Wednesday, 17 February 2021

REVIEW: The Future Ain't What It Used To Be, the new album from West End star Danielle Steers

Danielle Steers debut album is a mix of nine cover versions of Jim Steinman songs from the last forty years of his catalogue. Steers is an established musical theatre star creating the role of Zahara in the wonderful Bat out of hell which I saw first in Manchester and then in London at the Coliseum and The Dominion Theatre. She is a Steinman fan herself and the Bat out of hell fans adored her strong stage presence. More recently before Lockdown she was in Six as Catherine Parr and was due to perform in concert herself. 

The album title “The Future ain’t what it used to be” (5 minutes) is taken from a track on the 2006 Meatloaf album. Its name suggests the 1942 Duke Ellington Jazz song “Things ain’t what they used to be” or perhaps the 1960 Lionel Bart musical “Fings ain’t wot they used to be” but this is a soaring powerful rock and roll song which shows off her clear powerful vocals. it makes a great opening track to the album.

The album comprises in total 9 covers of Jim Steinman songs arranged by Naom Galperin who also plays the keyboards and showcases the range of his music and broadens Steers style from her stage persona.

The second track is the upbeat 1981 song “Bad For Good"(5 minutes) followed by the poppy ballad made famous by Bonnie Tyler’s chart-topping 1983 hit “Total Eclipse Of The Heart" ( 4 minutes) with Simon Gordon as she seeks a hero.

The next two tracks are slower. "Lost Boys and Golden Girls" (3.5 minutes) has a delightful piano intro and is more soulful while the Meatloaf 1994 released song "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" (5 minutes) has Steers in a wistful reflective mood again with a good piano interlude.

The sixth track is from a Steinman 2006 album "Safe Sex” (4.5 minutes) and has a more funky style with strong clear vocals. It is followed by a track from the 1984 Meatloaf album Bad Attitude "Surfs Up" ( 4.5 minutes) with a simpler piano and guitar arrangement and choral backing and her quieter vocals.

For the eighth track it is back to a Bonnie Tyler 1984 song from the movie Footloose "Holding Out For A Hero" ( 4 minutes) with Lauren Drew. This arrangement has been slowed down from the original hit and creates a sadder less powerful vocal.

The album ends with an acoustic version of the 1977 Meatloaf defining song “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” (5 minutes) which Steers sang in the Bat out of hell show and again the slower arrangement means the song does not seem to build so strongly as the original. 

This is an enjoyable album. A must for Steinman fans. Steers is at her best with the toe-tapping, fist-pumping rock anthems where she shows her power as a rock diva, but she also shows she can slow it down and focus us on the lyrics. 

Review by Nick Wayne 

Rating: ★★★★
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