In the decade since Aerosmith last released an album of new material, the band survived a near-breakup after 40 years as classic rock's preening and persevering hitmakers, while Steven Tyler became an “American Idol” judge and did Burger King commercials. Said a collective nation: “Sure, why not.”
Now comes “Music from Another Dimension!” — the first Aerosmith output since 2001's “Just Push Play,” which was forgettable even by the band's own standard of wringing a handful of singles from each album. “Music” likely won't fare better on the radio — and even if it does, that's not necessarily a compliment. But Aerosmith can be mostly proud of this trip down many memory lanes.
There's a head-bopping rudeness to the dirty riff that kicks off the opener, “LUV XXX,” and “Street Jesus” starts with a strutting Joe Perry lick that harkens back to the band's creative heyday.
That much is explainable: Back for this pseudo-comeback is producer Jack Douglas, who was behind 1970s monsters like “Toys in the Attic” that propelled the band to superstardom.
It's too bad Aerosmith didn't stick to rehashing that era. Because borrowing from its overwrought pop ballads of recent years does “Music” no favors, particularly Tyler's bland country duet with Carrie Underwood on “Can't Stop Loving You.”
The dour “Another Long Goodbye,” co-written by Desmond Child, shows that Tyler still has chops when he reaches for haunting instead of sappy at the piano. The beginning plinks are straight from “Dream On,” but it's worth sticking with to the end.
The new album is really just tunes from different Aerosmith eras. The trick is navigating the album to the right ones.