Much drama ensued when Steven Tyler announced he was taking a break from Aerosmith to record his first solo album. His bandmates felt betrayed by being put on hold for a year, especially as they’re getting older and may not have a lot of opportunities to tour again. Fans were confused by his decision to make it a country record, not a genre you’d associate with Aerosmith.
But when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense: Aerosmith’s music has relied on pop songwriters for years, just like country music. The line between pop and country was blurred a long time ago, with often just a few flourishes of instrumentation to stake its claim of one genre or the other.
“We’re All Somebody From Somewhere” doesn’t transcend either genre unfortunately or bring anything new to either. I’d even go so far as saying that about half of it doesn’t even feel like country music. And of the half that does, most of it is a by-the-number attempt to fit the modern country genre. The album’s second single “Red, White & You” is the worst example of this: it sounds like a song Taylor Swift passed on, a tale of teenage romance that feels out of place coming from a 68 year old man. “It’s good to be born in the USA” he sings, one of several name drops of rock songs. I guess Steven doesn’t watch the news these days.
The songs range from passable to boring. A reworked “Janie’s Got a Gun” at least scores points on attempting to do something new even though it’s way less interesting than the original. Sadly, the best song on the album is a cover of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” that cleverly incorporates samples of the original.
Let’s hope Tyler gets this out of his system and goes back to his band for a farewell tour. This album is only for the most die hard Aerosmith fans.