Meat Loaf has become one of the most remembered artists of rock’n’roll. But how? In this list, we have gathered all Meat Loaf albums ranked along with some of the reviews they received from critics so that we all can glimpse his hugely successful career throughout six decades to commemorate him after his tragic passing.
Best noted for his powerful, wide-ranging voice, Meat Loaf also enchanted his fans with his theatrical live shows and did the same with his records. He has become one of the best-selling music artists, selling over 100 million albums worldwide throughout his career, making one of the biggest and most impressive debuts of all time, with his first album still selling an estimated 200,000 copies annually.
So, let’s check out those albums that have helped Meat Loaf to sit down to his throne throughout his long-served career, along with seeing their critics and more, down below.
All Meat Loaf Albums Ranked
Throughout a long and successful career that spanned six decades, Meat Loaf released 12 studio albums, five live albums, seven compilation albums, one extended play, and 39 singles, marking one of the most enormous commercials in the rock and roll industry as he sold 25 million certified records in the US alone. There are also so many other things that the regarded artist had achieved during his lifetime, but let’s make our start by seeing the great albums he added to our lives, first.
12- Blind Before I Stop
The fifth studio album of Meat Loaf, Blind Before I Stop was released in September 1986, making most of the critics concerned about the album missing the characteristic Steinman-influenced sound by incorporating synth chords and samples. Failing mostly in charts worldwide, this album of Meat Loaf was also credited as the worst album of the regarded musician throughout his career
LouderSound explained clearly why this album was destined to be a ‘failer’ and why it became so unsuccessful, saying:
“Desperate to find some niche to survive the 80s, an on-the-ropes Meat teamed up with Milli Vanilli producer Frank Farian and created a pastel-colored collection of synth blasts and funky bass pops. There are a couple of minor highlights – the muscular Masculine and the raucous Rock N’ Roll Hero – but for the most part this one’s junk.”
11- Braver Than We Are
The twelfth and final studio album of Meat Loaf sure didn’t bring him what he expected or his fans when it was released on September 9, 2016. Featuring mostly leftover songs that were written in the ’70s, Braver Than We Are might have excited all fans as being the first album that Meat and Jim Steinman reunited in a decade, but didn’t exactly give the same effect after hearing Meat’s tired voice, leaving most of the fans grumbled in the gizzard.
While Record Collector criticized the album saying, “Using Steinman songs that had yet to be recorded by Meat Loaf (The Sisters Of Mercy’s More and Loving You’s A Dirty Job [But Someone’s Gotta Do It] by Bonnie Tyler) and new material, this is hard-rocking burlesque at its best,” The Independent (UK) wasn’t even that soft while giving the album 2 points out of 5 and said:
“Braver Than We Are reunites Meat Loaf once again with Jim Steinman, who ransacks his back catalogue for material. “More” first appeared on a Sisters Of Mercy album, while “Loving You Is A Dirty Job (But Somebody’s Got To Do It)” was a flop three decades ago for Bonnie Tyler, as befits what is basically a title inflated into a cumbersome dirigible of a song. Steinman’s sonic fingerprints are all over the album – the furiously arpeggiating piano riffs (one “borrowed” from Randy Newman), the brusque guitars, the Wagnerian pomp – though it is Loaf’s stagey delivery, with that juddering vibrato, which dominates songs such as the grumpy “Who Needs The Young” and the six-movement, almost 12-minute-long “Going All The Way”, another duet with human megaphone Ellen Foley. It sounds so much more exhausting than once seemed the case, however.”
