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Bat Out Of Hell

Bat Out Of Hell

November 23, 1989
4.4 out of 5 stars 529 customer reviews
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Format: Audio CD
Those who dismiss this undeniably popular album due to puerile lyrics (generally leveled at this album's sequel), over-the-top production, and Meat Loaf singing so passionately about such adolescent themes as a badly written farce totally miss the point. This is an album that pokes fun at all the rock and roll pretensions that had crept into rock music over the years (Townshend can you hear me?), and it succeeds wonderfully.
There's no doubt about it. BAT OUT OF HELL takes all these adolescent themes, mostly raging hormones, and builds, with operatic flair and lots of kitsch, this preposterously silly album which never-the-less struck a chord with a great many people. BAT OUT OF HELL is a concept album, but it doesn't carry all the serious connotations that such a label implies. This is Steinman taking all these broad-way musical conventions and hiring Meat Loaf, who could belt out vocals like no one else, and giving these teen-age angst-ridden years such a ridiculous setting that you can't help but laughing at the idiocy of what people thought were so important in their youth.
Steinman's and Meat Loaf's chief critics generally site the bombast and blowing up teen-age angst with such an operatic flair. They miss the point. I will always stand behind Steinman's position as an artist because he uses all these so called "weaknesses" for effect. It's a very silly album, but then, it's supposed to be. Even the cover-art is ridiculous. It's all about that bad boy/girl image that's so laughably fake that no one takes them as any real threat. Most call it "Just a phase they're going through.
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Format: Audio CD
The title track begins with jarring , jamming keyboards, rocking guitar that more or less reflects the hard-rocking tone of this all-time classic. The main character here is someone who takes life by the throat in the dark, riding a "silver black phantom bike." With the line "When the motor is hot and the engine is hungry", I'm not sure whether he's talking about the bike or himself, such is the hunger of the main character. And even finishing ten seconds shy of ten minutes, it isn't excessive--worth every minute.
The opening narrative between "the wolf with the red rose" and the girl, probably Ellen Foley, in "You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth" is quite something. The question, "On a hot summer night, will you offer your throat to the wolf with the red rose?" After she presses him with all these questions, such as "Will he love me?", "Will he starve without me?" and having been replied in the affirmative, she finally answers his original question, repeated, "yes." He says, "I bet you say that to all the boys." What a punchline! Hey, women are like that! It bursts into an operatic blaze of sound, the setting being a hot summer night on a beach, where the girl does the title action, just when he was going to say "I love you." The chorus is done a capella with handclaps at the end, in contrast with the rest of the song.
In "Heaven Can Wait", a sweet tender ballad, our main character, is feeling tamed by the girl, whom he equates with paradise. Fate has a funny way in things, as he says, "I got a taste of paradise/If I had it any sooner, you know I never would have run away from my home.
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Format: Audio CD
Bat out of Hell is probably the one album in the history of rock, more so than Sgt. Peppers, more so than Are you Experienced?, more so than Van Halen, that you can honestly say 'There's nothing else like it'. The stellar, powerful singing of Jim Steinman's music by Meat Loaf has been unmatched over time.
This album has truly stood time's tests. It's been recharting steadily over the years (breaking into Britan's top 100 again only a few months ago!) and has sold no less than 35 million, making it the third largest selling album of all time behind Dark Side of the Moon and Thriller. Now that's some fairly good company.
As far as the actual music goes, it's simply amazing in scope and vision. Jim Steinman writes musicals, not songs, each and every time out. Bat out of Hell remains one of the best album-opening songs ever. Paradise by the Dashboard Light has long been, and probably long will be THE Karaoke song, THE Duet, THE ultimate teen-sexuality song. Two out of Three Ain't Bad, aka 'the hit', is still an adult-contemp radio staple, and every other song on this album is just as good.
The musicians backing Mr. Loaf are some of the best of their day... Todd Rundgren, believe it or not, did the lead guitars for the title track in one take (and it's a 10 minute song, people). Max Weinberg and Kasim Sultan made one heck of a rhythm section, taking to Steinman's varied tempos with ease.
The flawless Todd Rundgren productions makes this album the masterpeice that it is. Everything is just loud enough, just long enough, and just *good* enough to touch a button with every human being on the planet. And you know what? Just about all of them bought this album. No sense being left out. Bat out of Hell is truly a highlight of music history.
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