Continued from yesterday’s post I’m talking a little about each Meat Loaf album and my favourite track on it. Yesterday I tackled everything pre-2000, today is everything between 2000 and now (it’s a bit premature to say what my favourite songs from future albums will be).
Again, the links to the winning songs are in the summary, at the end.
Unfortunately, today I must start with the one Loaf album I don’t like. So here goes…
Couldn’t Have Said It Better, 2003:
If I’d Lie For You (on Welcome To The Neighbourhood, discussed in part 1) was trying to be Anything For Love, the title track here was REALLY trying to be Anything For Love, and failing to live up to its predecessor even more miserably. Most of the rest of the album wasn’t any better. It seemed mostly defensive, but the shell was mostly hollow. But there are a couple of shining moments that contrast with the rest of the album. Narrowly missing out on being one of the shining moments is Because Of You, which has a cool chorus, but otherwise has absolutely no substance. Shallow, were Meat Loaf usually manages to run much deeper. The runner-up track is a cover of Bob Dylan’s Forever Young. As a bonus, that song finishes, but the track continues in silence for a couple of minutes before bursting into a hidden song on the same track, a cover of Mercury Blues, which is a lot of fun. The shinier light on the album, though, is Did I Say That (the album version is a bit longer than the music video). It’s the end of a relationship, neither side is innocent, his thoughts are conflicted, switching between giving blame and taking blame… this song feels really honest, and the other songs on the album seem to lack that.
Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose, 2006:
I remember finding out about this album while it was being highlighted by Ken Bruce on Radio 2. The long-awaited Meat Loaf studio cover of Jim Steinman’s Bad For Good hit the radio. Major geek-out moment, and ditching the “God Speed” section was absolutely the right choice. And the rest of the album, what a stunning return to form. Alive reminds me of Bon Jovi back when they were good (no offense, Mr Jovi. Remind me to do a post about Bon Jovi one day). The Steinman-penned tracks In The Land Of The Pig, The Butcher Is King, and If It Ain’t Broke, Break It. The absolute highlight of the album, however, hands-down, is Seize The Night.
On Steinman’s solo album Bad For Good, Track 10 was an instrumental called “The Storm”. It sounded like it could be from a movie soundtrack. On the song “Bad For Good”, it was easy to turn the lyric “You can hide away forever from the storm” to “You can hide away forever from Track 10″, for people who perversely enjoy doing such things. Like me.
Anyway, Seize The Night starts out with a redone version of The Storm, which was a total surprise to me when I heard it first. Big geek-out. At a point where The Storm shifts down a gear, Seize the Night transitions into a relatively soft section of singing. Which transitions again, and gears up and gears up, and runs screaming into Back Into Hell, a (technically) instrumental track from Bat II. The rest of the track switches between the song Seize The Night, and Back Into Hell. It’s a treat for fans who’ve followed both Steinman and Loaf over the years.
Hang Cool Teddy Bear, 2010:
A concept album, with the concept being a soldier dying on a battlefield, and possible futures flashing before his eyes, rather than his past. The songwriters weren’t told the concept, lest the songs become too literal, but knowing the concept you can see it. Very interesting. Also features Loaf’s first swear on an album (the word for female dog, in the duet with Jack Black, “Like A Rose”). I like Living On The Outside (very different from Standing On The Outside), the duet in If I Can’t Have You (reminiscent of the altercation with Cher in Deadringer), The Song Of Madness and its mythic imagery. The winner, though, is Love Is Not Real/Next Time You Stab Me In The Back. The character has obviously been emotionally hurt in his relationships. “Next time you stab me in the back, you better do it to my face”, perhaps intentionally quoting Firefly.
Hell In A Handbasket, 2011:
It took me a while to warm up to Hang Cool, Teddy Bear, so I listened to this album before I got it. The first three tracks (All Of Me, The Giving Tree, Live Or Die), were enough to convince me the album was worth getting. Think I like Live Or Die the most of those. I enjoy the antisocialness of Party Of One. I think the track I like most on the album is Stand In The Storm, a collaboration with other contestants on a Celebrity version of some reality show that Mr Loaf was in, but I didn’t see.
And I find out there’s a new album, Braver Than We Are, coming out either later this year or early next year. That one will have to wait…
Summary for part 2:
Did I Say That? music video / full version
Seize The Night
Love Is Not Real/Next Time You Stab Me In The Back
Stand In The Storm