Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell

Meat Loaf

MCA Records, 1993

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


If rock and roll were compared to plays, Meat Loaf would definitely be one of the marquee names on Broadway. There has always been a sense of theatrics to his music, with songs that sometimes border on overproduction and themes that sound like they were plucked from popular culture.

Yet, somehow, he impresses. There's a reason why Bat Out Of Hell continues to sell even today. In 1993, Loaf, along with his legendary songwriting partner Jim Steinman, recorded the long-awaited followup, Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell. And though there are a few moments where "overblown" is a nice expression, Loaf delivers another winning album deserving of its namesake.

The hit single "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" is both an example of how entertaining the partnership of Loaf/Steinman is, as well as how too much of anything can be deadly. The basic track itself is a surprisingly touching love song, in which our hero professes his undying love. (One would tend to think this is a new protagonist, not the same one who was "praying for the end of time" in "Paradise By The Dashboard Lights" off of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Bat Out Of Hell.) It's an incredibly powerful track, but it goes awry when the chorus and bridges are dragged on and on. The track could have easily had about two minutes lopped off, and it would not have lost one ounce of emotion or power - but it would have lost its redundancy.

Loaf and Steinman continue to deliver power punch after power punch on Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell. "Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back" could well be the sleeper hit of the entire album, which shows that Loaf has lost none of his original vocal power. I really can't explain why I like this track so much, I just keep finding myself going back to it time and time again. Another hit single, "Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through," is equally as enjoyable.

There are times, however, that the song titles seem like they were pulled out of a stack of bumper stickers. "Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire)" and "Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)" sound so cliched, while "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are" - I don't even want to know where the title inspiration came from. What is surprising is that, despite the inane song titles, Loaf and Steinman still deliver powerful tracks that transcend any preconceived notions you might have of them. As much as I hate the title, "Objects..." turns out to be a beautiful ballad.

Another sleeper on this album is the spoken-word piece "Wasted Youth," which tells of the love affair between our hero and a Fender guitar (and its eventual attempted destruction). This light-hearted break will put a smile on your face.

For almost the entire album, Loaf and Steinman keep you enthralled and intrigued, proving that Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell might even be a better album than its predecessor - no mean trick to pull off. There have been rumors about whether there will be a Bat Out Of Hell III, but nothing confirmed to this date. All I know is that no matter what Loaf and Steinman come up with for the third album, they're gonna have a hell of a time topping this one.

Rating: A-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MCA Records, and is used for informational purposes only.