My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Bat out of Hell is the second album by Meat Loaf and his first collaboration with Jim Steinman. The two shopped the songs on the record for years to different producers and labels before eventually ending up with Todd Rundgren producing and Cleveland International as the record company. It was recorded during 1975 and 1976 before being released in October of 1977. The album has sold steadily over the years with 43 million sales world-wide.
What I think: This is a tough album for me to decide how I feel on it. You can look at it on so many levels, twist things around and find yourself hating it in a burst of triple irony. What it comes down to for me though is that it is an amazingly shiny piece of highly operatic rock music which only works if all the parts came together the way they did. The problem is that it is all surface sheen and there is no depth to it. If you want something for a good time, this is it. If you are looking for any soul at all stay away.
The idea of soul/no soul is an interesting idea that came to me while listening to this. My exact thought was “this is like Born to Run without any depth or thought that Meat Loaf feels what he is singing”. In other words it has no soul. Little did I know that there is a huge Springsteen connection within the songs as Steinman was heavily influenced by the album, Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan both ended up playing on it and Jimmy Iovine was in line to produce it at one time. To me that is amazing, the sounds are so different, but I could just feel that influence.
Again, though I’m going to come back to the idea that it is a masterpiece on a certain level and the songs reflect that. My favorites are three of the shorter cuts in “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” which really had a straight up Phil Spector feel, “Heaven Can Wait” which is a “Thunder Road” analog and “All Revved Up with No Place to Go” with it’s building energy throughout.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I agree that it should be here… anything that makes you love it and hate it at the same time for different reasons is something special.
Rating (Out of 5) 4 (but ask me in ten minutes I might give it a 2)
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (95 /401)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 76%