This album was in 1993, when I was 29 years old. I would have thought it was earlier than that, but so be it. Bat Out of Hell II was apparently Meatloaf’s return to relevancy. (Who, by the way, names themselves Meatloaf for purposes of artistic expression? Okay, never mind.)
I never experienced Meatloaf’s first run to fame with Paradise by the Dashboard Lights, but I’ve seen the live version of that song often enough to fall in love with the drama of the performance.
Bat Out of Hell II though is just one song after another that is the kind of music that appealed to me for much of my teens and 20’s — overwrought rock opera. I mean, I’m a massive Queen fan and if there’s a band that speaks to “rock opera”…
I was reminded of the album a few days ago and pulled it up on Spotify and took a trip down memory lane.
This song is the archetype of the genre, clocking in at a robust 10 minutes and 11 seconds on the album. Nothing speaks to epic rock songs like a song that reaches double digits in the ol’ minutes category. But even more than the length … the lyrics.
Here’s a taste…
‘There was a beauty living on the edge of town
And she always put the top up and the hammer down
And she taught me everything I’ll ever know
About the mystery and the muscle of love
The stars would glimmer and the moon would glow
I’m in the back seat with my Julie like a Romeo
And the signs along the highway all said
Caution! Kids at play!
Those were the rights of spring, and we did everything –
There was salvation every night
We got our dreams reborn and our upholstery torn,
But everything we tried was right
She used her body just like a bandage
She used my body just like a wound
I’ll probably never know where she disappeared
But I can see her rising up out of the back seat now
Just like an angel rising up from a tomb!
But it was long ago, and it was far away
Oh God it seems so very far
And if life is just a highway – then the soul is just a car
My God … these are quintessential rock and roll lyrics. The mystery and the muscle of love? She used her body just like a bandage, she used my body just like a wound? This is poetry. This is art. This is schmaltz like you’ve never seen it before and I love every dramatic, overwrought twist and turn of the thing.
Enjoy. I know you will. Well, maybe one or two of you.