Meat Loaf - Hang Cool Teddy Bear
Loud & Proud Records
Cabaret Rock/Metal
13 songs (64' 56")
Release year: 2010
Meat Loaf
Reviewed by Brock
Archive review

Meat Loaf has become known over the years as a kind of laugh riot, a guilty pleasure that most people would rather not admit to enjoying in any sense other than the ironic sort. This now conventional view is completely off the mark for anyone who is able and willing to actually digest the bulk of his catalog. Meat Loaf is a musical weapon of war, a tool that, when utilized properly, is more potent than just about anything (or anyone) else. On this 2010 release, he gave us all a glimpse into this potency. Well, at least he mostly did. As with any Meat Loaf record without the presence of Jim Steinman, it isn't without an occasional slipup.

The opening track on the record is Peace on Earth, a chugging monster of an entity that sits nicely alongside past Meat Loaf tracks, like Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back. It also becomes clear that, as with any of his records, he is performing this track through the eyes of a character. His performance on this track is top-notch and isn't without a marvelously executed sense of fun and humor. The truly remarkable thing about the misconception of Meat Loaf is that this sense of playfulness seems to be swept under the rug. In actuality, Meat Loaf is one of the most self-aware artists out there and this is one of the things that sets him a cut above the rest of the pack. Something else that is significant to point out is that the producer of this record was Rob Cavallo, who has produced platinum records for both Green Day and Shinedown. This opening track's metallic stomp isn't unlike Shinedown's hit track The Sound of Madness.

Cutting right to the core of the record's sense of humor, Los Angeloser, the third track, written by James Michael of Sixx: A.M. fame, is straight up one of the funniest rock songs of recent years. The best thing about this track is the fact that Meat Loaf is in on the joke that's constantly bestowed upon him at his expense. He has reached the point in his career where he doesn't need to please anyone and has complete freedom over the material that he puts forth. On tracks such as this one, perfectly realized as the general vibe and hoot of the entire record, it's clear that Meat Loaf is having the time of his life putting out this music.

The piece of the record that is perhaps the most interesting, though, is the track Song of Madness. Appropriately titled, the presence of Steve Vai's guitar giving it a definite driving edge. It's easy to forget, or so it would seem for many, that Meat Loaf is fully capable of kicking a serious amount of ass. Chock this forgetfulness up to none other than the misconceptions about him that have existed since the release of the iconic Bat Out of Hell. To Meat's credit, he's always been keenly aware of his own vision and presentation, even if the presses and the general public haven't been. Song of Madness is an easy contender for the most badass track of 2010.

In the end, Hang Cool Teddy Bear is honestly a very good record. It isn't perfect. There are couple of moments where the record just bores until it inevitably picks up again. As far as Meat Loaf records not carrying the "Bat" label go, it's one of the better ones. You can probably make a case, in fact, that this record is just as good as Bat III. The many guest appearances help make this so. Steve Vai, Jack Black, and Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) all adding to the fun of the record. This aspect, though, also could be said to be its one Achilles' heel. At times the record feels flimsy, as if there isn't a strong unit holding it all together, and, the truth is, there really isn't. Record stores could very easily stock this record under the label "Meat Loaf & Friends". Not that there's inherently anything wrong with this, mind you, but if you're looking for something as focused as Bat or Bat II, look, well, to Bat or Bat II. You won't get much more of a complaint from yours truly on this record, though. It's an underappreciated piece of work, to be sure, as is Meat Loaf himself.

Killing Songs :
Living on the Outside, If I Can't Have You, Song of Madness, Elvis in Vegas
Brock quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Meat Loaf that we have reviewed:
Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell reviewed by Aleksie and quoted CLASSIC
Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell III - The Monster Is Loose reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 80 / 100
Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell II - Back Into Hell reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 97 / 100
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