I first got into Meat Loaf around Christmas one year, when my uncle gave me a Walkman, and the #1 album at the time to play on it, that album happened to be Bat Out Of Hell II. The album intro to Anything For Love, with the guitar effects swirling around you while you have headphones on, was like nothing I’d ever heard before.
Over the few years following, finishing up at school and then the couple of years at college, I picked up the back catalogue, and have stayed pretty current since then. Thankfully for my wallet, he’s not very prolific.
Today and tomorrow, I’m going to try and pick my favourite song from each of his albums, and provide links where possible. Links will be in a summary at the end. Today I’ll take on the albums pre-2000, and tomorrow post-2000 to the present. Difficult to do much past that…
Bat Out Of Hell, 1977:
The title track is a strong contender, as is Paradise By The Dashboard Light, both with interesting stories. The last 40-ish seconds of All Revved Up are pretty fun, too. Ultimately, however, the winner has to be the beautiful Heaven Can Wait.
Dead Ringer, 1981:
Honorable mentions to Peel Out, I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Come Back, and the one I nearly picked, Read ‘Em And Weep. In the end, though, I’ll go with the almost-title-track, Deadringer For Love. The lyrical to-ing and fro-ing between Mr Loaf and Cher, apart from being hard to catch without the lyrics in front of you, are pretty funny.
Midnight At The Lost And Found, 1983:
Midnight At The Lost And Found is pretty fun, and I like The Promised Land (Elvis Presley sang it before, his version is in the movie Men In Black, it’s what Tommy Lee Jones is singing in the car before he makes it go Ludicrous Speed), but in the end this is a fight between two Songs Of Longing: Keep Driving (I can’t go home, don’t take me home, I can’t go home alone), and If You Really Want To (I can tell by the look in your tear-filled eye, you need somebody you can hold on to, if you really want to, I’d love to hold you…). The latter might be more on the creepy side, and the former more desperate. The latter still triggers a What Instrument Is That? in me. Hang it, this one’s a tie.
Bad Attitude, 1984:
The songs Bad Attitude and Piece Of The Action have a similar sort of theme. Bad Attitude is, paraphrased, “the only people who ever made a name for themselves, good or bad, bucked the system”, and the one with the same name as a TOS episode is more “I don’t want to be stuck in a dead-end job, I want to make something of myself”. I’ve listened to those a bunch, and Modern Girl (the line “Once a beautiful Miss America married Mr Right” stuck with me for years, and turned into my story with my wife, pretty much… though those are the parents of the protagonist and his young lady, in the story the song presents). I think the winner, however, is going to be Surf’s Up.
Blind Before I Stop, 1986:
Quite a few I like on this one, and talking about them all really would get convoluted and take a long time. Rock ‘n’ Roll Hero, One more Kiss (Night Of The Soft Parade) rolling into Blind Before I stop. The Song Of Longing called Standing On The Outside (Now I don’t want to live without love anymore, just want to live my life, and love’s going to open up the door…), which might on another day have one. Today, though, today Execution Day wins. It’s been one of my favourites for a long time. Fun fact: I entered a poetry competition at my college with two poems, one inspired by Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back, and one more loosely inspired by Execution Day. I preferred the Execution Day one, but the Life Is A Lemon one won me a prize. Guess I did get some money back.
Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, 1993:
This one’s been with me the longest, guess it’s going to be harder to choose. Anything For Love with its epic intro? Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through, which I’ve listened to so much I know the backing vocal parts? (Keep on believing, and you’ll discover, baby!) So many others that have years of meaning. I’m going to go with the fun Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire).
Welcome To The Neighbourhood, 1995:
And this album only has two years less meaning. I’d Lie For You (etc) is running too close to Anything For Love, after a few listens. Where The Rubber Meets The Road is better. Original Sin would make a GREAT song in a musical (along with Sympathy For The Devil). Where Angels Sing is a beautiful song like Heaven Can Wait. I’m going to go with Amnesty Is Granted. The story is about two strong-willed people with relationship difficulties trying to get back together. It would be interesting to hear the other side’s perspective on this reconciliation attempt. Because there’s the possibility she might not take it so well (even with the “sorry” at the end).
Summary for part 1:
Heaven Can Wait
Dead Ringer For Love
Tie: Keep Driving and If You Really Want To (though, what on earth is up with that music video?)
Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire)
Amnesty Is Granted