Review of Meat Loaf: Bat Out Of Hell

Please read Greg Jorgensen’s  selection article of Meat Loaf: Bat Out Of Hell before reading our reviews below.
Quick Summary: 
There have been a few albums that divided the group before but this has to be the new champion. There is no denying the commercial success of this album and that 10s of millions of fans around the world love Meat Loaf. At the time of release it pushed past Prog Rock into a genre by itself and was very innovative and fun. Fans ate it up.
However, not unlike cilantro, in my opinion you either love this kind of music or can’t stand it. Fans and critics are equally as passionate about their opinions but the beautiful thing about music is how personal it is. Nobody can tell you what music you will like or dislike, only you get to make that opinion.
The comments from the group are equally as divided and passionate. You have to read all our reviews about this album. This was a great pick based on the strong emotions it invoked.
What was cool about this album:

  • It was a very influential album for Scott Gregory and Greg Jorgensen
  • Even the haters (Me, Darren included) have to admit that Paradise by the dashboard light is a song that is fun to be involved in a group singing this at least once.
  • The album art is amazing

What we didn’t find so cool:

  • Alain, Scott Coates and Darren did not like this album… at all.
  • Way, way, way too over the top for some of us.
  • The songs get repetitive after a while. I had trouble telling what song I was on a few times.

We have also implemented a rating scale that you will see below in the reviews. All ratings are out of 5.
Our Reviews Average:
Overall opinion: 2.5
Would we recommend?: 2.5
Influenced our tastes: 2
Worth the hype? 3
Read our full individual reviews below. 
Don’t agree with us? Have a comment or suggestions? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or contact us.

Our Full Reviews

 
Greg-JorgensenGreg Jorgensen’s Review
You have to love musicians that revel in their image with a rampant enthusiasm that helps define their entire career – those who wrap their music in an additional layer of theatrics. Bony M wasn’t just disco, they were DISCO. NWA wasn’t just gangsta rap, they helped create and shape the genre out of nothing. Marilyn Manson…well, the fact that entire swaths of the population think (or thought) he’s the literal Antichrist says it all. These acts may just be acts (Manson is a weird dude, but he’s no Satanist) but they’re created and refined and milked for maximum value…the yin to the music’s yang. That’s what’s so great about Meat Loaf.
I love Bat Out of Hell. It’s a cheesy, bombastic, verbose, overly-dramatic album stuffed with horns and guitars and backup singers and screeching, and it’s fun as hell. It’s all about the power of rock and roll and you almost believe that Meat Loaf believes that if you sing hard enough, rock hard enough, and pump your fist at the sky high enough, that maybe an angel holding a guitar will descend from heaven on a bolt of lightning and play a riff so awesome that all your enemies will be destroyed and the hot girl in school will fall at your knees while Frank Frazetta paints a portrait of the whole thing.
In fact, you could probably convince someone who’s not familiar with the album that Meat Loaf is a character, like Pee Wee Herman or Ali G, created by and existing inside of a crucible of pop culture glory. But that gets me thinking…maybe Meat Loaf is real, and Marvin Aday, who showed off Bob’s bitch-tits so well in Fight Club, is the character. Hmm…
I realize other members of the Sonic Collective despise this album, and that’s fine, but it does make me wonder why I like it so much. Maybe it’s because I spent every year in high school heavily involved in musical theater, which clearly inspired BooH. Maybe it’s because I ‘discovered’ this album during a particularly meaningful summer full of friends, girls, and road trips. Maybe I just have a weak spot for cheesy, dramatic rock-opera music.
But despite how much I love this album, it’s hard to realllllly nail down why. Structurally and thematically, the songs are pretty repetitive – love (lost or forbidden), sex (forbidden or almost-had), leather, motorcycles, and dying young and leaving a good looking corpse. The compositions by Jim Steinman are basically variations on a theme – heavily layered with guitars and wood/wind/string instruments of various levels and volumes. Personally, I love the tempo changes, some of which happen slowly (All Revved Up With No Place to Go) or suddenly (Paradise by the Dashboard Light). You may not like the album, but you can’t say the songs aren’t trying for something huge and ambitious.
The lyrics and situations the songs are built around are pure juvenile joy – bringing in a real-life baseball announcer to narrate a boy’s journey to third base; explaining his lack of “I love you” because he was too busy passionately proving it by kissing; “We were doubly blessed – we were barely 17 and barely dressed”; “I can see paradise by the dashboard light”; “Just fuck me now and I promise I’ll think about telling you I love you tomorrow”; – I mean, those are funny allusions to stick in a pop song, especially if you’re immature, like I am.
So yes, Meat Loaf – and Bat out of Hell – is kind of like the red-headed stepchild of the music industry, but damn if it’s not a fun listen, and I enjoy it every spin.
Overall opinion: 4
Would we recommend?: 3
Influenced our tastes: 4
Worth the hype? 4
 
