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Meatloaf?

Michelle over at A Small Victory [1] has been going over what she calls over-rated LP’s.

Today she lists “Bat Out Of Hell”, and explains why.

I respond:

For what amounted to a first effort, it was a great album. Consider the times involved. In a musical world where everything was either musical syrup, or even with what existed of Rock and Pop, was coyly hiding behind one facade or another and never really pouring themselves into any performance as a result, Meatloaf was a bit refreshing.

Your complaints here seem to be centered on the idea that the thing… and indeed, all of Meatloaf’s work, specifically where Jim Steinman’s writing, is/was over the top, in every dimension…Audibly, playing, lyrically…. story line…”Everything louder than everything else”, to swipe a phrase.

I’ll be honest with you; I didn’t like BOOH at first. And I particularly got damned tired of playing “Paradise” every time I played a wedding… which meant for a few years there, I was playing it on the order of 100 times a year for a few years. It may have been just a seven minute record to you, but to me it was a coffee break…

Then we didn’t hear from the guy for a freakin decade, except for ‘dead ringer’ in which we saw the drug problems coming out. The producers tried to mix him down to cover the flaws, but it didn’t work.

And when Stienman released “Bad for Good” (1981?) as a solo act…(Which sucked performance- wise) I began to understand where some of the Bombast in Meatloaf’s act was coming from…. Bombast Steinmen himself didn’t have the pipes to pull off.
According to what I was hearing at the time, Mealoaf didn’t either, between the drugs and the touring.

I DID see a really great song in “Rock and Roll Comes through”, and imagined how Meatloaf would have done the tune.. and took Steinman’s release of the song as meaning we’d never hear Meatloaf do it. (Steinman’s version actually made the top 40… a disappointing 31 or 32, I think)

I kinda went dark on the whole thing, at that point.

A few years went by.. what, 13 years or so? And finally BOOHII was released, with “Anything” and… thank God… “Rock and Roll comes through”
and I started paying attention again. My wife actually talked me into going to see his roadshow out here to Darien Lake, where he’s supposedly playing again this summer. THe stage show was the best I’d seen in years… as Spock once said.. repeatedly.. on an Information Society record… the guy was Pure Energy and was literally pouring himself into it.

Well, I was hooked; I’ve always respected someone willing to go the distance night after night.

I’m considering going to see him again when he comes to town this summer.

Now, keep in mind some perspective, here… I listen to about everything going from clasical to Rap, so I’m not as influnced, I suppose, by style as some might be, as much as performance within the chosen musical medium…. Rock, blues, jazz, whatever. On sheer stage gravitas, he’s got my respect.