Meat Loaf / BAT OUT OF HELL II:
BACK INTO HELL
Some sixteen years ago, an unknown vocalist by the name of Meatloaf,
fresh from a stint with Ted Nugent's mid-seventies
"Free-For-All" band, hooked up with a songwriter named Jim
Steinman and recorded what was destined to become a Rock classic: the Bat
Out Of Hell album. Critics hated it with a passion, but to an American
audience sick of watered-down Rock & Roll, disgusted with Disco and
unfamiliar with the Punk stirrings a continent away, Bat Out Of Hell --
with its bombastic, guitar-driven tales of young lust, alienation and
romance -- was bigger than life. The album has been a consistent best
seller since its 1977 release.
After a much publicized and highly public split, Steinman went on to
write a handful of hits for artists like Bonnie Tyler, while Meatloaf
recorded a bunch of albums (some good, some not-so-good) in a battle
against obscurity. To the benefit of an audience still starved for the
real Rock thing, the duo has reunited to create a sequel to one of the
most enduring albums in Rock history.
Slapping Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell onto the CD player is like
being nineteen again. This is the elusive pulse of Rock & Roll, that
hard-to-capture spirit of the music and all of its promise that makes Bat
Out Of Hell II and its predecessor work so well. It's like trying to tell
a stranger about Rock & Roll -- if they don't get it, chances are,
they never will. This disc is loud, overblown and exaggerated, but it's
also got more hooks than a Bassmasters' tournament and it rocks like a
house afire. Even as history repeated itself and critics slagged Bat Out
Of Hell II, it shot straight up to number one upon its release.
The world is a different place than 1977, though, and this sequel
reflects the urgency and identity of the decade. The cynicism of
"Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back," the erotic fantasies
of "Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire)," the confusion of
"It Just Won't Quit" all play to a different time and place.
It's the two key cuts here, however -- the idealistic, decade-old
"Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through" and "Wasted
Youth/Everything Louder Than Everything Else" -- that serve as the
youthful anthems around which all else revolves. It's the energy, the hope
provided by these songs, and in Rock & Roll, that attracts the
audience. It's what Meatloaf does best. It may be better to burn out than
to fade away, and I'm glad that Meatloaf captured the chance to burn
Copyright 1993 by Keith A. Gordon and CONSPIRACY M.E.D.I.A.