alain-dupuisAlain Dupuis’ Review 
As a frequent karaoke host, I’ve heard my fair share of Meatloaf songs, and they are usually crowd pleasers, so when Greg picked Bat Out of Hell, my first thought was “Alright, this could be fun.” Oh, sweet merciful baby Jesus, I couldn’t have been more wrong. (In hindsight, the fact that my parents own this album on vinyl should have been a clue…)
Okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh. There were some really fun, catchy tunes on Bat out of Hell, but there’s a lot of droning, piano-driven love ballads on this album too, and despite what the sweet cover-art suggests, little to no badassery. I realize this is a completely subjective thing, but love ballads are about as appealing to me as going to the dentist, but without the payoff getting a nice smile out of the deal.
The good:
Paradise by the Dashboard Light, despite being about 4 minutes longer than it probably needs to be, is a very catchy track. No wonder it’s so popular at my karaoke shows! It’s pretty fun and has earned itself a spot in my “Assorted Shitmix” playlist.
Bat out of Hell has a lot of energy. Again, about 5 minutes longer than it really needs to be, but I’ll give it a pass. It’s also pretty dynamic, changing up its tone and pace several times, which helps keeps things interesting, given it’s almost 10 minutes long.
All Revved Up With No Place To Go is another one of those fun, catchy tracks, (Note to self, look up synonyms for “fun” and “catchy”) and, clocking in at just under four and a half minutes, it’s actually one of the shortest tracks on the album.
The piano skills demonstrated on this album are really fantastic. Respect! So is the guitar, for that matter.
Can we talk about how badass the cover art is? I wonder how many people bought this album expecting it to be metal as fuck, only to be sorely disappointed?
The Bad:
For Crying Out Loud – Hang on till about the 4:50 mark, and it’ll start getting pretty good. For the sake of your will to live, be sure to stop listening around the 6 minute mark. (If you insist on listening to the remaining 2 and a half minutes, well… don’t say I didn’t warn you, but there are much better ways to spend your time. Sawing off your own limbs with a hacksaw comes to mind.) I should also mention, if you enjoy this song, we probably can’t be friends.
Heaven Can Wait was perhaps the cringiest love ballad ever written until it was de-throned by Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On in 1997.
The horrible:
Can someone please explain what the hell is going on at the beginning of You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth? That weird verbal fantasy-foreplay thing just ruined the whole song for me, even if the rest of it was halfway good.
That unnecessary baseball-themed sex-noise interlude in Paradise just conjures mental images of Meatloaf boning somebody in a station wagon. I think we can all agree that nobody needs such thoughts. This world is dark enough.
Final thoughts
I figured Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell was going to be a fun album to groove to this month, and occasionally it even was. Unfortunately, I have a great disdain for love songs and all things sappy, so this album is getting swept under the rug, save for a couple of tracks. If you’re a hopeless romantic and don’t mind listening to love songs written by a fat guy named after a medley of ground meats, then boy, have I got an album for you!
Overall opinion: 2.5
Would I recommend?: 2.5
Influenced my tastes: 1
Worth the hype? 2.5
 
smcoates-About-Picture-200x300
Scott Coates’s Review
In my teens I was a DJ at a roller-skating rink, then graduated to spinning at various bars during my university years. Shortly into my tenure at the roller-skating rink an older skater requested Paradise by the Dashboard Light. I gave it a quick listen, thought it sounded rather odd, but was told by an older co-worker that it’s a popular song and to give it a go. At 8:28 in length I thought it a perfect opportunity to use the toilet and chat with a girl for a few minutes. That’s where my relationship with Meat Loaf started and stands.
I’ve never been a fan of musicals and Bat out of Hell always struck me as the soundtrack to one. It’s so over-the-top and over-produced in all respects I still can’t believe it’s not from a musical. How someone can actively listen to this album in their home, while driving, or at any moment has always boggled my mind. I can’t think of any time or situation where I’d want what’s on this album – unless I was taking in a musical – which I don’t. To be fair, many of the tracks were developed from a musical, but the complete album was intended as a stand-alone work. Bizarre.
I’ve never liked black licorice while some people love it. Perhaps this same principal applies to Meat Loaf’s Bat out of Hell? From the first time I heard that first song, it never resonated in any way. Rather, I was instantly repulsed, and despite Paradise… providing time for a much needed toilet break and chat with a cute lady, I still dreaded playing it – each and every time.
Twenty-five years since last hearing Bat out of Hell it was time for a revisit, with a more open mind. While wine, bourbon, and a few other things get better with age, Bat out of Hell doesn’t. From the first note of the first track I was instantly transported back to musical hell and confusion as a 15-year-old teenager at that roller-rink. What is this? Who likes it? Why? I still don’t have the answers and never will. I hereby banish Bat out of Hell to the deepest depths of the infernal regions to never plague my ear canals again.
Overall opinion: 1
Would I recommend?: 1
Influenced my tastes: 0
Worth the hype?: 1
 
