Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman have been inextricably linked since the beginning of their careers with the release of the classic Bat Out of Hell in 1977. The rock heroes have gone their separate ways in the four decades since that album’s release but they always seem to come back together and they are doing it once again. A new Meat Loaf album entitled Braver Than We Are has just shown up on Amazon for release on September 16 with the subtitle reading “All Songs By Jim Steinman.”
This album will mark Meat Loaf’s first album since 2011’s Hell in a Handbasket. It will be his fourth album consisting of only Steinman songs, and his first since the smash Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell from 1993. (Despite being the third album in the Bat Out of Hell series, 2006’s Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose contained some non-Steinman material.) Meat Loaf has been recording the new album for a couple of years with his longtime band member Paul Crook producing. Steinman reportedly did not have any production duties for the new effort, but has been working closely with Crook and Meat Loaf on the project. Ellen Foley and Karla DeVito are also featured on Braver!
Ironically, there is no song on the album entitled “Braver Than We Are.” That Steinman song was first a part of the musical Tanz Der Vampire (with lyrics in German) and got its English debut when that show came to Broadway in 2002 as Dance of the Vampires for a very short run. It has been reworked here as “Going All The Way Is Just the Start (A Song In Six Movements)” which will be the first single from the album. Three other songs on the album have been recorded before, one even partially by Meat Loaf himself. “Loving You Is A Dirty Job (But Somebody’s Got To Do It)” was originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler and Todd Rundgren on Tyler’s Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire from 1986 (executive produced by Steinman) and “More” was first heard on The Sisters of Mercy’s 1990 album Vision Thing. Co-written with Andrew Eldritch from the British rock group, it climbed to number one on the Billboard Modern Rock chart for five weeks. “Only When I Feel” has never been professionally recorded, but in previous live performances it has contained portions of the song “If It Ain’t Broke, Break It” which Meat Loaf included on Bat Out of Hell III.
The other six songs on the album hail from earlier in Steinman’s career. However, they are most likely unknown to all but the rock maestro’s biggest fans as none have been heard outside of live performances or demos. “Who Needs the Young” is from The Dream Engine, a musical Steinman wrote in 1969 while attending Amherst College. “Train of Love” first showed up on an early 1970s demo from Steinman of songs from that musical which he was reworking at the time. “Skull Of Your Country” is a lyric in the show, but never as a whole song, so this recording may be something completely unheard. “Souvenirs” was a part of the Steinman’s 1973 musical More Than You Deserve which was performed at the famous Public Theater in New York. This show is significant because it was where Steinman first met Meat Loaf who was part of the cast. (Meat Loaf has twice recorded the title song to the show, and “Heaven Can Wait” from the first Bat was among the material considered for the musical.)
“Godz” comes from another 1973 musical, Rhinegold, co-written with Barry Keating and performed at the Mercer Arts Center and Playwrights Horizons. “Speaking In Tongues” was premiered by the group The Dream Engine, a band that performed only Steinman material at a couple of concerts back in 2005 and 2006. (Steinman’s interest in musical theatre remains unabated. The long-gestating Bat Out of Hell musical just held auditions earlier this week and may begin previews early next year in London’s West End.) The lack of completely new material in nothing unusual for a Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman project as all of the three previous albums have all contained songs from earlier in Steinman’s canon. However, on Facebook and at the forums at mlukfc.com, Meat Loaf has said that all of the songs have been reworked so that they will be different from what has been heard previously.
Several versions of the album will be released. Aside from the standard CD, Amazon is listing an exclusive autographed 2-LP vinyl and an exclusive CD/DVD version with the DVD containing a making-of featurette. Meat Loaf has indicated that there will be other retailer exclusives, although none have been confirmed with pre-order links at this time. Rolling Stone will premiere the single version of “Going All The Way” next Wednesday, June 22, according to Meat Loaf.
If you would like to go all the way with Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman’s latest effort, due on September 16, we’ve got the pre-order links below!
Meat Loaf, Braver Than We Are (Savoy/10 Spot, 2016)
- Who Needs the Young
- Going All The Way Is Just The Start (A Song in Six Movements)
- Speaking In Tongues
- Loving You’s A Dirty Job (But Somebody’s Gotta Do It)
- Only When I Feel
- Skull of Your Country
- Train of Love