Back in 1977, Meat Loaf and songwriting buddy Jim Steinman dished up "Bat Out of Hell," one of rock's most beautifully bombastic, teen-dream albums of all time.

Back in 1977, Meat Loaf and songwriting buddy Jim Steinman dished up "Bat Out of Hell," one of rock's most beautifully bombastic, teen-dream albums of all time. Sadly, however, nothing Loaf has done since has come close to that technicolor classic, including the commercially successful sequel. "Couldn't Have Said It Better" is a lame piece of mimicry of those glory days. Lacking are the unforced passion, the cinematic imagery, the elaborate song structures and, not uncoincidentally, songsmith Steinman. A mix of clichéd rockers and flat ballads, most of the tracks never get off the ground. The whole thing feels like Loaf is trying too hard rather than sitting comfortably with what he's doing. "Couldn't Have Said It Better" would have been better left unsaid.—AZ