Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell – Deluxe Edition
I don’t really see the point. I guess I am not the target audience here. For this “Deluxe Edition,” we get one disc of the original album, largely anticipated and widely hailed when it arrived in 1993, and one disc of edits and remixes, all in a four-panel folding case with a translucent plastic slipcover. I guess I was expecting more.
When Bat Out of Hell II was released, I bought it. I had discovered the original while in high school, and knew better than to raise my hopes for the sequel. In my opinion, Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman could never capture that same lightning in a bottle that was Bat Out of Hell, so I would be happy if it was simply a good album. I was more than satisfied. While a lot of the driving rock had been replaced by a softer sound, there were still enough glimpses of youth to balance the more mature tone. The one-two combo of “Wasted Youth” and “Everything Louder Than Everything Else” was enough to justify the purchase price for me. And the haunting “Back Into Hell,” while not the sequel to “Bat Out of Hell” that I would have written, was an interesting instrumental experiment for the album. Needless to say, the album was a commercial success, going multi-platinum and producing several hit singles.
Speaking of those hit singles, the second disc brings us ten different tracks of four different songs. For those keeping score, you get three versions each of “Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are” and “Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back,” and two versions each of “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” and “Rock and Roll Dreams Come True.” These are single and radio edits and remixes that all blended together and aren’t worth my time. I doubt that I will ever listen to this disc again. In contrast to how I felt when the album originally was released, I had raised my hopes. When I heard “Deluxe Edition,” I was imagining the types of things that you see released on box sets — demo versions of songs that had changed dramatically, songs that didn’t make it on the album, live tracks from the promotional appearances or the tour, maybe even some tracks of just Jim and Meat at the piano going over songs together. But we don’t get any of that. We do that that great packaging though, with some of that beautiful Michael Whelan art from the liner notes enlarged to the size of the CD cover.
I see this as a missed opportunity. Jim Steinman, who handled the production of this edition as well as the original album, had the opportunity to do a “Director’s Edition” of this album. Instead, he went the safe route and included all of the radio friendly tracks that made so much money the first time. If you always meant to buy a copy of Bat Out of Hell II (or if your copy is no longer around for some reason), and you can get a good deal on the “Deluxe Edition,” you should consider buying it. However, if you already own Bat Out of Hell II, I can’t see any justification for an additional purchase.