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Rap out of Hell
on 4 March 2012
Well, what a surprise. A new Meat Loaf album in, what, less than two years after the previous? And one which he rated so highly; you could almost have expected him to make 'Hang Cool...' his last to go out with a bang.
It could be said that this one is more for the fans. It's not as full-on or as hard-rocking. No swearing. There are more piano orientated songs, especially in the opener. There are some sax-led moments and even some fiddle. This kind of takes you back in time a bit to some of his earlier stuff.
Contrast the opening bars to the first song 'All of Me', to the right old din that brought 'Hang Cool...' into our shocked ears in its first few seconds. This new album is just a little bit more laid back, isn't it?
I like 'All of Me'. Meat is opening his soul to us and sharing with us his insecurities, anger and shame. Well, he says he is. But I can't make out what is the cause of his anger, insecurity and shame. I'm not clear on what he's raging about. Or is it clearer on 'The Giving Tree'? Shame about the strange knocking during the verse. 'Live or Die' isn't a bad rocker. Up to this point, we are treated to some rock of good quality which is stiring enough, even if the songs feel a bit dependant on a good chorus.
Then the unthinkable happens. The unforgiveable. No, I'm sorry, Meat, but I can't get over it. You have some rapping on your album. How in the name of Bat out of Hell could you have done it?
We stumble on. It can't happen again. Can it?
I quite like the cover version of 'California Dreaming. 'Party of One' is okay, if not a bit pedestrian, and it rocks along quite nicely. 'Another Day' is a stand-out. There is plenty of emotion throughout the album but this one does make your goose-bumps come up a bit.
There are several references to rain and stormy weather, starting with '40 Days'. Ok, I get the symbolism of rain, storms, and dark clouds. I do feel there's a bit too much of it, though. 'Stand in the Storm' starts off really well, and just when I'm really starting to enjoy it and put the whole rapping episode behind me, we get this bloody awful middle section which to me sounds like, well, rap.
So, by now, I'm really starting to lose interest. The attempt at building up the power with the big vocals on the pen-ultimate track is wearing thin.
This album could have been better without those blisteringly bad moments. This is now his worst album since 'Blind Before I Stop'. Thanks, but I'll stick with B.o.o.H 1,2 and 3 along with Bad Attitude, Welcome to the Neighbourhood and the first half of 'Couldn't Have Said it Better'.