HANG COOL TEDDY BEAR
Released April 19, 2010 (Loud & Proud Records/Roadrunner Records)
CD Track List:
01. Peace On Earth
02. Living On The Outside
03. Los Angeloser
04. If I Can’t Have You
05. Love is Not Real/Next Time You Stab Me In The Back
06. Like A Rose
07. Song Of Madness
08. Did You Ever Love Somebody
09. 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
Deluxe Edition Bonus CD: Casa De Carne Live
01. I Want You So Hard
02. Break It
03. Blind As A Bat
04. Amnesty is Granted
05. Rock And Roll Dreams
06. Anything For Love
07. 2 Out Of 3 Ain’t Bad
08. Bat Out Of Hell
10. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road
Meat Loaf – vocals
Paul Crook – guitar
Randy Flowers – guitar and vocals
Tim Pierce – guitar
Justin Hawkins – guitar and vocals
James Michael – guitar and vocals
Rick Brantley – guitar and vocals
Rob Cavallo – additional guitars
Chris Chaney – bass
Kasim Sulton – bass and vocals
John Miceli – drums
Jamie Muhoberac – keyboards
Patti Russo – vocals
CC Coletti – vocals
Kara DioGuardi – vocals (4)
Jack Black – vocals (6)
Brian May – guitar (5)
Steve Vai – guitar (5 & 7)
Hugh Laurie – piano (4)
Produced by Rob Cavallo. Engineered by Doug McKean.
Meat Loaf hasn’t really had a consistently solid album since the legendary Bat Out Of Hell. There have been great songs on everything since, but the albums as a whole have been a mish mash of highs and lows. His latest CD, Hang Cool Teddy Bear, even with its long list of guests, seems to be another hit and miss affair.
“Peace On Earth” starts things off with the usual theatrical aplomb that is Meat Loaf‘s calling card, so things seem promising. Then he starts sliding downwards with “Los Angeloser” in which the first line has Meat Loaf declaring, ‘Yo baby I wrote you this poem’, and the whole song is dotted with this kind of talky sing-song gimmick which just sounds silly. Up we go again with “If I Can’t Have You” which is pretty good — Meat Loaf has always had a knack for getting the best female powerhouse vocalists to compliment him and this time it is Kara DioGuardi.
Even with guitar appearances from Brian May and Steve Vai, “Love Is Not Real/Next Time You Stab Me In The Back” can’t be saved from being a self-indulgent drawn out bore, followed by some rap-rock Beastie Boys imitation on “Like A Rose”. In “California Isn’t Big Enough (Hey There Girl)” Meat Loaf sings, ‘You’re so cute I wanna smash your face’, and just when I thought the lyrics couldn’t get any more nonsensical he comes out with the gem, ‘I can barely fit my dick in my pants’. About now I’m beginning to think that the best thing about Hang Cool Teddy Bear is the cover art.
Things bounce back with a familiar and recognizable Meat-esque sounding “Lets Be In Love”, featuring the wonderful voice of Patti Russo, and the Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child co-penned “Elvis In Vegas” is a pleasant enough closer.
I don’t know if Meat Loaf is trying to be hip or is just exploring a new direction with some of these absurd lyrics — or is it some midlife crisis? That might to be the problem with this disc as well, it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. Some stupid lyrics aside, the songs are a disappointment too, although to give Meat Loaf some credit he can still belt it out vocally.
I’d like to be able to say ‘two out of three ain’t bad’, but in the case of Hang Cool Teddy Bear it’s more 4 out of 13 ain’t good enough. There is an ingredient missing in this ‘meatloaf’, and I reckon it’s Jim Steinman.
www.meatloaf.net – www.myspace.com/meatloaf – www.loudandproudrecords.com
Reviewed by Tania for Sleaze Roxx, July 2010