Ellen Foley Returns with ‘Fighting Words’: Review

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This ad for Foley’s solo debut, Nightout, appeared in the August 11, 1979 issue of Record World

More than 40 years after she traded verses with Meat Loaf on Bat Out of Hell’s cleverly scripted “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” Ellen Foley shows on Fighting Words, her fifth solo album, that she can still come out fighting, at least when her material is up to the task. Though several of the tracks sound perfunctory and dated on this rock set—which her longtime collaborator, Paul Foglino, mostly composed—the 2021 release contains enough winners to make a fan want to keep an eye out for whatever Foley does next.

Related: The inside story of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell

“I Found a Love,” for example, offers a strong take on the Wilson Pickett classic, while “This Won’t Last Forever,” which she co-wrote with Foglino, seems redolent of the Ronettes.

“I’m Just Happy to Be Here,” a duet with Karla DeVito, captures the anthemic, Phil Spector–influenced Todd Rundgren production of Meat Loaf’s albums, on which DeVito also sang; and “I Call My Pain by Your Name” is a surprising and rather successful flirtation with country.

Foley does a good job, too, with Jim Steinman’s “Heaven Can Wait,” a number that first appeared on Bat Out of Hell.

And here’s where we were first introduced to Foley, then in her mid-20s.

Jeff Burger

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