Newest Review: ... that was ok but not a patch on the origional. The actual version I have on CD is Bat Out Of Hell Re-vamped however teher does not appea... more
Three Outta Three ain't bad either....
Bat Out Of Hell - Meat Loaf
Member Name: SATANSSAINT
Bat Out Of Hell - Meat Loaf
Date: 17/11/02, updated on 17/11/02 (746 review reads)
Advantages: 3rd biggest selling of all time, Jim Steinman wrote the album, Various and Numerous others- trust me!
Disadvantages: I don't know if i could find one...., ...the follow up album took 16 years?
Not many people know that this is actually the third biggest selling album of all time. The title, "Meat Loaf- Bat Out Of Hell" subtitled, "songs by Jim Steinman" caused a huge feud between Meatloaf and Jim Steinman- one which took over five years to completely resolve- and, of course, they are five years which could have been spent recording music of the same calibre. Jim Steinman's argument was that the album should be called Jim Steinman and Meatloaf- Bat Out of Hell. Or vice versa, but still to that effect. Indeed, if you should find yourself in the presence of a copy- or even just hearing any of the songs, then take a moment to acknowledge the lyrics- they truly do make the album. However, even if you are the most critically acclaimed songwriter/lyricist, your songs will go nowhere without an appropriate voice to carry them off. This, I believe, is the strongest aspect of the album. The collaboration between them truly is a match made in heaven- without doubt.
With only seven tracks, many who have seen the CD in the shops are led to assume that it must be a short album. Many music buyers work purely on the basis of more is better. This is a prime example of quality over quantity. However, even so, by no means can "Bat Out Of Hell" be regarded as a short album. The track which gives it's name to the album is 9 minutes fifty. (You must bear in mind that this is not a disc full of floaty-light pop tunes whose life span must never exceed a few months airplay) (My apologies, Abba....)
Bat Out Of Hell, the title track, also caused huge rifts between Jim Steinman and the Record Company who produced it (epic) They wanted him to cut "Bat" (term of endearment...:) ) down to a maximum of five minutes in length. Steinman, a true artist in every respect, considers every song to be an extension of himself- he wasn’t willing to cut his left arm off for radio airplay, so why should he cut his song down fo
r the same reason? However, eventually he was made to cut it down- although, to say the least, he was VERY anguished at this.
In case you are interested in the musicians behind the music, here is the line-up: guitars: Todd Rundgren, Piano: Roy Bittan, also Steve Margoshes, Cheryl Hardwick, Keyboards:Jim Steinman, Roy Bittan, Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sultan, Drums: Max Weinberg, John Wilcox, Saxophone: Edgar Winter, Percussion: Jim Steinman, Bass: Todd Rundgren, Marvin Lee, Synthesizer: Roger Powell, Background Vocals: Rory Dodd, Ellen Foley, Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sultan, String Arrangement: Ken Ascher.
Bat Out Of Hell was first recorded in 1977. If anybody out there can remember what they were doing in 1977, then maybe you should keep it to yourself…Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that any, well the majority, of music from this time period now sounds..dated. To say the least. (Adam Ant, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, anyone?) Yeah, arguably many artists from this time have survived- and are now flourishing, but these artists have the power of PR- they metamorphosis themselves, restyling themselves at the end of every decade. Meatloaf has that oh-so-rare ability to survive every new decade completely unchanged. And, of course, doesn’t have that “cringe!” effect every time you play it. (“did I really buy that?”) we all know the feeling….But bat out of hell just won’t give you it. It’s nearly impossible. My theory is that this is because meatloaf never was “cool” they were never, in or trendy, but they were always there. Never credited and acclaimed in such ways as acts like the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or modern-day “Gods” of music, Meatloaf continued the same dramatical rock music which is absolutely unique to them- they are a rule unto themselves. Perhaps this is the secret to their longevity. (answers on a postcard, please)
In using the word “
;dramatical” this really is my intended word choice. Meatloaf started out his musical journey in theatre- indeed, upwards of two whole decades were spent on various musicals. Bat out of Hell is actually more of a theatre production than an album as such. From the most realistic motorcycle effects produced on a guitar ever heard (courtesy of legend Todd Rundgren from Bearsville Records) To the Baseball play-by-play on the first part of Paradise by the Dashboard Light. For this, Phil “scooter” Rizzuto- voice of the New York Yankees was brought in. No surprise now perhaps, but a mean feat considering the album was only ever estimated to sell 20, 000 copies. (23 years and 37, 000, 000 records later, you can bet the twenty five record companies who turned down the chance to manufacture the classic, most famous rock-opera of all time are kicking themselves)
Lyrically, this could easily be argued to be the strongest part of Jim Steinman’s career. Indeed, it is a great shame that he received such little credit from the media and press for it. “Give me all of your dreams//and let me go along your way,// give me all of your prayers to sing// and I’ll turn the night into the skylight of day” From the beautiful “Heaven can wait” illustrates the undoubted talent of Steinman. Every line is perfect- it is not one of those albums that you can scrutinise and morph the lyrics to your idea of perfection- it has already been reached. And, of course, there are thirty seven million people out there who know the words by heart, and will correct you without flinching.
Paradise by the Dashboard Light is a three-part microcosm of modern teen society. Pay no heed to the fact that it was penned over two decades ago- every word is perfectly conceived and an excellent replication of a scene which is re-enacted every single evening, in a million different lives. You know the story- boy meets girl, boy wants past first base-
girl wants commitment- boy cant commit- the boy gives his eternal commitment and begins his long wait until the end of forever to be rid of her. You really have to hear this track to appreciate the attention to detail.
Track 1: Bat Out Of Hell
2 You took the words right out of my mouth
3 Heaven Can Wait
4 All revved up with no place to go
5 Two Out of three ain’t bad
6 Paradise by the dashboard light parts one, two and three
7 For Crying Out loud
I was four when I first hear Bat Out Of Hell- That’s only 9 years ago. But of all the music I have been exposed to in my time (actually more than you might imagine), I have yet to find an album of higher acclaim than Bat Out Of Hell. It might not be your thing, granted, but it certainly is something special. Oh, and don’t think that meatloaf has had it easy all his life- he has been bankrupt 4 times, and his name comes from his dad (who was a raging alcoholic) who tormented him because of his weight as a child, as did the children at school. But don’t buy the album out of pity- of because I said you should- buy it because it’s a masterpiece- timeless, influential, and the product of years hard labour. Maybe meatloaf’s girl only gave him 2 outta 3, but I reckon 3 outta 3 just isn’t equal to my opinion of this album.