Within ten minutes of opening his 1977 album Bat Out of Hell, here are the feelings that performer Meat Loaf has already felt to completion:

  • Desire
  • Anguish
  • Desperation
  • Perfect, adolescent faith in the attachments of the flesh
  • Motorcycle—not classically a feeling, no, but what else can be said about the lyric “I’m gonna hit the highway like a battering ram/ on a silver-black phantom bike” except that it encapsulates the feeling of Motorcycle—that is to say, motorcycle-qua-motorcycle, the Springsteenian motorcycle, the emblem of masculine longing to get out?

That’s five feelings, more than I allow myself to feel on a good day, and he cranks them out one after another in the span of a single song! And as if that weren’t a severe enough display of emotional generosity, he’s still got six songs to go! This is the way Meat Loaf drives me to speak: in exclamations, in exhortations, with my hands full of my interlocutor’s shoulders because nothing on the planet is more important or destructive than human sentiment.

It’s Time to Let Meat Loaf Into Your Embarrassing Little Heart