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Meat Loaf – Hang Cool Teddy Bear: Review

On May 11, the rock star, Meat Loaf, is to release his upcoming album, Hang Cool Teddy Bear. It is the eleventh studio album for the artist (the first being released in 1971). And though the man is in his sixties, the album rages with youthful attitude. However, it feels more immature and annoying than identifiably youthful. Perhaps, this is the intent, but it does not work for me.

The Music (rating: C+)

  1. Peace on Earth
  2. Living on the Outside
  3. Los Angeloser
  4. If I Can’t Have You
  5. Love is Not Real (Next Time You Stab Me in the Back)
  6. Like a Rose
  7. Song of Madness
  8. Did You Ever Love Somebody
  9. California Isn’t Big Enough (Hey There Girl)
  10. Running Away From Me
  11. Lets Be in Love
  12. If it Rains
  13. Elvis in Vegas

The album follows the style of general hard rock. And like many general hard rock bands (Buckcherry comes to mind), the lyrics often revolve around simplistic themes, such as women and… well in this case mainly women. Most of the tracks are energetic and catchy, with the odd down-paced song. Much of the album is certainly playable on the radio. To some, this means it is an easy and convenient listen. But to me, this means it sounds much like all the other undereducated radio music.

It is difficult to say what Meat Loaf is trying to achieve with the album. The lyrics are extremely basic (unintelligent even), but there are some songs that include spoken word. Maybe he is trying to appear smart for the dumb audiences or vice versa, but either way does not seem to work well in his favor. In fact, the lyrics are the definite downfall of Hang Cool Teddy Bear. However, Meat Loaf has managed to build his fanbase off of similar lyrical themes. Regarding his fans, their approval will come from whether they want to hear his classic sound or progression in his music. But to newcomers, such as myself, it will more often be a miss than a hit.

Putting the lyrics aside, the overall musicianship in the album is somewhat average. There are a few catchy guitar riffs and some nice background piano, but nothing overly creative or technical. The drum performance is above average, though only slightly. Meat Loaf’s vocals are the strongest point of the album. His phrasing is adequate and he exemplifies decent range and control. Of course he is not among the best, but he is definitely good enough to save the album from the potential disaster it could have been.

Basically, this is an album only for the die-hard Meat Loaf fans. It is rather shallow both lyrically and musically (more so the former). Though some will find enjoyment in it, I doubt that Hang Cool Teddy Bear will be able to stand the test of time.

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