“Something” begins with an inspirational swelling of Hammond organ right out of Southern gospel. Things quickly get nasty from there with some bluesy guitar crunch from Joe Perry, who wrote the song, and bounces from a Rolling Stones-style twang to a melodic Beatles-like chorus. Aerosmith‘s guitarist also sings this one himself, sneering to villains past and present, “You knew there was dreams I had in my corner/ I made you a dollar and you gave me a quarter.”
For Perry, the bite and drama comes from a real place. “I wrote ‘Something’ a long time ago, back when there was a whole other batch of people around us: lawyers, managers that I was really pissed off at,” the guitarist tells Rolling Stone. “It’s a short bit of angst and pissed-off-ness about these people that ripped us off forever. The funny thing is that 20 years later, there’s a whole new batch of people I’m pissed off at. The lyrics still work.”
The penultimate track on Music From Another Dimension! is the second lead vocal by the guitarist on Aerosmith’s reunion album, but the band’s lead singer, Steven Tyler, still had an important role on “Something.” Tyler takes over the drums here, returning the partnership of the Toxic Twins back to the first time they met in 1970.
“When we first started playing together, it was him on drums. I thought it would be perfect to get Steven to play drums on ‘Something’ because it’s such a simple song. Steven played great,” Perry says of the 2011 session. “It’s ironic that our very first meeting together and playing together was that way. We stripped it right down to the basics. I left every mistake on there I could. I tuned the guitar down from an E to a C so that the strings would wang and twang.”
Playing along with Perry, Tyler and the band on “Something” are the heaving keyboards of frequent Aerosmith sideman Paul Santo and Dr. Rudy Tanzi, a friend of Perry and a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. It’s one of the darkest songs on the album; however, as furious as Perry sounds on “Something,” it came together at a time when the members of Aerosmith finally put their anger at each other aside to complete their first album of new material in 11 years.
“This time, we had a vibe,” says Perry of making the album. “Everyone was ready to go and we weren’t going to stop until the record was done. We didn’t know how good it was going to be. You never know that. All you can do is hope and do your best.”