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Andrew’s Judgmental Album Reviews: Meat Loaf – Braver Than We Are (2016)

In light of his recent passing, the JAR will do something for the first time. We’re going to take a look at Meat Loaf’s last album where he reconciled with Jim Steinman and felt more like a goodbye to the Bat Out of Hell series, and now, to us as well. Take a look!

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In light of his recent passing, the JAR will do something for the first time. We’re going to take a look at Meat Loaf’s last album where he reconciled with Jim Steinman and felt more like a goodbye to the Bat Out of Hell series, and now, to us as well. Take a look!

So this one strikes a little closer to home than some. Meat Loaf was a big musical presence in my life, his singing style is something I’ve adapted/worked with for my own and he rarely had a terrible album (hey Blind Before I Stop is just super 80s and unexpected, but not awful). I managed to see him in concert in Atlantic City during the Bases Loaded Tour in 2006. Damn that was 16 years ago…I’m old.

ANYWAY – most of us should know Meat Loaf either from his own music, acting or of course being Eddie in Rocky Horror Picture Show (the combo platter of music and acting). Now we may not ever know what happened to Saturday night, but let’s see how Meat said goodbye to Bat and to all of us.

  • Artist: Meat Loaf
  • Album: Braver Than We Are (2016)
  • Label: 429 Records
  • Total Track Time: 74:33

Who Needs the Young starts with an old 50s bandstand kind of swing, but much slower to get across the perspective of old people ragging on the young. So you already can feel the tongue in cheek approach winding up. The vocal delivery is more akin to theater, where every time there’s a short coming of age, there’s a small drop in the beat to insult the young. “My eyes aren’t what they used to be, Blind them!” type of commentary. So it’s really amusing in the vaudeville approach, which we haven’t heard in some time, so it’s very evident Steinman has more say in this album than Bat out of Hell 3 (though I did enjoy that album). Going All the Way is Just the Start (A Song in 6 Movements) we see a lot of history here. The song sounds very Bat out of Hell era and Karla Devito and Ellen Foley are featured on this album. The amusing thing here is there used to be tension between Ellen and Karla. Ellen was the original vocalist that recorded Paradise by the Dashboard Light with Meat, but Karla was the touring singer and in the video. So many people attribute the original vocals to Karla. The fact they all come together for this epic 11+ minute number is just history coming full circle with a beautiful Steinman arrangement. Also given the title, mentions of sins and flesh, plus the album title comes out of the lyrics in this song, it definitely feels like an interesting variation on the Paradise story with all of the “original” people involved. It’s masterfully artistic.

Speaking in Tongues opens with light piano and a gospel choir. This features singer Stacy Michelle who even 6 years later there isn’t a ton of information on her. But it’s a very stripped down, almost hymnal approach until you really break down the lyrics are about desire. Observe the lyrics; “It’s time to start a fire, And I know we’ll make it good, We’re overflowing with desire, You got the spark, I got the wood”. So even with older age, Steinman’s ability to approach raunchy/lewd topics can still come off borderline poetic. Speaking in tongues is much nicer than just flat out saying ‘Oral Sex the Rock Opera’. Loving You’s A Dirty Job (But Somebody’s Gotta Do It) this has Stacy on it again, and we’ve got quite a nice resounding song about persevering through tough times and staying together. These lines kinda get across the whole vibe of the song very well; “There were times when we fought like tigers, There were times we were damn good liars, There were times when we took our chances, There were times we were damn good dancers”. Conceptually seeming dated since many relationships end just because it ‘gets too hard’, but a song like this is pretty wholesome and proves a great mentality that should be more than norm than the exception.

Souvenirs the tempo is slower, but this is a different interpretation of Two out of Three Ain’t Bad. With a great horn section and the tempo slowed down to more of the country western approach Steinman originally went for, it adds new life to the original song and this perspective adjustment. “Step right out you poor little girl, and take your souvenirs”, it’s angry, spiteful and yet still trying to give both sides closure When we get to the fifth verse, it feels almost reflective, like that’s what he wished he said 40 years ago; it also proves as a great way to shift the tone. The feeling of acceptance and understanding is palpable, but still maintaining a small degree of spitefulness is logically petty. Only When I Feel a little interlude getting across a familiar ache of memory. Where things only hurt…when I feel. It’s short, not sweet, but poignant.

More while many may recognize this as a Sisters of Mercy cover, the song was co-written by Steinman. And much like we saw on Bat out of Hell 3 Steinman isn’t beyond giving Meat songs that he wrote for others (or even for Meat that the weird vocal issue period caused him to be unable to sing) as a cover/re-imagining. The heaviness of the song is akin to Monster is Loose from Bat 3. It’s a powerfully greedy and demanding song. Does it feel slightly out of place, in a vacuum, yes; if you look at how this seems to have taken the approach of finishing the Bat series, than it fits right in with the third album, so it’s actually a nice way to acknowledge it since the third album has many mixed feelings from longtime Meat Loaf fans. Godz the theatrical/vaudeville is very apparent in this song, but the way Meat’s voice is mixed in the songs is a little off-putting. Due to how prominent it is even with the backing vocals, instrumentation and cannon noises, it really shows the wear of age. Not the strongest song on the album thus far, but not unlistenable.

