Album Review

Jim Steinman once commented that his biggest -- and heaviest -- protégé, Meat Loaf, required larger-than-life material because he couldn't sing down-to-life-sized songs. This first Loaf album, released to little fanfare in 1971 before the singer and Steinman became a steady coupling, disproves this, somewhat, by offering Meat the surges and releases of a gospel cadence; the opening "(I'd Love to Be) As Heavy as Jesus" had no business skipping the smash hit list in an era of "Oh Happy Day" and "Put Your Hand in the Hand." Elsewhere, "What You See Is What You Get" foreshadows the Steinman touch of song-weaving from cliché, though its toughness doesn't include Steinman's knack for twisting clichés into Möbius strips. "Jimmy Bell," a traditional, finds Meat bellowing a mysterious, immediately sinister tale of a preacher with a secret, though that secret lies deep between the lines. Elsewhere the singer and his partner, Stoney, trade off lines, feed off each other's energy, and generally elevate, with help from the session musicians, some second-tier material in gospel, soul, and psychedelic pop ("She Waits By the Window") veins. Worth picking up for a buck or two out of a used bin. [Meatloaf (Featuring Stoney), released in 1979 in the wake of Bat Out of Hell, uses many of the same tracks but in a different order, along with some different material.]
Andrew Hamlin, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. (I'd Love to Be) As Heavy as Jesus
  2. She Waits By the Window
  3. It Takes All Kinds of People
  4. Game of Love
  5. Kiss Me Again
  6. What You See Is What You Get
  7. Sunshine (Where's Heaven)
  8. Jimmy Bell
  9. Lady Be Mine
  10. Jessica White