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Loafing around

Well, it took me a while, but I finally got around to buying Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose. And it's pretty good.

I was a late convert to Meat Loaf. I spent years mocking him until someone finally made me listen to Bat Out Of Hell, and I thought it was a good album. Then I heard Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, and I was blown away. It's one of my favorite albums.

That's when I discovered Jim Steinman writes incredible music. ("Incredible" meaning "I really like it, so it's great.") He writes fantastic songs with amazingly convoluted titles that just blow me away. Besides writing pretty much every Meat Loaf song worth listening to, he's had his stuff performed by artists as diverse as Air Supply ("Making Love Out Of Nothing At All"), Bonnie Tyler ("Total Eclipse Of The Heart"), Celine Dion ("It's All Coming Back To Me"), and others.

It was with Meat Loaf, though, that Steinman found the singer who could properly give voice to his works.

Bat II is filled with amazing songs. "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are." "Life Is A Lemon (And I Want My Money Back)." "It Just Won't Quit." And the lead track, "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)."

Bat III, though, is a bit of a letdown. Only half the songs are penned by Steinman, and five of them have been done before. It's painful for me to say this, but the Meat Loaf/Marion Raven duet of "It's All Coming Back To Me" is actually inferior to Celine Dion's version. (For the record, the only two Celine Dion songs I can tolerate are both covers of others' songs -- this one and her version of Cyndi Lauper's "I Drove All Night.")

Of the 14 tracks, I consider four of them worthy of being on a "Bat" album -- "Bad For Good," "If It Ain't Broke, Break It," "The Future Ain't What It Used To Be," and the single best track -- "In The Land Of The Pigs, The Butcher Is King." And if you can't tell by the titles, all four are written by Steinman.

I hate to say it, but Bat III drives one point home: Meat Loaf needs Jim Steinman more than Steinman needs Meat Loaf. Steinman can write music that others can turn into monster hits, but I find myself struggling to think of a great Meat Loaf song written by somone besides Steinman.

That being said, Bat III is still a fine piece of work, and ought to appeal to fans of the first two. But it is a serious letdown from Bat II.

And in my fantasy world, Bat IV would feature all songs by Steinman, and at least one duet between Meat Loaf and Christina Aguilera -- if not a solo track by her. That woman has pipes MADE to do a Steinman song justice.

I mean, if Steinman can make Celine Dion sound magnificent and tough and strong, imagine what he could do with Aguilera?


Comments (14)

What's it gonna be, boy, wh... (Below threshold)
kim:

What's it gonna be, boy, what's it gonna be?
=========================

Oh man you almost had me, u... (Below threshold)
Kapow:

Oh man you almost had me, until you mentioned Celine Dion. She really is dreadful.

D'ya suppose Lauper drove h... (Below threshold)
kim:

D'ya suppose Lauper drove her?
===================

At least someone else can p... (Below threshold)
BrandonInBatonRouge:

At least someone else can profess loving "Life Is A Lemon (And I Want My Money Back)"...

That was my favorite song off of Bat Out Of Hell 2, next to the hit "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" that got my family to buy the album to begin with.


I mean, if Steinma... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
I mean, if Steinman can make Celine Dion sound magnificent and tough and strong, imagine what he could do with Aguilera?

I don't think even Steinmen can wipe out Aguilera's skank image.

So - are you going to rent ... (Below threshold)
al:

So - are you going to rent the really bad movie starring Meat - Roadie.

Travis is waiting for you.

Loved I. Liked II. Never ... (Below threshold)

Loved I. Liked II. Never got all the way through III.

Hot Summer Night is still my favorite.

Steinman is a great song wr... (Below threshold)
Bob:

Steinman is a great song writer and a favorite of mine. I even have a cassette tape of Steinman's own album, "Bad for Good," which demonstrates that he's a great writer but not a singer. Meat Loaf was on some TV show (MTV or VH1) and told a story about how Steinman was so wrapped up with his writing, he couldn't get any of his compositions down to record length - everything was 20 to 30 minutes long. If you're a big Steinman fan, you might want to pick up a copy of the original cast recording of "Whistle Down the Wind," Steinman's collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber. It's got a few good songs. Bats I and II were great; Bat III only so-so.

Celine Dion?Man, t... (Below threshold)

Celine Dion?

Man, they MUST have rehab programs for that!

There used to be a chain of rehab centers around here called "Charter Hospitals." They had a great tag-line for their commercials:

"If you don't get help at Charter, please: get help somewhere."

They eventually went bankrupt, so I guess too many people were getting help somewhere ELSE, but the line still was catchy.

And, appropriate for those who have sunken to the depths of depravity by describing Dion as "magnificent and tough and strong." What's next? A whole CD of fingernails dragged across a chalkboard?

What disappointed me the mo... (Below threshold)
JimK:

What disappointed me the most about Bat III is that Meat's voice is dying. He doesn't have that *it* anymore. It's thin where it used to be strong and raspy where it used to be a controlled whisper, and warbly where it used to soar with clear, clean power.

But yeah - Steinman can write him a song, that's for sure. I have exactly one REO Speedwagon song on my iPod along with one Celion Dion, because he wrote them.

Hot Summer Night is still my favorite.

I'll bet you say that to all the boys.

"He writes fantastic songs ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"He writes fantastic songs with amazingly convoluted titles that just blow me away... by artists as diverse as...Bonnie Tyler ("Total Eclipse Of The Heart"), Celine Dion ("It's All Coming Back To Me")"

I know I question your toughness pretty often Jay Tea, but never again. A man who advocates for war/death AND who likes Celine Dion songs is unquestionably an alpha male.

jp2:Nice! That mad... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

jp2:

Nice! That made me laugh outloud! (Lee, take note. TAHT is how to be funny.)

Meatloaf? When iPOds cry....

I agree with JimK 100%. <b... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

I agree with JimK 100%.
Saw Meatloaf live when I was in Ireland several years ago, and he could still belt 'em out... but it seems he's lost what he once had. Have ALL Meat's albums, and it is apparent he needs Steinman to capture those sort of teenage-angst songs that stick with you.

Still love Bat I and II, but III was just sad.

I have nothing to add, exce... (Below threshold)

I have nothing to add, except I never thought I'd see Meat Loaf and Christina Aguilera mentioned in the same sentence.




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