Darren Scott
Darren Scott’s Review 
Um… I really don’t know what to say about this pick. I heard that South Korea blasts music across the DMZ to annoy the North Koreans and I assume it is this album. This is not my style of music at all, so fans be warned that this won’t be pretty and you are all entitled to listen to music you like but I think this album sucks.
To me, this album is just way too over the top. This is Prog Rock on crack. I can handle some Prog Rock and Broadway type music but only in small doses. Believe it or not I really love live theatre and I’ve been to a few musicals and enjoyed them. However, though I did enjoy the musicals I just saw them once, said “That was fun.” and I haven’t seen them since, nor had a desire to see Phantom of the Opera again. That is exactly the way I feel about Meat Loaf. In high school when Paradise by the Dashboard Light came on I joined in the fun and would dance with my group of friends as they belted out the lyrics. Again, fun, but I had no desire to buy that song or album and it stayed about as relevant to me as my 80s deck shoes. Both are garbage to me now.
Again, I can see why people like it and there is nothing wrong with that obviously. I just like music with more soul and this seems like an experiment to me in how “white” they could make rock’n’roll. I can picture Meat Loaf working with the composer of the album saying, “Hey, rock was born from primarily black gospel, soul and blues music. What would rock sound like if we stripped all that out?”. It sounds like shit to me Meat Loaf. Ha ha ha…
Though it was torture I did get through the album about 5 times this month and I really did try to keep an open mind. I even tried getting a little wasted and listening as usually that makes me get into the music more. Unfortunately, this was just to far out there for me. I guess the only positive is that I can say I had fun a couple of times in the 80s to Paradise but that’s it. I’ve never owned a Meat Loaf album and that won’t change.
Overall opinion: 1
Would I recommend?: 1
Influenced my tastes: 0
Worth the hype? 2
 
Scott GregoryScott Gregory’s Review
MEATLOAF MEATLOAF MEATLOAF!!!
Out of all the artists we’ve reviewed, I think Meatloaf is going to be the most polarizing one of all. I’d say he’s the meatloaf of music, but that’s just redundant. Let’s call him the cilantro of music: you either hate or love him.
When it comes to this album, I’m very much in the love column. I have enjoyed this album on 8-track, cassette, CD, and digitally. Rather than do my normal take on my favourite songs on the album (Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, You took the Words Right Out of My Mouth, Paradise by the Dashboard Light), I’m going to instead share three facts about this album you might not know:

  1. Meatloaf really loves the weather

Seriously. He just can’t set a song up for you without letting you know what’s going on outside:
It was a hot summer night
and the beach was burning.
There was fog crawling over the sand.
And maybe you can cry all night
But that’ll never change the way I feel
The snow is really piling up outside
I wish you wouldn’t make me leave here
Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night
I can see paradise by the dashboard light
And now the chilly Californian wind
Is blowing down our bodies again
And we’re sinking deeper and deeper
In the chilly Californian sand
You’ll always know whether you need a sweater or not when making out or breaking up with Meatloaf.

  1. Bat Out of Hell has a hell of a lot of piano in it

There’s a full rock opera going on, but if you pay close attention you’ll see that piano is dominating practically every song on the album. Compare this album to The Who’s Tommy or Pink Floyd’s The Walland you’ll see the stark contrast this focus provides the album. It’s quite interesting, considering Bat Out of Hell is squished chronologically between these two. I happen to enjoy the piano, particularly on the last track For Crying Out Loud, where it starts out soft and slowly comes to dominate the soft accompaniment to Meatloaf’s voice.

  1. This album is 100% pure 70s panties remover

Seriously. Now by 70s panties I don’t mean some lady that’s 55 now (although that might be true). I mean, if you can pull off a strong karaoke of these songs at a bar you will not only gain the interest of all the ladies with a great sense of humour, you’ll be able to identify the ones sitting through your performance with a straight face that you should write off. Instantly. If one of those cool ladies jumps up on stage and starts singing the female parts with you, marry (or remarry) her immediately.
This album is platinum and bazillion times over and stands the test of time, if only because nothing else sounds like it and you won’t be tired from listening to all the imitators that have sprung up over the years. Just like the food, there is nothing like Meatloaf, you know when you’re having it, and those rare times you seek it out you’ll be glad you did.
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend: 5
Influenced my tastes: 4
Worth the hype: 5
 

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1 Comment

  1. Hahaha, this was great, guys.
    When Darren told me this was your pick for the month I tried to convince him to listen to it in the office or when driving to meetings a couple of times without success.
    I grew up on this! I had no idea what they were talking about in half the songs the first 30 times I heard them. Then I asked my step-father “what are they talking about?” and we got to have a nice awkward conversation.
    I’m also an illustrator and appreciated the album art ever since i saw it. So great.
    If we never had Meatloaf I doubt we’d have Tenacious D, which would be a shame. It’s funny how much I really like Meatloaf yet dislike the musical Grease, as they have so many themes and other things in common.


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