First Hit #1: September 5, 1998
This is possibly the most Diane Warren song that has ever been recorded. She’s been a successful songwriter for a while now, cropping up throughout the decades giving musicians something of a challenge. Her songs are generally pretty similar, big sentimental power ballads, but bands have the opportunity to either be subservient to the song and just sound like another Diane Warren hit, or make the song their own.
Most are subservient, and Aerosmith is possibly the most subservient of all.
It’s actually extremely difficult to hear much Aerosmith in the song. While it’s got Steven Tyler doing his best diva impression, otherwise the song doesn’t bear much of the rest of the band. Aerosmith is not a string quartet, after all, and this song is all strings. Oh sure, there’s some guitar laced in there, almost as busywork to give Joe Perry something to do, but that barely counts. It’s a solo song with the popular band name scribbled on top, recorded for Tyler’s daughter’s big move. But really, while he’s giving it his all in the vocal, it’s not actually a Steven Tyler song either, this is all Diane Warren, the culmination of themes and ideas that she’s been working on for the past decade. Tyler is a tool she is using to build a her ultimate power ballad weapon. No matter whose name is listed in the artist field, this is all her. Popular opinion is somewhat divided – it was nominated for a Razzie and an Oscar – but your opinion of the song is almost inextricably woven into your opinion of Diane Warren.
I think the song is a bit much, myself, but then I kind of think her songwriting style is a bit much in general.