Review Summary: Took the words right out of my mouth.
Talented rock and roll is so rarely overlooked. With its thunderous drums and bass to its screeching guitars, it almost never requires extra attention. There are of course exceptions to any rule, and this time it is Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell
. Despite containing three of classic rock’s most popular tunes, the album is not commonly mentioned among the greatest of its time. There are some reasons for this that are worth entertaining, perhaps the most notable being that it contains so many arena rock clichés (concepts and fully developed storylines, etc.). But make no mistake, this is no run-of-the-mill album. Bat Out of Hell
is, in addition to being Meat Loaf’s greatest accomplishment, a very fun and technically skilled album that is essential to any classic rock fan’s collection.
From the opening seconds of the title track it is clear that pretentiousness and bombast will have their place on this album. “Bat Out of Hell” commences with a progressively driven sound that features very fast-paced piano and pounding drums. This is quickly followed by some epic guitar riffs along the lines of Boston’s “Don’t Look Back.” Everything seems to be hinting towards a heavily instrumental prog-rock album, but it isn’t until the vocals come in that the song really starts to work well on all levels. Due to the energy and strength that Michael Lee Aday (more commonly known as “Meat Loaf”) brings to the table, the overall quality and sound of the entire album is elevated tremendously. This is easily the most evident on the title track, as Meat Loaf belts out Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes
. Meat Loaf delivers an undeniably strong vocal performance over the entire course of the record, and after songs like “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” it becomes nearly impossible to question that he is the reason Bat Out of Hell
is such a successful and high selling record. Yes, the guitar work is quite intricate as are all of the other instrumental aspects, but it isn’t anything that classic rock fans haven’t heard before. The vocals and the relatable lyrics are what makes this album a truly unique experience.
This brings us to what may be the most redeeming quality of Bat Out of Hell
. All technical aspects put aside, this is just a fun album to listen to. Every song is designed to be an up tempo, easy listen. The aforementioned “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” is a prime example, telling a humorous story about a guy who wants to have sex with a girl, but has to tell her that he loves her first. He finally does because “the feeling came upon me like a tidal wave
” and he eventually swears that he will love her until the end of time. Of course, when the deed was done, he regrets this and furiously sings I’m praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you!
Another thoroughly enjoyable track is “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth”, a song that all of us have surely heard at some point. This song went on to become the album’s biggest radio hit, and deservedly so with yet another strong vocal performance, tightly crafted instrumentals, and a summertime feel. “All Revved Up With No Place To Go” is a lesser known gem from this record, but it nevertheless deserves its share of recognition. The beat is oddly addicting and it even features a trumpet solo midway through, making it one of Meat Loaf’s more obscure works. Another important thing to notice about Bat Out of Hell
is that it also features three incredible ballads. The most renowned of these three songs would have to be “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.” The song isn’t anything spectacular from an instrumental standpoint, but it is catchy and extremely fluid, which makes it remarkably accessible. “All Revved Up With No Place To Go” and “For Crying Out Loud” follow a similar formula, but succeed in different ways. These two ballads rely more on their lyrics and the slow, purposeful piano notes to set a tone. Needless to say, Meat Loaf’s vocals are what elevates the songs from mediocrity to exquisiteness.
As a whole, Bat Out of Hell
is a very consistent, very fun
album. At seven songs, it delivers everything that you could ask for from a rock album in 1977. It features larger than life production, soaring vocals, shredding guitar solos, purposeful drumming…you name it, Bat Out of Hell
has it. Yes, it can be somewhat cheesy at times and no, it isn’t “experimental.” However, it accomplishes everything that Meat Loaf wanted the record to be. It is straight up, fun and catchy hard rock tunes with relatable lyrics and an interesting overriding theme/storyline. Every song contributes something important to the album, and there is not one boring moment from start to finish. From just about any perspective, that makes Bat Out of Hell
a resounding, triumphant success.