Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell (1977)
This week takes us back to 1977 when a man by the name of Michael Lee Aday (professionally known as Meat Loaf) released his first album. Bat Out Of Hell was a unique album upon initial release, and many people had never heard anything like it before. It was initially criticized for failing to conform to easily recognizable musical standards at the time, particularly in the way the songs are structured. Typical rock/pop music of the period followed (and still follows) a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure. Listening to the album, you’ll notice that only the ballads follow that pattern while all the other songs are more structured around the story that they’re trying to tell. Since its initial release, Bat Out Of Hell has become one of the best selling albums of all time and is a quintessential album to blast in the car while driving along the highway and singing along as loudly as possible!
Bat Out Of Hell can best be described as a rock opera and each song on the album can stand alone as its own story. Like last week with One Of These Nights, Bat Out Of Hell is an album about relationships; specifically young relationships and experiencing a relationship and all of the different emotions and stages that come with it. Listen to Hot Summer Night and Paradise By the Dashboard Light for the most clear examples. In the former, the main character gushes about their new partner (read below for why I also might not be!), and with the latter, it explicitly states that the two characters are young. All Revved Up with No Place to Go follows the theme, describing the main characters as a young boy and young girl, in this case referring to teenagers. Give the album a listen for yourself, and I hope you enjoy one of my personal favorite albums!
Dad’s Thoughts- The Breakdown
Bat Out of Hell: Meat Loaf really opened the album like a bat out of hell, didn’t he?! The long instrumental at the beginning gives you a taste of what you can expect for the rest of the album; driving guitars, an amazing intertwining of instruments, passion, and a great story. The only reason I didn’t give this song a 10 was because I think there’s another song on the album that’s more dynamic in its story that maintains the same instrumental quality. Dad’s Rating 9/10
You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night): The spoken word at the beginning actually ties in to the song quite well and almost makes the song have multiple points of view. Give it a listen and listen to what the main character is saying. The first point of view is from the speaker’s view where the other person in the song is described like a wolf, as evidenced by the lines “you were licking your lips…” and the setting of the song being underneath the moon. This is the same view as the man in the spoken word intro. He’s distrustful of the woman, the cunning wolf. If we flip the viewpoint so that the woman is the main character of the song then the other person in the lyrics is literally the self-described wolf with the red roses from the intro. Besides the interesting play in the lyrics, this is an insanely sing-able song and definitely not one to skip. Dad’s Rating 8/10
Heaven Can Wait: In my opinion, this is the weakest song on the album. One of the positive parts of this song though is the delightful piano accompaniment. This is definitely not a bad song, it just doesn’t hold up next to some of the other ballads on the album like Two Out of Three or For Crying Out Loud. No need to wait for this song. If this is your first time listening to this album, don’t skip it. Listen to it and compare it to the other two ballads and see which one you like most. Dad’s Rating 6/10
All Revved Up with No Place to Go: I think this song will surprise you if this is your first time listening to it. I’m not going to ruin the ending, but this song revs up, and right into Two Out of Three! Dad’s Rating 8/10
Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad: This is Meat Loaf’s best-known ballad, and this song still receives regular play on the radio. I believe the reason this song still resonates is because everyone can recall a time when they had unrequited feelings towards someone else. This song isn’t lyrically or musically complex, it’s just a great heartbreak song. “I want you, I need you…ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you…”. That’s your two out of three and I give this a…Dad’s Rating 7/10 (a little higher than 2/3)
Paradise By the Dashboard Light: Paradise By the Dashboard Light will throw you for an emotional journey for the entirety of the song. You feel all of the emotion of the main characters, two high schoolers out by the lake trying to find eh-hem “paradise by the dashboard light…”. The instrumentation in this song is fantastic, everything from how the piano starts by driving the song forward to playing a “call and response” in the back and forth between the two main characters. There’s creative use of baseball commentary and such a compelling story that make this song our second “They don’t make music like this anymore Award” Dad’s Rating 10/10
For Crying Out Loud: I’ve always skipped over this song when I listened to this album in the past and ended with Paradise, but for crying out loud, I wish I hadn’t! This really is a great ballad that’s really easy to listen to. The buildup through the song is great and the piano accompaniment is beautiful. I’ve never heard an album be self-aware before, but Meatloaf makes reference to all of the other songs on this album in this song as a closing remark of sorts. See if you can catch them all! Dad’s Rating 7/10
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