Saturday, January 8, 2011

343. Bat out of Hell. The kind of meatloaf that could send me Vegetarian.

Album: Bat out of Hell
Artist: Meatloaf
Year: 1977
Genre: Overblown Rock

Tracks (with track-length so you can appreciate the full magnitude of the pain)

1. Bat Out of Hell 9:48
2. You Took the Words Right out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) 5:04
3. Heaven Can Wait 4:38
4. All Revved Up with No Place to Go 4:19
5. Two out of Three Ain't Bad 5:23
6. Paradise by the Dashboard Light 8:28
7. For Crying Out Loud 8:45

Sometimes I'm out of step with popular music taste. There are moments when I seem to be on the absolute outer as far as music goes because everyone loves something that I can't abide. One of the most obvious examples of this disconnect is Bat out of Hell which is the fourth best-selling album of all time and the second best selling album in Australia. I did some calculations based on the number of units Bat sold in my home nation (1,610,000) and our population (currently 21,374,000) and came to the conclusion that over 13% of the people in this country owns a copy of Bat out of Hell. That's more than one in ten. According to those maths while I was listening to this album on the train thinking "who likes this stuff?" there must have been at least 2 people on the carriage who have a copy sitting at home in their music collection. I wanted to run around the carriage trying to find these individuals and ask them what the hell they were thinking. What is it they like- the overblown production? The fact that the songs go on for interminable hours? The naff lyrics? What's the appeal?

As you may have gathered I am no fan of Bat out of Hell. In fact I'd go so far as to say that it's the worst thing I've heard on the countdown in some time and I can tell you why. This is basically a musical. It's not rock and roll, it's Broadway doing a crap impression. Meatloaf isn't a rock and roller he's a musical singer and actor playing the role of a rocker. But then I don't think you can blame Mr Loaf for this monstrosity. I've got nothing against Meat, he's a good actor and from all reports quite a nice guy. He's also a good singer who can really belt out a tune. The problem lies at the feet of the loathsome individual who wrote all of these songs. Every note on Bat was penned by a despicable slime-creature called Jim Steinman who has earnt an absolute fortune writing drivel for horrible people to record. In addition to the songs on this and most of the rest of Meatloaf's ouvre he's also written for Barry Manilow, Celine Dion, Boyzone, Air Supply, Hulk Hogan, Bonnie Tyler (He wrote Total eclipse of the heart). If that wasn't bad enough he's written musicals! Honest to god musicals! Including one with Andrew Loyd Webber (Whistle Down the Wind) and one called Garbo-The Musical (which was about Greta Garbo not those guys who empty bins which is a shame because from all reports the musical was rubbish) as well as a musical version of the Batman story which thank god was never actually made. And as if all this wasn't enough, as if he didn't have enough black marks against his name to blot out the sun and cast a pall of darkness over music as we know it, he produced an album by a band called (I'm not making this up) Iron Prostate which included a song called Bring me the head of Jerry Garcia and features lyrics such as "Bring me the head of Jerry Garcia/ He plays guitar like diarrhea/ He's dumb as a doorknob and a ton overweight/ That's why they call him the dreadful grate." It's like he's personally set out to dedicate his career to getting on my nerves. He probably donates large sections of his fortune to right-wing causes around the world and I bet he's responsible for canceling Deadwood, Carnivale and Arrested Development.

Bat out of hell is truly awful. It's an overblown musical with no redeeming feature that somehow sucked in 13% of my nation. Thankfully I can assure you that none of those people are under the age of 35. As the years roll on Bat out of Hell owners will die off and won't be replaced by newer generations who know better than to be conned by this nonsense. Thirty years from now the only people who will remember this album at all will be in nursing homes and here's hoping the first thing that goes when their memory starts failing them are the lyrics to Two out of three aint bad.

Influenced by: Broadway.
Influenced: Some poor selling sequels.

Lowlights: Sooo many. So many but I had to include this spoken attrocity that occurs are the start of track two and is spoken by Steinman himself and an unnamed woman.

Male: On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
Female: Will he offer me his mouth?
M: Yes!
F: Will he offer me his teeth?
F: Will he offer me his jaws?
M: Yes!
F: Will he offer me his hunger?
M: Yes!
F: Again, will he offer me his hunger?
M: Yes!
F: And will he starve without me?
M: Yes!
F: And does he love me?
M: Yes! Yes! On a hot summer night would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
F: Yes!
F: I bet you say that to all the boys

Highlight: The Cover art which is slightly less overblown that the music.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "this albulm rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Meat Loaf is my Hero, whup whup"

-I'm not sure how useful a review is when the ratio of exclamation marks to words is 31:10, especially when two of those words are "whup"

So are you one of the millions who bought and loved this or one of the millions who is baffled by it's success? Let me know below.


  1. hey Dave, I hope you will fogive the following comments. This album was a part of my growing up. It was, let me tell you ,huge , in its day. We all loved it. (We ?)It was a rite of passage record. A road trip record.But Im proud to say I have never owned this album but still count it as a fond memory of my still on going youth.

  2. As a younger (and more contemporary-fashioned) music lover, I still would like to one day get my hands on a copy of this. Just to see what it's about. I keep hearing it's a *classic* rock (as opposed to *classic rock*) album, and the over-the-top thing I could probably get used to.

    Also, the Amazon comment. I don't want to state the obvious... so I won't :)

  3. Your wish on bat owners dying off will not come true because they have exposed their kids to the album so much that there is a new generation of loaf lovers coming through.But i do give you props for the vegeterian heading