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Aerosmith, ‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’ – Song Review

Aerosmith
Columbia Records

Red flags were raised when it was learned that one of the songs on Aerosmith‘s new record, ‘Music from Another Dimension,’ was a duet with country superstar Carrie Underwood. The very thought of it seemed more manufactured by the folks at ‘American Idol,’ which Underwood won in 2005 and Steven Tyler was a judge for two seasons, than a mutual admiration society of two artists.

And then there’s the thought of the Underwood, 29, singing a love duet with the 64-year old Tyler. Heck, even his fiance is close to 40! So while the whole thing seems doomed from the start, that doesn’t mean we won’t listen to it objectively and judge the song on its merits.

It should be noted that ‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’ is not a remake of either Michael Jackson‘s ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ or Don Gibson’s country classic that Ray Charles took to No. 1 in 1962. Instead, it’s credited to Marti Frederiksen, and the band, minus Joe Perry. More’s the pity, because ‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’ could have used some of the qualities that made those songs hits.

‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’ starts off pleasantly enough in typical Aerosmith power ballad mode (not unlike, say, ‘What it Takes,’). Then Underwood’s vocal comes in harmlessly enough, and a 12-string electric guitar rings in what should be a solid chorus.

Except that somebody forgot to tell that to the songwriters, because what follows is a tuneless, formulaic chorus that sounds taken from the Nashville scrapheap. Tyler is in fine voice, but Underwood strains on the top-of-her-range harmonies. She sounds a little more in her comfort zone when she takes the lead on the second verse and chorus, but her pleasant, albeit bland, voice only spotlights the song’s weaknesses.

Aerosmith’s slow songs usually don’t deserve the bad rap they get. There’s usually a moment where the band’s talent cuts through the dross, and even ‘Dimension’s’ other power ballad, ‘What Could Have Been Love,’ has its charms. But ‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’ fails on all accounts, most of all the decision to record with Underwood. As opposed to their groundbreaking, genre-crossing remake of ‘Walk this Way’ with Run-DMC, the special guest brings nothing to the table to make one recommend this song, which should be treated as a low point in Aerosmith’s history.

Hear Aerosmith’s ‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’

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