Album Review: Meat Loaf – “Bat Out of Hell”

Bat out of Hell is Meat Loaf’s second album, which was released in 1977.  It is the fifth best-selling album worldwide, selling approximately 200,000 copies a year as of 2010.  All of the songs were written and arranged by Jim Steinman, and the album was produced by Todd Rundgren.  There may only be seven songs on Bat out of Hell, but the run time for the album comes out to forty-six minutes and thirty-three seconds.

The album opens with the title song, which is nearly ten minutes in length.  It’s an upbeat number that spends roughly the first two minutes of its runtime building up the music with guitar, drums, and piano before Meat Loaf’s vocals kick in.  This song really sets the stage for the sound of the album, and it has Jim Steinman’s “signature sound” on it.

The next song is “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night),” which is about five minutes long.  It opens with a spoken introduction done by Jim Steinman and Marcia McClain.  Musically, you can hear a 1960s pop influence on this song.  The song also features the theme of relationships, which tends to be a running theme throughout many of the songs that appear on Bat out of Hell.

This is followed by “Heaven Can Wait,” which runs about four and a half minutes.  It’s one of the ballads on the album.  It features piano and strings for its instrumentation.  “Heaven Can Wait” is a rather straight-forward pop ballad, but this sound works with Meat Loaf’s voice.  Next on the album is “All Revved Up With No Place to Go,” which runs a little over four minutes.  This one also has a strong influence from the 1960s, and features a saxophone in its instrumentation.

Next on the album is “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad,” which runs for a little over five minutes.  It’s another ballad on the album, but it has more of a “power ballad” feel to it when compared to “Heaven Can Wait.”  Ultimately, it’s a song sung from the point of view of a person who wants the person they’re with, but they’re not in love with them.

Then, it’s the classic song, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” which is a duet with Ellen Foley.  This song runs for about eight-and-a-half minutes, and it’s a song where the speaker is reminiscing about a relationship from high school.  The song uses some baseball imagery through voice-overs done in a commentary style.  The song climaxes with Meat Loaf and Ellen Foley getting into an “argument” near the end of the song.

The final song on the album is “For Crying Out Loud,” which is almost nine minutes in length.  It’s another “power ballad” type of song.  It starts out rather soft and quiet, but the song builds up in volume and eventually explodes.

Bat out of Hell has become such a classic album that it has spawned two “sequel” albums: 1993’s Bat out of Hell: Back into Hell and 2006’s Bat out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose.  While these “sequel” albums aren’t bad, they just don’t quite hold a candle to the original Bat out of Hell.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of Bat Out of Hell that my husband and I purchased.

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