Deep Album Cuts Vol. 80: Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf's 13th solo album, Braver Than We Are, is out today, so I thought I'd look back at his weird spotty catalog and find the highlights.

Meat Loaf Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist): 

1. All Revved Up With No Place To Go
2. Heaven Can Wait
3. For Crying Out Loud
4. I'll Kill You If You Don't Come Back
5. Nocturnal Pleasure [Monologue by Jim Steinman]
6. You Can Never Be Too Sure About The Girl
7. One More Kiss (Night Of The Soft Parade)
8. Burning Down
9. Lost Boys And Golden Girls
10. Wasted Youth [Monologue by Jim Steinman]
11. Everything Louder Than Everything Else
12. Where The Rubber Meets The Road
13. Testify
14. Bad For Good [featuring Brian May]
15. Peace On Earth

Tracks 1, 2 and 3 from Bat Out Of Hell (1977)
Tracks 4 and 5 from Dead Ringer (1981)
Track 6 from Midnight At The Lost And Found (1983)
Tracks 7 and 8 from Blind Before I Stop (1986)
Tracks 9, 10 and 11 from Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell (1993)
Track 12 from Welcome To The Neighbourhood (1995)
Track 13 from Couldn't Have Said It Better (2003)
Track 14 from Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose (2006)
Track 15 from Hang Cool Teddy Bear (2010)

I should note that as a result of the ups and downs and label changes throughout Meat Loaf's career, a couple of his studio albums that aren't available on streaming services are not represented here -- 1985's Bad Attitude and 2011's Hell In A Handbasket. But it's OK that was limited in my selection, because I still had his two big blockbuster albums -- the first two Bat Out Of Hell albums. And his songs tend to be so long that I was only able to fit 15 tracks into 80 minutes, tying Madonna for the lowest number of tracks in a deep cuts playlist. And even then, two of the tracks are weird creepy spoken interludes by songwriter Jim Steinman.

The story of Meat Loaf's career is the story of a unique vocal talent hitching his wagon to a unique songwriting talent with such chemistry that their fates were basically intertwined for life. Jim Steinman can write pretty straightforward hits -- including "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" and a few other non-Meat smashes -- but it's hard to imagine that all the goofy overblown eccentric glory of his songs would've been realized on the scale they were without Meat Loaf singing them. And it's hard to imagine Bitch Tits, not a songwriter by trade, would've become a star without the right writer backing him.

But after Bat Out Of Hell's success, Meat Loaf had his first struggles with losing his voice, and wasn't able to record the first set of songs Steinman wrote as a follow-up. So Steinman sang the songs on his only solo album, Bad For Good, and wrote some more for Meat's album Dead Ringer, both of which were released in 1981 with a fraction of the success they'd enjoyed in the '70s. Meat Loaf's '80s are one of the more famous lost decades in pop music, as he lobbed four albums into an increasingly indifferent marketplace. I've always been curious about those fallow period albums, and to be honest there are some gems -- "You Can Never Be Too Sure About The Girl" is the best song actually co-written by Meat Loaf, and the glossy synth sound of Blind Before I Stop suits him better than I expected it to. And of course, Meat and Steinman would reunite and squabble a few times after that, including the massive comeback Bat Out Of Hell II. And two of the best songs from Meat's later albums, "Bad For Good" and "Lost Boys And Golden Girls," are re-recordings from the Steinman album.

Meat Loaf will never be especially respectable, but "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" is one of the greatest songs ever as far as I'm concerned, and really that whole first album is a delight. I remember my mom and stepdad having the first two Bat Out Of Hell albums and Welcome To The Neighbourhood on in the house a lot, and a few years ago my brother-in-law and I discovered a shared love of Bat Out Of Hell, just a couple of millenials bonding over Meat Loaf. And if you've ever been amused by the fact that Meat Loaf released an album called Hang Cool Teddy Bear, you can hear him actually sing that phrase on the last track of the playlist.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic
Vol. 69: Chevelle
Vol. 70: Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
Vol. 71: Fantasia
Vol. 72: Heart
Vol. 73: Pitbull
Vol. 74: Nas
Vol. 75: Monica
Vol. 76: The Cars
Vol. 77: 112
Vol. 78: 2Pac
Vol. 79: Nelly
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