Meat Loaf - Hang Cool Teddy Bear

2010-06-07 09:58
Hang Cool Teddy Bear

In every round of the show, the remaining contestants would be given a popular rock song to perform to a live studio audience. Without fail, these would be near-vulgar displays of condescending pomposity, as if every damn song was the finale of some imaginary awards show where everyone was a rock superstar and nobody was drinking.

Each and every performance would feature highnotes from the summit of Everest, air punches that would make Lou Gosset Jr. haemorrhage, and a crowd of hideously coiffed young hipsters hopped up on Sprite Lite, plastic swag and an "enthusiastic applause" cue sign.

Meat Loaf's eleventh album is like that. All 65 godawful minutes of it.

Hang Cool Teddy Bear is a barrage of – what the hell does Meat Loaf make anyway? Orchestral rock? Power Literature of mystery? Operatic Rama?

It's not un-cool enough that it’s "based on the short story... by Kilian Kerwin" (Ah, a concept album, then!) but it also shamelessly headlines the fact – in big bold white letters - that it’s PRODUCED BY ROB CAVALLO and MIXED BY CHRIS LORD-ALGE!

And the line of guests performing runs all the way out to the smoking balcony – including (but not limited to) Justin Hawkins, Kara Dioguardi, Dr House (Hugh Laurie), Brian May, Steve Vai, Jon Bon Jovi, and perhaps tellingly, Jack Black.

How this assortment of mostly reputable artists conspired to create this overblown, farcically anachronistic coffee coaster is unfathomable; not least for Cavallo, whose pedigree ranges from virtually all of Green Day's output to the quietly excellent "Divine Discontent" (2002) by Sixpence None The Richer.

Which means that this album hopes to sell on its namedropping. Because its content (see opening paragraphs) feels as VH1 as Rock Star Supernova did. Minus the classic hits, the Sprite lite and the swag.

So what if no point on the album comes close to the sub-aquatic nadir that was "I Will Do Anything For Love"? It makes a valiant effort in places, and occasionally comes damn close. To sum up rather obviously: "I would do anything to get out from under the shadow of Jim Steinman, but I won’t do this."

There was once a reality music show called Rock Star Supernova, hosted by Dave Navarro and Brooke Burke, which sought through process of elimination to find a "frontperson" for a superband consisting of Tommy Lee, Duff McKagan and others on a US tour.

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