Skull of Your Country this is another situation of an older song that Steinman played around with. If I remember correctly this was the original version of Total Eclipse of the Heart. Since Steinman co-wrote Eclipse, they share the,”turn around bright eyes” reprise. But I’m fairly sure that I remember reading that Steinman thought Skull was too dark for what Bonnie Tyler was going for, so he used parts of Skull in Total Eclipse for something more radio friendly. And this is dark, not a bad song, extremely political, but also more generalizing about the direction of the country. Train of Love if the title didn’t get across the teenage horniness this line should get across the point, “You gotta give me a piece of your pie, Cause I been knocking on your window, I been knocking on your door, And I been trying to get myself inside”. It’s a fun Meat Loaf/Steinman song, so there’s no issue there. The vocals do leave a little to be desired (Meat was what, like 67/68 when he recorded these) so given the train on the tracks concept, you’d expect a little more…virility. And these lacks a little in totally driving the song home.

For What it’s Worth is a Buffalo Springfield cover. Given the fact this album came out in 2016, it was a fairly topical cover in a way with people’s opinions being divisive. Also the official album ended at Train of Love but this is the Japanese release with a few bonus tracks. Prize Fight Lover was written during the Hang Cool Teddy Bear era of Meat Loaf (2010) and it has a lot of original Bat elements. It’s lighter, referred to California wind and grabbing the throttle. The guitar isn’t as roaring, but the general progression feels a lot like a Bat Out of Hell homage, which is very appropriate on this album. This song would’ve definitely helped Teddy Bear, since that album was a one of Meat’s more lacking albums in his career. This brings back a lot of great feelings and imagery of Bat Out of Hell. I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) – Orchestral now if you don’t know this song, you must be 13. This revived Meat Loaf’s career in 1993 and made Bat a series to be heralded and looked forward to. This orchestral version has Imedla May doing the female vocals. You can hear this was recorded in Meat’s older years since the orchestral arrangements adds the power his voice has lost with age. It’s still a great rendition, and people still argue over what “that” is nearly 30 years later.

This is a wonderful swan song to Meat’s career, the Bat series that built him and the album art has Jim and Meat walking off. We see a great melding of the trilogy, interesting re-imaginings of Steinman songs that were famous from others or adjusted from the original concept. A great trip down memory lane, with a few reminders that age catches everyone which causes a few hiccups in delivery, but it almost adds to the gimmick. The fact the last few songs are where things started to unravel the most, helps along that idea of saying good bye and everyone gets old and it’s the end of the road.

If you enjoy Meat Loaf’s music, you will really enjoy this album. Trying to remember to be as objective as possible and not heavily biased, it’s a flawed album. But that shouldn’t discredit the fact that it is a beautiful love letter, with even deeper emotion now since he’s gone.

Final Judgment: 7.65/10


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Bandwagon Nerds #132: Double Trouble

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Bandwagon Nerds
Bandwagon Nerds #132: Double Trouble

The Nerds ran with a rather limited Bandwagon this week as Dave and PC Tunney, with a cameo or two from Rey Cash, offer up their thoughts on a bunch of trailers including Season 3 trailers for The Boys & Umbrella Academy, Netflix’s Geek Week, HBO’s upcoming George Carlin documentary, and a trailer for She-Hulk that generated a lot of buzz, but for the wrong reasons. The guys also touch base on some newsworthy topics including Disney + picking up and continuing Daredevil, a possible Captain Carter project in the works, and a huge announcement from Kevin Feige about the upcoming Secret Invasion series that has some wondering the eternal question….is everyone a Skrull?

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About Bandwagon Nerds

Join Patrick O’Dowd, David Ungar, PC Tunney, Rey Cash, and Aesop Mitchell as they keep everyone up on all things nerd, and maybe add some new nerds along the way. It’s the Bandwagon Nerds Podcast!

About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, Suwama’s Station, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.


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Talk The Keki #33.2: Top 10 of the Winter Season and the Spring Line Up!

Mat and Ethan start their countdown for Top 10 of the Winter season–then they discuss their Spring line-up!

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Mat and Ethan start their countdown for Top 10 of the Winter season–then they discuss their Spring line-up!

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In the second part of the special, Mat and Ethan start their countdown for Top 10 of the Winter season. On top of that, they discuss their Spring line-up for the new season how big will their list be for the line-up? Who made it as their anime of the season? What made it on their list? You gotta tune in to find out!

Ethan L. Ayala:

Mathew Sarpraicone: 

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For the latest, greatest and up to datest in breaking news, opinions, and podcasts ALWAYS #UseYourHead and visit TheChairshot.com

About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.


The Chairshot Radio Network
Your home for the hardest hitting podcasts and radio shows!

All Shows On Demand

Listen on your favorite platform!

iTunes  |  iHeart Radio  |  Google Play  |  Spotify
Listen, like, subscribe, and share!


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