I am not going to do a track-by-track review for Hell in a Handbasket. But, I will say that this is a great new serving of new Meat Loaf tracks. And, I think that the tracks with Patti Russo add a bit more flavor to the tracks. I have a feeling for most people that this album will take a few listens to fully understand it and to embrace it. And I do think that Meat Loaf should write some music eventually. But, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Oh, well. The three song medley (track three) "Blue Sky / Mad Mad World / The Good God is a Woman and She Don't Like Ugly (feat. Chuck D)" is great, and the three songs flow smoothly together. And the third track in the medley is the track that Chuck D is featured on. And his appearance takes the song in a hip-hop direction and makes the medley finish nicely. And Meat Loaf covers The Mamas & The Papas "California Dreamin". He has the same cadence of the original song, but somehow, he makes it his own.
And, I'm pretty sure everyone reading this knows of the track Stand in the Storm. Everyone that guest-vocaled on the album brings their A-game, and for Patti Russo, her vocals are a nice addition to the tracks, "California Dreamin" and "Our Loves & Our Souls."
It's not a CD that is going to blow everyone away, say like his BOOH albums, but this CD is a great new direction for the Meat man. The music is awesome, and nicely varied between each song. At first, you won't find yourself going back to this album over and over again like with certain albums when they suddenly get released, but there is something to each track that brings you back eventually. Kind of like the show Friday Night Lights. Not every episode blew me away, but there was enough there that kept me coming back for more. R.I.P. Friday Night Lights. Anyways......There is one song "Blue Sky" that feels way too short, only because it's 2:57, and it feels like an vocal interlude to "Fall from Grace" which finishes off this North American edition. Although...I will say I wasn't prepared for the "Blue Sky" track to end with the Emergency Broadcast System sounds (like for an important newscast, or a severe weather alert on the radio...)
Also, if you are wondering what the difference is between the releases of Hell in a Handbasket, it is pretty much the cover art and a swapping around a little of the track listing. The North American and the Europe editions are the same, and have both the same track-listing, just obviously different covers. Here's the North American/Europe Editions track listing:
1. "All of Me" <5:15>
2. "The Giving Tree" <4:53>
3. "Live or Die" <4:26>
4. "Blue Sky / Mad Mad World / The Good God is a Woman and She Don't Like Ugly (feat. Chuck D)" <4:58>
5. "California Dreamin'" (feat. Patti Russo) [The Mamas & The Papas Cover] <3:57>
6. "Party of One" <3:57>
7. "Another Day" <5:03>
8. "40 Days" <5:20>
9. "Our Love and Our Souls" (feat. Patti Russo) <3:57>
10. "Stand in the Storm" (feat. Trace Adkins, Lil Jon and Mark McGrath) <4:36>
11. "Blue Sky" <2:56>
12. "Fall from Grace" <3:47>
Here's the Australian/German track listing:
1. "All of Me" <5:17>
2. "Fall from Grace" <3:46>
3. "The Giving Tree" <4:54>
4. "Mad Mad World / The Good God is a Woman and She Don't Like Ugly (feat. Chuck D)" <4:06>
5. "Party of One" <4:00>
6. "Live or Die" <4:27>
7. "California Dreamin'" (feat. Patti Russo) [The Mamas & The Papas Cover] <4:06>
8. "Another Day" <5:03>
9. "40 Days" <5:23>
10. "Our Love and Our Souls" (feat. Patti Russo) <4:01>
11. "Stand in the Storm" (feat. Lil Jon, John Rich and Mark McGrath) <4:38>
12. "Blue Sky" <2:58>
I'm not sure why CDs companies do this, but here's hoping the Australian edition makes it onto iTunes for a low price (hey...$7.99 and $9.99 ain't bad for a new CD) instead of shelling out more money than we should on imports.
After all is said is done, this is another great addition to the Meat catalog, and I cannot wait for Meat's Christmas album! Here's hoping more rock bands take notice. Why hasn't Skillet released a Christmas album? Skillet+Christmas=excellence! Dropkick Murphys+Christmas=even more excellence! I can only hope.