released May 11th, 2010

from the album - Los Angeloser

from all music

Marvin Lee Aday is a singer and occasional actor who, for reasons never definitively answered, has recorded under the name Meat Loaf. In all likelihood a childhood nickname, the tag stuck, and many puns followed as the performer — who tipped the scales at well over 300 pounds — became one of the biggest chart acts of the 1970s before enjoying a commercial renaissance two decades later. Meat Loaf was born in Dallas, TX. The product of a family of gospel singers, he moved to Los Angeles in 1967 and formed a group known as both Meat Loaf Soul and Popcorn Blizzard. The band earned some renown through opening gigs in support of the Who, the Stooges, and Ted Nugent before Meat Loaf won a role in a West Coast production of the musical Hair. During a tour stop in Detroit, he and a fellow castmate named Stoney teamed to record the 1971 LP Stoney & Meat Loaf for Motown's Rare Earth imprint.

After a tenure in the off-Broadway production Rainbow (In New York), Meat Loaf earned a slot in More Than You Deserve, a musical written by classically trained pianist Jim Steinman. An appearance in the cult film The Rocky Horror Picture Show followed, and in 1976 Meat Loaf also handled vocal duties on one side of Nugent's LP Free-for-All. Soon, Meat Loaf reteamed with Steinman for a tour with the National Lampoon road show, after which Steinman began composing a musical update of the Peter Pan story titled Never Land. Ultimately, much of what Steinman composed for Never Land became absorbed into 1977's Bat Out of Hell, the album that made Meat Loaf a star. Produced by Todd Rundgren, the record was pure melodrama, a teen rock opera that spawned three Top 40 singles — "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," and "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" — on its way to becoming one of the best-selling albums of the decade.

A sequel was planned, but in 1981 Steinman issued his own solo debut, Bad for Good. After Meat Loaf released his own follow-up, Dead Ringer, rumors began flying, and it was reported that Loaf had been unable to record the songs that comprised the Steinman album due to physical and emotional problems. Eventually, Steinman filed suit against Meat Loaf and his label, Epic, and none of his songs appeared on the 1983 Meat Loaf effort Midnight at the Lost and Found. After subsequent records like 1984's Bad Attitude and 1986's Blind Before I Stop bombed, the singer declared bankruptcy and began physical and psychological rehabilitation to restore his road-ravaged voice.

After several years in relative obscurity, Meat Loaf and Steinman reunited in 1993 for Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, which continued the original's story line and duplicated its thunderous sound. The follow-up proved almost as successful as the first Bat Out of Hell, selling over five million copies and yielding a massive hit single with "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." Without Steinman, he returned in 1995 with Welcome to the Neighborhood. The career-long concert compilation Live Around the World followed one year later, but Meat Loaf released no more new material until well into the 2000s. Finally he recorded Couldn't Have Said It Better, which was released on Sanctuary in 2003. Three years later, after resolving the disputes surrounding its release, Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose came out (sans Steinman, though many of his songs were used, which was what caused the problems in the first place), tracks from which were added to the production of Loaf's Bat Out of Hell play. Meat Loaf's 11th studio album, Hang Cool Teddy Bear, appeared in 2010.

album review

Hang Cool Teddy Bear may not be an explicit sequel to Bat Out of Hell — not in its title or in its composition, with Meat Loaf once again parting ways with Jim Steinman, the architect of the Bat songs — but it sure has enough bombast to trick anybody into thinking it’s the fourth volume of Bat. It’s not, of course: unlike those three career-defining records, Hang Cool Teddy Bear boasts an actual narrative — a hazy, unformed tale of a wounded soldier — instead of merely being conceptual, a difference that should give the album shape particularly when married with Rob Cavallo’s crisp, bright production. Cavallo corrects all the errors of the heavy-handed metallic Bat Out of Hell III — its slick, processed grind playing like an unfortunate artifact from the moussed and teased ’80 Sunset Strip — but the album flails nearly as much as that misbegotten 2006 sequel because it lacks Steinman’s unerring ear for the ludicrous. Plenty try to ape it — notably, Justin Hawkins, who made his bones with the parodic rock of the Darkness, American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, Bon Jovi & Desmond Child — but none achieve anything close, either pushing fist-pumping, Springsteen arena-anthems, or rockers bloated with too much room for guitar solos, both lacking hooks. Meat Loaf also gets assistance in the studio by a true motley crew — Steve Vai and Brian May double-team on guitar, Jack Black sings backing vocals, and House’s Hugh Laurie pounds the piano — and frankly, he kinds of needs it, sounding every one of his 62 years as he valiantly tries to scale the artificial peaks of this pomp, trying to sing a line as stupid as “I can barely put my dick in my pants” with some semblance of dignity. Not that dignity was ever that important to Meat Loaf, but the shallow spectacle of Hang Cool Teddy Bear lacks the absurd joy of his best: you can hear everybody involved working far too hard to achieve next to nothing.

Track Listing

1 Peace on Earth 6:38
2 Living on the Outside 5:03
3 Los Angeloser Michael 4:09
4 If I Can't Have You DioGuardi, Freeman, Maida 5:00
5 Love Is Not Real/Next Time You Stab Me in the Back Aday, Cavallo, Hawkins, Nally 7:33
6 Like a Rose Kadish, Scherer 3:16
7 Did You Ever Love Somebody Malamet, Vidal 4:02
8 Song of Madness Aday, Muhoberac 5:30
9 Running Away from Me Foreman 3:54
10 Let's Be in Love Becker, White, Wollo 5:11
11 If It Rains Johnston, Mason 3:56
12 Elvis in Vegas Bon Jovi, Child, Falcon 6:01