MUSIC REVIEWS: Aerosmith, Kylie Minogue

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Music From Another Dimension

Aerosmith

Columbia

★★★

Back in the saddle after years of squabbling, Aerosmith sounds loose and limber on “Music From Another Dimension,” the band’s first album of original material since 2001.

Album cover for Kyle Minogue "The Abbey Road Sessions".

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Album cover for Kyle Minogue “The Abbey Road Sessions”. more >

The album cover is a parody of a poster from a 1950s monster movie. A giant and a reptilian monster are shown stomping across a city, laying waste to every building and pedestrian in their path, while the Aerosmith logo stretches across the sky like some rock ‘n’ roll equivalent of the Bat-signal. “Rock music saves the day” seems to be the message, if there’s any real message.

It’s a cheesy cover, but it’s also a fitting introduction to an album that kicks off with three raunchy, old-school rock songs, all of which channel the bluesy boogie-woogie of Aerosmith’s glory days. This isn’t contemporary music; it’s vintage stuff, filled with all the meaty guitar muscle and macho swagger of an earlier, simpler era.

The album grows older as it moves along, though, eventually hitting a string of midtempo ballads aimed at fans who still listen to “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” These are the least exciting parts about “Music From Another Dimension.” Yes, they show off Steven Tyler’s voice — still a surprisingly elastic instrument, as screechy and stratospheric as a monkey’s wail one minute and soft, pleasant, even croon-worthy the next — but they do so at the expense of the full band. Mr. Tyler may be the famous one, the one who reignited public interest in the band by joining the judging panel of “American Idol,” but Aerosmith always sounded best during its louder moments

Luckily, there are plenty of loud moments to go around. Joe Perry does his share of the legwork, singing lead vocals on a pair of songs and splashing his guitar licks across the album like paint. His playing is loose on the Rolling Stones-ish “Oh Yeah” and focused on the hard-rock stomper “Street Jesus.” During “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You,” a duet with Carrie Underwood, he tips his hat to country music without relying on hammed-up Nashville licks.

The whole thing is produced by Jack Douglas, the man behind some of Aerosmith’s best albums. “Music From Another Dimension” doesn’t quite earn that distinction, but it’s better than it might have been. For a band that’s been around for more than 40 years, “pretty good” might be good enough.

The Abbey Road Sessions

Kylie Minogue

Parlophone

★★★

Dance diva. Disco queen. Pop icon. Mature torch singer?

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