For the Record: Aerosmith and Calvin Harris

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Records are rated on a scale of one (awful) to four (classic) stars:

Aerosmith 'Music From Another Dimension' (Columbia)

2 1/2 stars = Average
Ratings explained

The first mistake is visible right in the packaging, and it's not the pop-art cartoon cover. That's kind of cool. It's the 15 tracks listed on the back cover. "Rocks," "Toys in the Attic" and "Draw the Line" each had nine, and that's why they're classics.

"Music From Another Dimension," which couldn't be a less appropriate title, is overstuffed to the max, not only with the 70-minute running time but with the slick, processed production and Aerosmith's need to pander to its whole base by inserting sappy '90s-style ballads between hard '70s boogie rock.

Driven by the fierce guitar interplay of Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, the Boston band is on its game on a handful of tracks here, most notably the "Toys"-like "Sweet Jesus" and "Legendary Child," patched together like Aerosmith's greatest hits on one song. Steven Tyler is in typically good cat-scratch voice, but Aerosmith rides right off the tracks when he lays it on another cliched Diane Warren ballad ("We All Fall Down") and a country-crossover duet with Carrie Underwood ("Can't Stop Lovin' You"). He sounds so much more true just wailing away at the piano on the dreamy Beatlesque closer, "Another Last Goodbye."

Once again, Aerosmith's dual personalities are at war here, and one of them has got to go.

-- Scott Mervis, Post-Gazette


CALVIN HARRIS '18 Months' (Columbia/Roc Nation)

3 stars = Good
Ratings explained

Ne-Yo lends his honeyed croon to "Let's Go" and manly Brit MC Dizzee Rascal and Tinie Tempah rap with musky aplomb, but where "18 Months," U.K. producer and composer Calvin Harris' new album, is concerned, it's pretty much ladies night.

Mr. Harris has a way with the provocative female voice, bathing it in sparkling electro-house rhythms and a consistently shimmering ambience that lights each souped-up arrangement from within. There's a luster to his shining synth-pop, to his eerily sincere and catchy melodies, that works best with the female voice.

-- A.D. Amorosi, Philadelphia Inquirer



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