10- Hell in a Handbasket
The eleventh studio album of Meat Loaf was released first on September 30, 2011, in Australia and New Zealand before its global release in early 2012. But still, this album has also become one of the least successful albums of Meat Loaf, featuring no Steinman besides a bunch of songwriters who apparently had no idea of his music, at some point. And we are not the only ones thinking so, too, considering the album mostly received negative reviews from
Consequence said that Hell in a Handbasket “however takes the success of Teddy Bear and pushes it a few awful steps backward,” while Spin described the album as “disappointing” because “it isn’t dreadful in funnier, more interesting ways. Also, BBC Music lashed Meat Loaf’s Hell in a Handbasket, saying:
“Sonically, Loaf’s latest largely ignores the faux-operatic power ballads for which he’s best known in favour of bombastic rockers with ready-made choruses. But aside from the inherently – albeit fleetingly – amusing nature of its trademark excess, overall it lacks that knowing sense of humour which characterises his best work. Maybe the continuing absence of his erstwhile mentor, Jim Steinman, is to blame.”
9- Couldn’t Have Said It Better
The eighth studio album of Meat Loaf, Couldn’t Have Said It Better, was released on September 23, 2003, as the third album featuring any songs written by Jim Steinman. Of course, we all appreciate his desire to create some new classics for his fans to enchant everyone like he always does while he was on sold-out greatest hits tours. But still, this desire of him, unfortunately, didn’t lead him where he wanted, instead ended up being one of the weakest albums of the regarded musician.
The Guardian gave ‘Couldn’t Have Said It Better’ 3 stars out of 5, saying, “The Dallas bruiser who thinks of himself as “little Marvin Lee Aday” (see track seven, Tear Me Down) releases albums only when he feels an attack of bellicose majesty coming on, and he has had a full seven years’ recovery since the last one, so batten down the hatches,” while also AllMusic ranked the album the same, saying:
“The hyper and silly rap on “Do It” is ludicrous even by Meat Loaf’s standards, but a chugging version of Dylan’s “Forever Young” and the fiery version of “Mercury Blues,” hidden as a bonus track, make for a perfect ending. At the time of its release, Steinman was five songs into writing Bat Out of Hell III. If he feeds off the serious competition on Couldn’t Have Said It Better, it’ll be fantastic.
8- Midnight at the Lost and Found
When the third studio album of Meat Loaf, Midnight at the Lost and Found, was released in May 1983, even the regarded artist knew that he was not much of a songwriter material. One of the very reasons this album failed was the regarded musician forced to release an album under a contractually obliged although there had been a dispute with Meat‘s former songwriter Jim Steinman occurred. Meat Loaf also even accepted that he did not like the songs he had written for the album, as the album only had two songs became hits in their respective countries and worldwide, which were Steinman had given to Meat Loaf were then given to Bonnie Tyler and Air Supply respectively.
So, it was not a shocker by Meat Loaf himself, too, when Midnight at the Lost and Found was regarded by fans and critics alike as a poor effort, whether compared to previous releases or on its merit. AllMusic gave the album two stars out of five, describing it as “a step down commercially” for the regarded musician career, and said:
“Singer Meat Loaf and composer Jim Steinman tried to do without producer Todd Rundgren, who had handled their masterpiece, Bat Out of Hell, on its follow-up, Dead Ringer, and they managed OK. But Meat Loaf tried to do without Steinman on the third album, Midnight at the Lost and Found and didn’t even come close. Meat Loaf was typically impassioned, but the material didn’t scale the heights of Steinman’s incredible hubris. The U.S. had long since lost interest, but the album was a step down commercially even in the U.K., where Meat Loaf was loved.”
7- Welcome to the Neighbourhood
The seventh studio album of Meat Loaf, Welcome to the Neighbourhood, was released on November 14, 1995, as a concept album, as all of the songs are ordered in the tracklisting to tell a story about a relationship throughout the years. The album wasn’t actually, as it also proved itself to have three singles, which all reached #2, #7, and #21 in the UK charts and became hits. But yet, it was still an average album for Meat Loaf and his quality, after all.
