David Browne
September 17, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Bat Out of Hell II

Current Status
In Season
Meat Loaf

We gave it a C-

Sixteen years have passed since Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell captured the hearts and groins of suburban teens, and it seems to take nearly that long to plow through the interminable Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell (MCA). It’s easy to see why Meat would want to recapture the spirit and sound of his only hit album. And recapture it he and original producer-songwriter Jim Steinman have. They’re all back: Meat’s stentorian throat, the glistening pianos, the boardwalk-opera bombast, the endless song titles (”Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are,” a line that isn’t as amusing since Jurassic Park came out), and the songs about girls, getting cheated by life, and, of course, the awe-inspiring power of rock & roll salvation! Aside from lyric references to being ”politically correct” and colorization, the record could easily have been made in 1978. For all its overwrought qualities, the original Bat Out of Hell did have some context. It was the proud last gasp of a style of innocent, ’60s-anchored pop before the tartan hordes of punk and new wave came tramping down. Bat II could have had a similar relevance to the post-boomer audience that came of age with the first album. At moments-like the relatively restrained ballad ”It Just Won’t Quit”-Bat II addresses those anxieties, if obliquely, and it’s almost touching. Too bad most of the album finds Meat extolling ”sex and drums and rock & roll.” Beneath the music’s high-cholesterol bulk, there’s a sad, autumnal heart beating. C-

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