Picks and Pans Review: Bad for Good
Most of these eight tunes were written by New York rocker Steinman for his better-known and more visible (by about 100 pounds) partner Meat Loaf. But because Loaf never got cooking on the material, Steinman has used it in this fine, diversified debut solo LP. Not surprisingly, the 8½-minute title track and Out of the Frying Pan (and Into the Fire) recall the driving, resoundingly produced Loaf epic Paradise by the Dashboard Light. Steinman carries off the lead vocals with enough energy to match the material. There is fine backup support by Todd Rundgren on guitars, Bruce Springsteen's pianist, Roy Bittan, and Loaf's vocal backups Rory Dodd and Karla DeVito. But Amherst graduate Steinman has a versatile imagination, best evidenced on a hilarious soliloquy, Love and Death and an American Guitar. On the title cut, Steinman wails, "I wasn't built for comfort/I was built for speed." He may not have been built for a lead role in rock either (he's written another new LP's worth of songs for Loaf), but this album proves he can step out on his own.