanks.

    Jeremy

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