I felt I had to write this review to counteract some of the very negative reviews. It really is not as bad as some reviews make it out to be, especially after a few listens.
I feel expectations from this album have been too high, what with Jack Douglas producing and the hype that it was going to be a throwback to 70's Aerosmith. This is 2012...that was never going to happen. Instead what we have here is what we should have been expecting...a very contemporary sounding Aerosmith record.
Much of the criticism is based on the number of ballads and generally the amount of filler. It's really not so bad. Yes there are a lot of ballads, but they are quite decent. In fact the one they released as a single `What Could Have Been Love' I believe would have been a massive hit if released during the Get a Grip era. The other ballads are pretty good, except for the Carrie Underwood duet and maybe `Tell Me'. The chorus of `Tell Me' lets it down....it gets very dreary very quickly. It sounds a bit like a leftover from Nine Lives. And as for the Carrie Underwood duet, it is just so un-Aerosmith and un-rock n roll. It would have made for a very decent Carrie Underwood solo song, but it is not Aerosmith and is definitely a track I could do without. But the rest of the ballads are pretty good including surprisingly the Dianne Warren penned number `We All Fall Down'. Sure, it's a bit cookie cutter, but who cares when it is sung so well by Mr Tyler.
The two Joe Perry sung songs really do seem unnecessary, especially the extremely dull `Something'. That's what solo albums are for in my opinion. These two tracks are the only tracks on this album I would describe as pure filler...oh, and the Carrie Underwood duet (in case I have not made it obvious already that I don't like that track!)
Now for the good news. What I think more than saves this album is the fact that there are enough Steven Tyler sung up and mid tempo rockers. There are 7 of them in fact, which if we go back to the days when there were 10 or 11 tracks on an album would have been more than sufficient to satisfy fans. All these tracks are at the very least very good, and some are just excellent (e.g. the awesome `Beautiful', which I think should have been the lead single) with plenty of funk and groove that only Aerosmith can produce.
Sure, the album would have been much punchier and quality filled from start to finish if they had left off the Perry sung tracks, the Carrie Underwood duet and maybe `Tell Me' to make this an 11 track album, but that's what the skip button is for on music players. It seems a shame to have to use the skip button on an Aerosmith album, but we should be grateful for what we have been given. It is a privilege just to be able to hear THAT voice on some new tracks 40 years on from the start of it all. Yes, 40 years! Come on, they deserve huge credit for that.
Anyway, this is just my humble opinion. My message is two-fold...don't listen too much to the negative reviews and don't hold your expectations too high. If you do these things, you will have the pleasure of listening to some great new Aerosmith tracks and it is a such a treat! Overall, I am very satisfied Aerosmith fan. Thanks for reading!