Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Meat Loaf

  • Bat out of Hell [Epic, 1978] C-
  • Bat out of Hell II: Back to Hell [MCA, 1993] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Bat out of Hell [Epic, 1978]
Here's where the pimple comes to a head--if this isn't adolescent angst in its death throes, then Buddy Holly lived his sweet, unselfconscious life in vain. The lyrics offer wit amid heat and power (will "lyric-sheet verse" soon turn into the macho converse of "greeting-card verse"?) and the music pulls out the stops quite knowingly (will Phil Spector soon be remembered as the Rachmaninoff of rock and roll?). Occasionally it seems that horrified, contemptuous laughter is exactly the reaction this production team intends, and it's even possible that two percent of the audience will get the joke. But the basic effect is grotesquely grandiose. Bruce Springsteen, beware--this is what you've wrought, and it could happen to you. C-

Bat out of Hell II: Back to Hell [MCA, 1993]
this time he plays it for laffs ("Life Is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back," "Everything Louder Than Everything Else") *