Truth be told, I had pretty low expectations going into Music From Another Dimension. It was probably the least successful Aerosmith album ever peaking at the No. 5 position on the Billboard chart upon release, and it got lukewarm-at-best reviews from critics. Not to mention, it was released over a full decade removed from their last album of completely new material which, let’s face it, was far from their best endeavor. Finally, it seemed as though by the time this album was released, the band was barely even speaking with each other, much less working cohesively together to craft what is by far their longest LP ever clocking in at well over an hour and boasting 15 songs. But against all odds, Music From Another Dimension delivers the goods more often than not, and has become a hidden gem in their 15-album catalog.
Make no mistake about it, this is not the album to introduce to somebody who is just getting into Aerosmith. Musically it’s all over the place (which may have something to do with its multiple years in development). Country crossovers featuring American Idol hangovers (“Can’t Stop Lovin You”) clash fiercely with straightforward Rockers with old-school Aerosmith implications (“Lover Alot”). Throw in a couple of Joe Perry solos (“Freedom Fighter,” “Something”) and a Diane Warren-penned ballad (“We All Fall Down”), and you get an album that sounds almost as chaotic as its album art suggests. But to someone who just listened through their entire discography in just over a week, Music From Another Dimension offers a perfect encapsulation of Aerosmith’s entire career boiled down into one LP, and that makes it a fascinating listen. The kickass ’70s Aerosmith gets back in the saddle for one last ride on the Stonesesque “Oh Yeah” and the groovy “Out Go the Lights,” both of which are bolstered by production from vintage Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas himself. The band’s penchant for power ballads (a sub-genre they invented after all with 1973’s “Dream on”) are also here in full force with straightforward “What Could Have Been Love” and the sonically scarce yet intriguing string-laden closer “Another Last Goodbye.” Naturally, the stinkers that have accompanied every Aerosmith album since Draw the Line are also here to remind everyone that Aerosmith have never been perfect and never will be (“Beautiful,” “Closer”). And then there’s the centerpiece, “Legendary Child,” which tells an autobiographical tale of the nearly half-century long career of the only surviving band from the ’70s to retain each of its founding memories. If this is indeed Aerosmith’s last album, they chose to go out with guns blazing. And when you shoot for the stars as many times as they do, every once in a while you’re bound to hit the mark.