With all the drama that led up to Aerosmith's new album -- the public bickering and reconciliation, as well as a near-split with singer-turned-"American Idol" judge Steven Tyler -- who wouldn't expect "Music From Another Dimension" (Columbia) to be a phoned-in mess?
Spoiler alert: It's not. In fact, "Music From Another Dimension" is arguably Aerosmith's best album in nearly a quarter of a century, since 1989's "Pump" -- the one with "Love in an Elevator" and "What It Takes." It succeeds in pulling all of the band's wide and varied influences into a single package -- one that rocks hard, turns up the blues-meets-Beatles vibe, and still delivers on the big power ballads.
The album's opening pair of singles only hints at the album's depth. The rock-oriented "Lover a Lot" features Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, both wailing on their guitars over a swift rhythm track from bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer that bands half their age (um, one-third their age?) couldn't match. At the other end of the spectrum, the aching but catchy ballad "What Could Have Been Love" travels the same adult-
contemporary territory that Aerosmith claimed with "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," although the contemplative "We All Fall Down" may do it even more effectively.
Aerosmith still surprises, too -- collaborating with Johnny Depp on "Freedom Fighter" and teaming with Carrie Underwood on "Can't Stop Loving You." The biggest surprise, though, is how fresh the band, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, still sounds with its trademark blues-rock on "Out Go the Lights."
Music From Another Dimension
BOTTOM LINE Boston's rocking bad boys are back