Meat Loaf, "Hang Cool Teddy Bear"

76 Billboard Rating

With Rob Cavallo, who produced Green Day's 2004 rock opera "American Idiot" onboard, it's no surprise that Meat Loaf's latest album, "Hang Cool Teddy Bear," is fit for the stage. But while old-school rap nods and blunt lyricism add to the set's allure, its fluidity suffers. But more familiar-sounding Meat Loaf cuts like "Did You Ever Love Somebody" punctuate such rebellious tracks as the punky "Peace on Earth" ("The only thing you can count on in this life is regret"). Elsewhere, the song "Love Is Not Real" is infused with compassion, while the raunchy "Like a Rose" reflects a cliché rock star attitude ("It doesn't really matter that she isn't 21/'Cause she's always backstage when the band gets done"). And on the hip-hop-flavored "Los Angeloser," the veteran rocker introduces a scratch-laden beat with a dispassionate "yo" before incorporating more slang, proving he's just as progressive as he is wistful. --Melanie Bertoldi

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