Don’t be fooled; this isn’t another greatest hits album – Aerosmith are back with all new material after an eight year hiatus. Given front-man Steven Tyler’s American Idol fame, this has the potential to be the second coming of the much loved hard-rockers. Has their time away allowed inspiration and originality to be breathed into their tunes or is this yet another has-been band’s poor attempt at a comeback?
The Twilight Zone-like intro immediately promises a great deal and, despite the nostalgia of phrases like “Do not attempt to adjust the illusion” and “We control all you hear and feel”, this bold introduction suggests that this album might provide a new twist on the Aerosmith style we all know. Indeed the band have altered their music throughout their career which is likely to be one of the reasons they have been so successful. Given this expectation, the opening songs ‘LUV XXX’ and ‘Oh Yeah’ could be considered a disappointment despite being solid hard rock tracks. Following this, ‘Beautiful’ is a throwback to Aerosmith’s singles of the early nineties, combining Tyler’s unique rapping style with some heavier guitar riffs. While none of these tracks could be considered to be sub-standard, at this early point in listening to the album you can’t help but find yourself saying “that song sounds a bit like…” in reference to almost every track.
Unfortunately this trend continues throughout the album as there is no continuous feel for what the band are trying to achieve. That said the individual tracks stand-alone quite well with power ballads ‘What Could Have Been Love’ and ‘We All Fall Down’ being particular highlights. As well as this, the country-style ‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’ has Tyler’s slick vocals mixing excellently with American Idol alumni Carrie Underwood, which gives a welcome break from the déjà vu that is felt throughout the rest of the album. Despite their best efforts to re-launch the band, it would seem that Aerosmith were undecided in which direction to take this album and in an attempt to please fans of their roots as well as newcomers; they have fallen short of both.
Eight years since the release of their last album and time seems to have taken its toll. While dedicated Aerosmith fans will no doubt enjoy the tracks on it, the lack of flow and originality make this album feel like just another greatest hits record, with individual tracks plonked next to each other. Unfortunately this particular “greatest hits” is somewhat lacking in hits.
…Will has been listening to Starship – We Built This City…