Steven Tyler - We're All Somebody From Somewhere
Country music has always been a fertile breeding ground for artists, the obvious example is a certain ‘Shake It Off’ singer. There have been others over the years though, and mainstream - or radio friendly, whatever you want to call it - country music has been drifting toward generic rock and pop for the last few years. With Justin Timberlake recently chancing his arm (his duet with Chris Stapleton at the CMA in November 2015 pushed his single ‘Drink You Away’ into the country music charts and onto country radio), and Beyonce’s ‘Daddy Lessons’ having that twang it was only a matter of time before a superstar came the other way. Step forward Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and his long mooted solo record, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere.
Now, if you’re a fan of late-era Aerosmith then this might be something you’re happy with. If you're more of the boundary pushing, ‘Walk This Way’, ‘Love In An Elevator’ type fan of the Boston band, then maybe not so. You could say there’s nothing inherently wrong here, and that it’s perfect for hitting country radio in the US. You’d be right. But that’s also its biggest problem. The blandness, and total lack of anything new or interesting, has hobbled the fifteen songs. Tyler’s voice is in good fettle, and the odd track like ‘Love Is Your Name’ is OK enough. Songs like ‘Red, White & You’ and ‘Gypsy Girl’ dominate though and they’re mass produced singalongs for the bro-country era. Some are downright dreadful, mainly ‘I Make My Own Sunshine’ on which the cheesy lyrics (including the line “Hey, let's make a rainbow / Look for the pot o' gold / I'll show you how to keep it nice and easy”) would see Katy Perry struggle to keep a straight face. And there's a substandard version of the brilliant 'Janie's Got A Gun' where Tyler struggles to keep the Aerosmith version of himself in check.
Don Henley’s recent country album, Cass County was a great example of how to approach the genre, sadly the 68 year old Tyler has approached it with all the grace of a bronco at a rodeo. Or maybe more accurately, like an eager to please five year old in a sweet shop.