AllMusic‘s editor William Ruhlmann criticized the album, saying:
“After having scored a surprising commercial comeback with 1993’s Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, his reunion with songwriter Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf tried to make it on his own, just as he had from 1983 to 1993, and with similarly disappointing results. The Warren material especially (which sounded more like the kind of thing she tends to write for Michael Bolton) lacked Steinman’s gothic excess, sly humor, and lyrical reach. Meat Loaf, as usual, sang like his life depended on it, while a band that was less distinctive than it should have been, given such notable participants as Kenny Aronoff and Kasim Sulton, churned out sub-metal riffs. The resulting sales fall-off was not as great as it had been before, but it remained true that Meat without Steinman was only half a loaf.”
6- Bad Attitude
The fourth studio album of Meat Loaf, Bad Attitude, was released in November 1984, featuring two songs by Jim Steinman, both previously recorded, and a duet with Roger Daltrey in it. As for results, the album was relatively a minor success around the globe, ending up with a few hit singles, the most successful being “Modern Girl,” as it concentrated more on the hard rock side of Meat Loaf.
While LouderSound generally lashed Meat Loaf for screwing up in the ’80s, criticized Bad Attitude while claiming Meat really wanted Bad Attitude to be the next Bat and said:
“Right down to the skull-strewn motorbike artwork the album harks back to his Steinman work, but a bit more Footloose. There are two previously-released Steinman tracks in the shape of the synth-pop Nowhere Fast and the gloriously grandiose Surf’s Up while Cheatin’ In Your Dreams revisits the 50s doo-wop rock of Meat’s Rocky Horror roots and Jumpin’ The Gun does its damndest to be Dead Ringer with Zee Carling playing understudy to Cher. Meat puts his full weight behind his vocals too: witness his I-can-bawl-louder-than-you Gladiatorial tonsil battle with The Who’s Roger Daltrey on the title track.”
5- Bat Out of Hell III
The ninth album of Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell III, was also the third and final album in the Bat Out of Hell trilogy, released separately in the UK on October 23, 2006, and in the US on October 31, 2006. Receiving mixed reviews, the album concentrated upon songs from the Bat albums, which eventually ended up being an average album compared to its predecessors.
While Rolling Stone expressed the album as “For the most part, the old magical feeling sure ain’t coming back.” At the same time, also Village Voice lashed at it, saying “The Diane Warren and Desmond Child faux-Steinman stuff is far worse, but the inescapable message of Bat III is that even Meat’s former partner hasn’t been at peak strength for at least a decade.”
But still, Bat Out of Hell III could manage to garner some praise as well, even though it is mostly credited as bad Q Magazine said, “The whole thing is, of course, ridiculous. But Meat’s beat manifesto should be considered the last chapter of a remarkable rock trilogy.”
4- Dead Ringer
Released on September 4, 1981, Dead Ringer was the second studio album of Meat Loaf, which was also the second of four albums written entirely by Jim Steinman. Even though both Meat and Steinman has proven themselves to be regarded and talented musicians after the worldwide success of Meat Loaf’s debut album Bat Out of Hell, they also showed off that even they can end up to be average sometimes, as the album was considered both a commercial and critical disappointment, after all.
While Society Of Rock described the album as “a disappointing follow-up,” saying, “Dead Ringer was a carbon copy of its predecessor and yet, not everything worked. It’s just as dramatic and over-the-top but it was more exhausting than compelling. Meat Loaf was clearly trying to use the same formula and see if the magic is still there,” AllMusic was a little more optimistic about it while criticizing:
“Once again, Steinman wrote extended, operatic songs with hyperbolic lyrics (“I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Come Back” was one title) and organized a backup band anchored by E Street Band members Max Weinberg (drums) and Roy Bittan (keyboards), while Meat Loaf sang with a passion all the more compelling for its hint of the ridiculous.”
So, even though Dead Ringer might not be a failer at all, but Rolling Stones still criticized the album mostly bad and said:
“The second helping of Meat Loaf is strictly noncaloric. Whatever bovine charm Meat Loaf’s voice may once have had is now shot to smithereens. His vocals here are alarmingly awful, the star having lost the ability to hit notes and form coherent syllables simultaneously. Consequently, the words come out garbled, almost as if he were mumbling in Finnish. To soften the blow, the singer is swathed in varnished coats of backup vocals.”
