Music reviews: Aerosmith, CeeLo Green, Calvin Harris
"Music From Another Dimension"
This is a familiar story on several levels.
A popular rock band goes away for an extended period of time only to come back with a record that fails to deliver.
That’s Aerosmith’s “Music From Another Dimension,” the band’s first studio album in 11 years. This is a collection of songs that comes nowhere close to being up to the same standards as any of the band’s hits.
Instead, the album mostly sounds like worn-down versions of popular Aerosmith songs.
Steven Tyler’s voice sounds tired. Sure, there’s the occasional trademark yips and screams from Tyler, but even those seem to take every bit of the 64-year-old singer’s energy. His voice and the band’s music rarely strike a perfect match.
Tyler is left behind on the rough-edged “Legendary Child.” He also fails to get anything going on “We All Fall Down.”
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Both songs, along with several others on “Music From Another Dimension,” were cut from the same cloth as familiar Aerosmith hits. But nothing seems to stick for the band as they struggle to live up to what they once were.
Aerosmith does try its luck by slightly diverting from its familiar path on “Can’t Stop Loving You.” Carrie Underwood shows up to sing on a track that falls somewhere between a plodding stripped-down rock ballad and mediocre country radio hit.
If anything works on “Music From Another Dimension” it’s Joe Perry’s guitar solos. “Out Go The Lights” runs a couple extra minutes so Perry can have some much-deserved time in the spotlight. It’s too bad we don’t get a couple more of these moments.
“CeeLo’s Magic Moment”
There’s not much more that can be done with holiday music. Rarely does a newly penned song catch on. And most of the covers don’t do justice to the original classics. Then there’s CeeLo Green’s “CeeLo’s Magic Moment,” a collection of covers of holiday songs by the guy who sits on the set of NBC’s “The Voice” with a cat on his lap or a bird on his shoulder. Even the album title seems laughable.
But if you can get past all of that, CeeLo turns in one of the better holiday albums released in recent years. CeeLo gives the Christmas hits on “Magic Moment” a soulful R&B/Motown take. There are several smart guest vocalist choices made as well. CeeLo duets with fellow “Voice” coach Christina Aguilera on “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” one of the better tracks on the album. Rod Stewart lends his voice to “Merry Christmas, Baby.” CeeLo even enlists The Muppets for “All I Need Is Love.” While CeeLo may seem as much of a caricature as some of The Muppets, he doesn’t phone it in on “Magic Moment” just to make some quick cash. This Christmas album has heart and soul ... and Muppets.
The glut of dance albums continues to grow with the release of Scottish producer Calvin Harris’ “18 Months.” You may have already heard much of this album as some of the tracks have already been featured on other artists’ releases. That includes Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and Ne-Yo’s “Let’s Go.”
While both of those songs have been out since early to mid-summer, some of the other material on “18 Months” is even older. The instrumental “Awooga” surfaced more than a year ago. Even though it features some tired songs, “18 Months” is still a worthwhile dance album. Vocal performances by Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine and Ellie Goulding are among the guest spots that help keep this album from being a collection of lukewarm leftovers.
Out this week: All That Remains, “A War You Cannot Win”; Chasing Vegas, “What Happens Here Stays Here”; Imani Coppola, “The Glass Wall”; Jon DeRosa, “A Wolf in Preacher’s Clothes”; CÚline Dion, “Sans Attendre”; Dirty Projectors, “About to Die”; Mike Doughty, “The Flip Is Another Honey”; Fatboy Slim, “Big Beach Bootique 5”; Fear, “The Fear Record”; Focus, “X”; Glee Cast, “Glee: The Music Presents Glease”; Tim Halperin, “Under That Christmas Spell”; Halestorm, “Halestorm in The Live Room”; Kylie Minogue, “The Abbey Road Sessions”; Ne-Yo, “R.E.D.”; The OC Supertones, “For the Glory”; OTEP, “Sounds Like Armageddon LIVE”; Public Enemy, “The Evil Empire of Everything”; Slingshot Dakota, “Dark Hearts”; Sylver Tongue, “Something Big”; Geoff Tate, “Kings and Thieves”; Third Day, “Miracle”; Simon Townshend, “Looking Out Looking In” Various artists, “It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! Album”; Various artists, “NOW That’s What I Call Music! 44”; Various artists, “Punk Goes Pop Volume 5”; Various artists, “Skyfall”; Dionne Warwick, “Now”; Robbie Williams, “Take the Crown.”