Aerosmith, ‘What Could Have Been Love’ – Song Review
If you want more guitars, more ‘Legendary Child,’ more of the much-hyped Jack Douglas sound of Aerosmith‘s rockin’ ’70s, then their new single is not going to satisfy. You might be better off checking out the band’s other new song, ‘Lover Alot,’ instead.
‘What Could Have Been Love’ is the AC radio hit the group needs to reach a wide audience and sell a ton of copies of ‘Music From Another Dimension‘ on Nov. 6.
Not surprisingly, Douglas didn’t produce this power-ballad. The honor goes to longtime friend and collaborator Marti Frederiksen, who also co-wrote the song along with Steven Tyler and keyboardist Russ Irwin (Frederiksen also helped write ‘Jaded’ from the ‘Just Push Play’ album).
Much like ‘Jaded,’ ‘Cryin’ and ‘Crazy,’ ‘What Could Have Been Love’ is a tight lyric wrapped in bright production that highlights Tyler’s voice.
“I wake up and wonder how everything went wrong / Am I the one to blame / I gave up and left you for a nowhere bound train,” he sings to open the song. (Can we please stop using trains as the ultimate rock metaphor?)
“Now that train (sigh) has come and gone / I close my eyes and see you lying in my bed / And I still dream of that day,” Tyler adds to finish the first verse. The backing vocalists take to repeating his lyrics late in the song, adding the only over-the-top moment of pop sensibility.
The stock chorus lacks imagination or real detail, but Tyler pulls it up with a passion one wouldn’t expect from a man who once broke hearts like Joey Kramer breaks drum sticks.
“What could have been love / Should have been the only thing that was ever meant to be / Didn’t know, couldn’t see what was right in front of me / And now that I’m alone all I have is emptiness that comes from being free / What could have been love will never be,” he sings.
The bottom line is that if this site was called Ultimate Classic Power Ballad, ‘What Could Have Been Love’ would be a staff favorite. Rock fans can appreciate the necessity of this style, but few will embrace it like a song that finds Joe Perry shredding on guitar, or Tyler doing his trademark vocal calisthenics between harmonica solos.
Hear Aerosmith Perform ‘What Could Have Been Love’