Album of the Day: Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell

 

Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell just changed my life.

Yes, I’ve always known “You Took The Words Right Out My Mouth (Hot Summer Night).” It was one of those classics while growing up that your parents would sing silly to, or saw being reminisced about on VH1’s I Love The ’70s series. But a couple weeks ago, I put it on the record player as background music while building a lamp. It made me curious, so I’ve kept it displayed as a reminder to revisit.

And I did this week. And it’s phenomenal. I am a sucker for love songs. I typically strongly dislike theater and show tune-type music, but the guitar does it for me, along with Meat Loaf’s vocals (and the fact that he looks weird), and most of all, the lyrics (which are relatable and perverse).

What’s interesting about the album is that it was written by composer Jim Steinman, who was heavily influenced by the “rural suburban teenage angst” of Bruce Springsteen, as said by producer Todd Rundgren. Three of the tracks were from Steinman’s musical Neverland. And what piques even more curiosity is that Meat Loaf nails the emotion as if they were his own words. Now, to break down some tracks that hit home for me. Give them a listen if you like 5:04 to 9:50-long songs. Watch out, “Free Bird!”

“Bat Out Of Hell”
Escape. Everyone wants to do it when you grow up in a small town. Luckily, I got out.

Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes
When the night is over, like a bat out of hell, I’ll be gone, gone, gone

But getting out is only great when you’re doing it alone, otherwise you’re leaving people you love behind, and in the case of this song, it’s your lover.

Then like a sinner before the gates of Heaven
I’ll come crawling on back to you

And that’s usually how it happens when when love is blind. You follow your dreams, you make it, and then loneliness distracts you, so you keep going back to the place you’ve been trying to escape.

“You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)”
Aside from this song being an amazing love song, it opens with spoken word by Steinman and Marcia McClain, which is damn sexy, but also infuriating.

Again, will he offer me his hunger?
Yes!
And will he starve without me?
Yes!
And does he love me?
Yes
Yes
On a hot summer night
Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
Yes
I bet you to say that to all the boys.

Between relationships in college, I was a player, so the ending line makes me chuckle. But what’s annoying about the opening is that the woman has to question if her man loves her, while the guy just wonders if she’ll succumb to him sexually.

“Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”
This is an instance of someone waking up and saying, “I don’t love you anymore.”

Baby we can talk all night
But that ain’t gettin us nowhere
I told you everything I possibly can
There’s nothing left inside of here
And maybe you can cry all night
But that’ll never change the way I feel

Except…Steinman and Meatloaf say it in a nice way. And the worst part is that the male is pulling the same stunt that a woman pulled prior, to him, which makes you wonder further about the horrible phenomenon of loving people who don’t love you back.

She kept on telling me
I want you, I need you

But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad

The only thing that’s different for me, is that I usually always love the person, I want them, but I don’t need them. So I leave.

“Paradise By the Dashboard Light”
I first heard this song on a curated ’70s playlist on Spotify, and it caught my ear right away – specifically the twists and turns of the music throughout the 8:28 track, and the epic duet between Moat Loaf and Ellen Foley. It’s about two 17-year-old lovers about to get it on in the car. A play-by-play announcer pops in to give a run down of foreplay, then Ellen Foley interrupts before intercourse, questioning Meat Loaf’s love for her. A typical teen romance – a young girl’s innocence and vulnerability vs. a young boy’s sexual drive.

Before we go any further
Do you love me?
And will you love me forever?

What’s it gonna be, boy?
Come on, I can wait all night.
What’s it gonna be, boy?
Yes or no?

To which Meat Loaf responds:

Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby, let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I’ll give you an answer in the morning

Typical male.

Either way, it’s a great song, because if you listen to the verses or chorus out of context, it’s relatable to many facets of love. Unfortunately, Meat Loaf winds up lying to her, and hoping for the end of time. In the last verse of the song, he looks back to that moment from the future, and says how the sex hasn’t been that good since, while the Ellen Foley remains enamored.

“For Crying Out Loud”
This is probably the most relatable song on the album to me. It made me cry. It’s about a man who hits rock bottom. And then it turns into a head-bang at 4:50.

I was lost till you were found
But I never knew how far down
I was falling before I reached the bottom
I was cold and you were fire

His woman is about to leave him, the detachment and betrayal. Then the male realizes everything that his woman has done for him, which he may have never noticed or praised before.

For crying out loud
You know I love you
For crying out loud
You know I love you

For taking in the rain when I’m feeling so dry
For giving me the answers when I’m asking you why
And my oh my
For that I thank you

For taking in the sun when I’m feeling so cold
For giving me a child when my body is old
And don’t you know
For that I need you

For coming to my room when you know I’m alone
For finding me a highway and driving me home
And you gotta know
For that I serve you

For pulling me away when I’m starting to fall
For revving me up when I’m starting to stall
And all in all
For that I want you

For taking and for giving and for playing the game
For praying for my future in the days that remain
Oh Lord
For that I hold you

Ah but most of all
For cryin’ out loud
For that I love you

If you’ve been with a person who battles depression, this song is very relatable; it’s like Meat Loaf is speaking for all of the folks out there in a slump that have great partners in their lives. To which, I say, no one should feel vulnerable, embarrassed, or detached from showing affection when they’re battling inner-demons. The best part about love is embracing it and growing it through the tough stuff. In a relationship, you’re both gonna be emotionally up, down, or opposite at any given time. The best way to preserve love is to not give up when times are tough for one or both parties.

So, yes, I popped my Bat Out Of Hell cherry. I am a sucker for this orchestral album, packed with love songs, dirty lyrics, cute anecdotes, and serious topics. You better believe I’m like a bat out of hell. And for crying out loud, you know I love you.

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