Bat Out of Hell – Meat Loaf, Jim Steinman

What absolute legends Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman are. There is no songwriter in the world who could put together an epic that worms itself into your heart like “Bat Out of Hell”, and there is no singer in the world who could pull it off. Meat Loaf’s heldentenor (“heroic tenor”) vocals are so much more honest, so much more human, than anyone I’ve ever heard, and they sound fantastic, grounding his fantastical music in human emotion. Jim Steinman’s writing defines camp, constantly creating characters and plots you have no choice but to empathize with; his music possesses the listener with intensely powerful and bright harmonies, always communicated through beautifully evocative riffs. The two working together are utterly transcendent; there’s a reason this sold over 43 million copies. “Bat Out of Hell” is an absolutely incredible track, full of bright harmony, storytelling instrumentals, utterly euphoric vocals, powerfully emotional moments, and fast, intricate melodies; every single bit of it is utterly perfect, and you’re not allowed to continue reading this blog having not heard it. “You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)” opens with a classic spoken word section and proceeding into a loving, joyous, instrumental buoyed by kind, distinctive percussion that elevates the entire song; from the moment Meat Loaf’s vocals come in over that crisp guitar sting, you’ll be hooked. “Heaven Can Wait” creates perfect interplay between Steinman’s elaborate piano melodies shifting through keys and Meat Loaf’s passionate vocals. The saxophone riff “All Revved Up with No Place to Go” is legendary, and the tense verses build constant anticipation for the campy, joyful chorus and the surprise I won’t spoil later in the song. “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” seems like it may have been the inspiration for a generation of ballads with its perfect mixture of sporadic acoustic notes, steadfast strings, and shifting piano; it’s bittersweet, because this song is fantastic, but the generation of imitators it inspired were trash. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” is simultaneously musically unbelievable and genuinely funny, starting with a classic engrossing synth/guitar arrangement (with excellent piano chord triplets!) moving in and out of bouncy, exuberant swing; it cuts directly into a wild sportscast over some beautiful guitar riffing, and pushes into a delightfully ironic clash of two lovable motifs for the finish. The string arrangement on “For Crying Out Loud” could warm the heart of the coldest old miser— these are the sounds of love, from the unequaled marching percussion to our boy Loaf pouring his heart out on the record. Listen to this inimitable, legendary album; you will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t.

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