It’s tough to take Meat Loaf seriously. From the get go, he’s got a ridiculous name. And if you’ve actually listened to any of his music without just dismissing it because it’s Meat Loaf, you know it’s patently ridiculous. It all tends to be about losing your virginity or having sex or motorcycles and more sex. So my point here is that, yes, his music is ludicrous.
But who cares? You’re not listening to Meat Loaf to get some grand artistic value out of it; you’re not putting it on at a funeral or at an art gallery, you listen to Bat Out of Hell at 100 decibels flying down the highway going 95.
So here’s my list of songs by Meat Loaf. They’re not designed for you to like them; they’re not designed to help you get to know Meat Loaf as an artist better. They’re, like Meat Loaf, here for one reason only: To rock out. Get over your prejudice, haters.
“Bat Out of Hell” on Bat Out of Hell
Oh, what a way to begin this song. That piano part is so cool. If I could play the piano for real (instead of just being able to pick out clumsy block chords and Rufus Wainwright’s version of “Hallelujah”), I would play that opening riff every day of my life. And then the guitar riff around the 3:45 minute mark? So badass. And yes, the song is long. But it’s just so much fun it’s hard to turn off. I promise, by the end of it, you’ll be sucked all the way in. And the story is hilarious – it’s about a dude beefing it on his motorcycle and it’s not “Leader of the Pack.” Isn’t that enough reason to listen to it?
“You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)” on Bat Out of Hell
Oh man, the dialogue before the song is worth the whole thing, and I had totally forgotten about it:
“So will you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?”
“I bet you say that to all the boys.”
Hilarious. And a pretty great song, too. The chorus is a goddamn ear-weevil, too.
“Paradise by the Dashboard Light” on Bat Out of Hell
I think Jim Steinman, the guy who writes all of Meat Loaf’s music, must still be a virgin, because like half of his songs are about a high school kid trying to lose it. But this stands out on a different level. First off, it’s very old school, the majority of the song being in a simple 1-4-5 blues riff, with the guitar playing that riff rockabilly style. And, in a running theme, the woman who sings opposite to Meat Loaf is simply amazing. The best part is, unlike a lot of “Yay! I got some sex!” songs, the song has a deliberately unhappy ending, with the couple now being stuck together for the rest of their lives and hating each other for it. And again, it’s just so fun. I remember getting really, really drunk once at my friend Lucy’s house once and this coming up on the party shuffle. Of the like 30 people there, three people danced and sang along, but we (oh, you know I was one of them) sang louder and danced harder than anyone had for any other song.
“All Revved Up and No Place to Go” on Bat Out of Hell
Surprise! It’s another song off Bat Out Of Hell. The moral of the story here is that this album is fucking awesome, and you should be listening to it as often as I do (about two or three times a month). Plus, this song has a wonderful tempo change, something I’m totally a sucker for (as represented by my love for all things Arcade Fire).
“I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” on Bat Out of Hell II – Back Into Hell
Ok, before I start talking about this song, I want to dispel a long-held idea: There isn’t one ridiculous thing he won’t do (like some weird fetish or something), he says what he won’t do. For example, “I’ll never forget the way you feel right now / I’d do anything for love / But I won’t do that,” referencing the first line. It’s not hard, guys, and there’s no bizarre fetish he is abstaining from. Not very exciting, I know, but it’s how it is.
Now, about the song. Yes, it’s very, very long. But it’s so over the top and hilarious in all respects: the lyrics, Todd Rundgren making his guitar sound like a motorcycle in the beginning, the ridiculous over-exaggerated piano. And if you stick through the first nine minutes or so, you get to the best part of whole piece: The absolutely amazing performance of the female vocalist opposite Meat Loaf. I mean, she completely blows Meat Loaf out of the water. And she has the best line in the whole song: “Will you hose me down with holy water if I get too hot? (HOT!)” Simply fantastic.
(Note: The music video for this song is hilarious, but I gave y’all the link to the full version of the song, as the music video version is heavily edited down and I wanted you guys to enjoy it in its full twelve minute splendor.)