3- Hang Cool Teddybear
This is where things start to get juicy, finally. The tenth studio album of Meat Loaf, Hang Cool Teddybear, was released on 19 April 2010, containing songs written by Justin Hawkins, Rick Brantley and Jon Bon Jovi, amongst others. The album also guested other regarded musicians, Brian May, Steve Vai, Paul Crook, Patti Russo, Hugh Laurie, Jack Black, and Pearl Aday, which made really sense how people really enjoyed hearing all those talented artists in one, while the album also charted at #4 in the official UK album chart on April 25, 2010. It peaked at #27 on the US Billboard 200.
The Guardian editor Caroline Sullivan criticized the album saying:
“Hang Cool, Teddy Bear is of a piece with the rest of his catalogue: the pounding guitars never slacken, emotions are writ very large and the lyrics rarely lack sly wit…less happily, the tempo never varies – this album desperately needs a ballad – and 13 unrelenting tracks is a good deal more than enough. The Times gave a positive review, saying: ‘Everything about Meat’s eleventh album screams novelty cabaret “metal”, yet this is his most credible record in three decades. Ditching the theatrical cheese, Meat, 62, can still bellow an anthem of youthful lust.’ The Independent was more skeptical, pointing to correlation between recruiting guest-performers and the weakness of ‘a high-profile performer’s output’.”
2- Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell
The sixth studio album of Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, was released in September 1993, earning a big part of the regard that Meat had gained throughout his career. The talented musician proved himself again with this album, as it peaked at number 1 in the US, UK, and Canada, while also one single out of five released from it also peaked at number 1 in 28 countries. So, it was inevitable for Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell to be credited as a commercial hit as it has sold more than 14 million copies around the world. The album also won Meat Loaf a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for “I’d Do Anything for Love” and received two Brit Awards nominations for Best International Male and Best Selling Single.
But still, the critical reception was mixed despite the huge commercial success Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell achieved, although the specialist music critics were generally positive.
Among many other positive reviews, AllMusic praised the album and Meat Loaf, saying:
“Although Meat Loaf has made several albums since Bat Out of Hell, Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell is an explicit sequel to that milestone of ’70s pop culture. Reprising the original formula nearly to the letter, Back Into Hell is bombastic and has too much detail, thanks to the pseudo-operatic splendor of Jim Steinman’s grandly cinematic songs. From the arrangements to the lengths of the tracks, everything on the album is overstated; even the album version of the hit single, “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” is 12 minutes long. Yet that’s precisely the point of this album and that is also why it works so well. No other rock & roller besides Meat Loaf could pull off the humor and theatricality of Back Into Hell and make it seem real. In that sense, it’s a worthy successor to the original.”
1- Bat Out of Hell
Here we are standing at the very inevitable point, which is also what we all could see right at the very beginning of this list. Also, the start of Meat Loaf‘s amazing legacy, Bat Out of Hell was the debut album of singer Meat Loaf and composer Jim Steinman, released on October 11, 1977, to become one of the best-selling albums of all time, as it still continues to sell about 200,000 copies per year and has sold an estimated 34-40 million copies worldwide.
Being developed from a musical, Neverland, a futuristic rock version of Peter Pan, Bat Out of Hell initially received mixed reviews, which evolved into mostly positive later in time, including AllMusic praise for it among many others, saying:
“There is no other album like Bat Out of Hell unless you want to count the sequel. This is Grand Guignol pop — epic, gothic, operatic, and silly, and it’s appealing because of all of this. Jim Steinman was a composer without peers, simply because nobody else wanted to make mini-epics like this. And there never could have been a singer more suited for his compositions than Meat Loaf, a singer partial to bombast, albeit shaded bombast.”