The Man Behind Meat Loaf

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So playfully constructed is Steinman’s work that the Wikipedia entry for the Meat Loaf classic “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” from the “sequel” album Bat Out of Hell II features a lengthy subsection on the “Perceived ambiguity of ‘that’.” Yet listening to that twelve-minute beast of a song, you’d be forgiven for succumbing to its utter sweep. It’s a funny song, sure, occasionally verging on novelty. That’s part of the appeal, but it’s all done in such grand fashion, culminating in a thrilling male-female duet, and held together by a deviously catchy chorus. “[Steinman] is, perhaps, the lost genius of pop, stranded—lamentably unlauded—in a world of rock with opera’s attitude, where life has stopped at the point of adolescence that childhood dreams are shattered,” wrote John Aizlewood for Q Magazine upon the release of Bat Out of Hell II in 1993. “Every chorus is like losing your virginity, every verse is like killing your parents. It’s as if Phil Spector and Richard Wagner were making records together.” More at Hazlitt.

Jim Steinman has written some of the best songs I have ever heard and also some of the cheesiest. Meat Loaf, however, is just a good singer.

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