Aerosmith’s first album of new material in 11 years opens with the words “Hello, hello, hello . . . ” (on the track “LUV XXX”) and closes an hour later with the emotional farewell of “Another Last Goodbye.” Over a steady beat of piano, Steven Tyler sings a bittersweet lament: “While you’re on your way/I want to thank you for the ride/And pull the thorn out of my side.”
It took the band over a decade to get Music From Another Dimension! together, after years of false starts and breakups, so any “goodbye” is weighted with Aerosmith’s long history of great success and internal battles. Getting back in the studio with producer Jack Douglas – their main collaborator on the band’s greatest Seventies work – and finishing a new album was a huge accomplishment for all.
“We’re a band again, and holy shit, we’re in the studio,” Tyler tells Rolling Stone of the sessions in Boston and Los Angeles. “We had just gotten over breaking up again and going through the tumult that we go through at various times of our life – because we know how to be real good onstage, but I don’t know how to be a social animal. I can work a room, but when it comes to being intimate and honest and open, I don’t know how to offer that up all the time . . . We were in the studio and evoking what’s been tied up inside of us for years and getting that off our chest.”
To create the album’s closing song, Tyler teamed up again with Grammy-winning songwriter Desmond Child, who first worked with the band on the 1987 album Permanent Vacation. At Tyler’s first meeting with Child in the Eighties, they quickly wrote “Angel,” followed by “Dude Looks Like a Lady.” Other Aerosmith hits co-written by Child include “What It Takes” from 1989’s Pump and “Crazy” from 1993’s Get a Grip. On “Another Last Goodbye,” both Child and Tyler play piano as the Aerosmith singer wails and weeps at the end of a relationship.
“Every time the band fights, it happens,” Tyler says of the sentiment. “It’s about a guy who loves a girl so much. Is it a hello or another last goodbye? It’s something I’ve been working on for awhile.”
During the sessions, Tyler wrote string arrangements on a computer. “That is one of the most amazing songs that I ever heard him sing,” says drummer Joey Kramer. “The first time I heard it, I said it should go on the record the way it is, without the band – just with piano.”
Tyler says he had the example of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” in the back of his mind, and he’s already got big dreams for the new song. “I always envisioned playing that song with Adele opening up the Grammys,” says Tyler. “I just knew if she could hear that song, she’d freak. Thank God, she opened up that genre of music and made it really cool. You can’t deny that blues.”
The song is also a nod to the fans who have waited so long for new Aerosmith music. It’s only “goodbye” until the album’s closing words from Douglas, reprising the Outer Limits parody that opens the album, signing off with a hopeful, “Until next time.”