Retro Album Review – Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf

Hello out there! Lefty here. I am debuting a new feature for our blog. As the title states, I want to try my hand at reviewing/critiquing different types of music. For now I will be sticking to the CDs I own. There will be very little new music in these. I do hope however, to eventually post something about an obscure album or even a more mainstream album that makes you want to try it out.

I love music. I have been this way for 35 plus years. From sitting in front of my boom box with my finger on the record button just waiting for the radio to play the latest song I just have to own to collecting (some might say hoarding) my now way too giant CD collection, music has been something of a calling for me. I have no musical talent on my own and I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Perhaps that is why it is such a wonder to me to see people craft music. The art of fitting lyrics to music and the manipulation of notes to create something beautiful is amazing to me. That being said, let me begin my review.

“Bat Out of Hell” was released in October of 1977. The producer was Todd Rundgren and the composer of the songs and the music for the entire album was Jim Steinman. Of course the vocals were by Meatloaf. To say that this album is theatrical is an understatement. It is theater at its finest. There is so much going on musically. The opening song, “Bat out of Hell”, hits you with this thundering piano, drums and a roaring electric guitar that tells you that you are in for a show like no other. When Meatloaf’s vocals kick in, he belts out the song almost in desperation. Now I will have to say, I have in the past made the comparison to his singing as to that of Mighty Mouse in the old cartoons. That opinion still holds true for me, but for the fun and campiness of this album, it works. There is a cohesion and a flow to the songs. That goes back to the production of Todd Rundgren. He works a sort of darkness to some of the songs and in the next breath makes it fun, as in the song “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights”. Everything on this album is over the top and it is meant to be that way and that is why it is so fun to listen to. I will say however, to get the full effect, I recommend getting the re-mastered version of the CD. It does make the sound cleaner and the vocals clearer. This album is meant to be played loud as any good rock and roll record should be.

Now after this praise, comes the critiquing. Although over all I do really like this album, it suffers from being a product of its age. Younger listeners might not appreciate the long songs or the slower dramatic songs. Also, if you do not get into the theatrics and the grandiose style of the album, you probably will not like it. Straight forward rock and roll it is not.
It is an event. If you are willing to take a little chance and go outside of your comfort zone, I recommend trying it out for size and see if it fits your tastes!

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Thanks for reading!

Lefty

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