Meat Loaf is a rock n’ roll legend, but amongst all the Bat Out Of Hell concept albums and long-storied hits, he has never recorded or released a straight forward rock album in his entire career. Hang Cool Teddy Bear is the first rock album from one of the most recognizable names in rock. It’s an all-star studded state of affair with such notables as Kara DioGuardi from American Idol, actor Jack Black, guitar hero Steve Vai (Whitesnake, David Lee Roth), Queen guitarist Brian May and House television star Hugh Laurie.
The songs are top notch, with such writers as DioGuardi, Our Lady Peace singer Raine Maida, Justin Hawkins (ex-vocalist of The Darkness) and Jon Bon Jovi and his hit-making cohort Desmond Child. Additionally, the performances are stellar, led by the powerhouse and hot production skills of Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Adam Lambert, Shinedown). Standouts include a rockin’ Living On The Outside and the catchy Los Angeloser.
House’s Laurie offers a great piano backing on the track If I Can’t Have You, showing his accomplished skills on a great song, which also features a vocal rundown with Idol’s DioGuardi. For many, this might be the first time hearing DioGuardi’s powerful pipes in a recording.
It’s really hard to hear a Meat Loaf song and not think of the Bat Out Of Hell albums, or even his memorable stint in Rocky Horror – but when you put aside all that and listen to Hang Cool Teddy Bear as a rock album without any expectations of grandeur that might be in all those other albums and songs, what you get is a cool rock album. While Meat Loaf’s vocals always tend to lend themselves to that of a master storyteller, it’s great to hear the man just let go and rock out for a change. I’d be curious to know if he has fun playing this stuff live.
With such great production, killer musicians, awesome guest stars and a charismatic Meat Loaf letting loose, this is his most credible album in many years. Maybe it’s time for the Bat to hang cool for a little bit as the Teddy Bear takes over for a while.