Sunday, 26 May 2019

Meat Loaf - Midnight At The Lost And Found (1983)

Silver bullets in the jukebox, spin another round....

  

Released May 1983

After the iconic, unique glory that was "Bat Out Of Hell", an acceptable follow-up in "Dead Ringer" and a proxy album in Jim Steinman's "Bad For Good", this album unfortunately saw a parting of the ways between Loaf and his genius muse in songwriter Steinman. Can you tell? Not half. The magic of Steinman's rock'n'roll fairy tale bombast is instantly lost. While there are still a few good tracks dotted around and Meat Loaf's voice hits a couple of high spots occasionally it is just a bang average rock album as opposed to something captivating.

Apparently Steinman had offered Meat Loaf "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" and "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All" for the album, but the record company refused to pay for them. They duly became enormous hits for Bonnie Tyler (particularly) and Air Supply, and this underwhelming album sank without trace.

After three wonderful covers, even the cover of this album was decidedly uninspiring.

TRACK LISTING

1. Razor's Edge
2. Midnight At The Lost and Found
3. Wolf At Your Door
4. Keep Driving
5. The Promised Land
6. You Can Never Be Too Sure About The Girl
7. Priscilla
8. Don't You Look At Me Like That
9. If You Really Want To
10. Fallen Angel                              

I remember eagerly putting this album on back in 1983 and finding that "Razor's Edge" was just a chugging mid-pace rock number with zero stardust about it at all. That special something that Steinman's songs had was nowhere to be found. "Midnight At The The Lost And Found" had a shuffling beat, but also an acoustic guitar intro. Where was that piano and power chords? It is redeemed by a catchy, full-on chorus, it has to be said, and Loaf's voice is powerful here. "Wolf At Your Door" is a bit better, with Steinman-esque lyrics but the backing is rock-by-numbers, with the piano virtually hidden away and the beat metronomic.

I quite like Meat Loaf's initial vocal on "Keep Driving" as the track builds up slowly to kick off into some frantic rock in typical Meat Loaf style. It is a shallow track, lyrically, but at least it rocks out, the piano joins the party, the guitar is good and Loaf appears to have re-discovered his mojo. The sound isn't great though, as it isn't on all of this unremastered, slightly murkily-produced album. Next up is a rocking cover of Chuck Berry's "The Promised Land". It is a great song, so not too much can go wrong. Even though, I feel Meat Loaf could have given a bit more to it. The vocals are deep and decidedly unlively.

The old "side one" was as good as it every got, for me. The rest of it sort of drifts away in a fog of ordinariness. "You Can Never Be Too Sure About The Girl" is an acceptable but you have to say, plain, number that doesn't stick in the memory long. Yes, there is a reasonable guitar solo in it, but Steinman didn't do "reasonable" guitar solos. He did the intro to "Bat Out Of Hell". Meat Loaf without Steinman is like the ill-fated final line-up of The Clash, or Mott The Hoople when they turned into Mott. "Priscilla" is appealing enough and "Don't You Look At Me Like That" just about passes muster as a Meat Loaf ballad. "If You Really Want To" has an ABBA-style backing, but even that can't raise it up from being dull. "Fallen Angel" once again, makes it half way but somehow leaves one expecting more.

I was disappointed by this album back in 1983 and have to say that all those years haven't changed my opinion.

D+

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