- Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are
"Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are" Single by Meat Loaf from the album Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell Released 1994 Format CD, cassette Recorded Ocean Way Recording (LA) Genre Soft rock Length 10:15 Label MCA Writer(s) Jim Steinman Producer Jim Steinman Certification Platinum (RIAA) Meat Loaf singles chronology "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through"
"Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are"
"I'd Lie for You (And That's the Truth)"
"Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are" is a song composed and written by Jim Steinman, and recorded by Meat Loaf. The song was released in 1994 as the third single from the album Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell and it reached #38 on US's Billboard Hot 100, and #26 in the UK Top 40. With its chart success, this song became the hit with the longest un-bracketed title until Panic! at the Disco's "Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off". The title is derived from the safety warning on car side mirrors in the US, "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear".
Steinman reused the melody, with new lyrics by Michael Kunze, for "Die Unstillbare Gier", a song in the Tanz der Vampire productions, and for "Confession of a Vampire" in the ill-fated US version (Dance of the Vampires).
Music and lyrics
"Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are" is a three part narrative, centred upon the seasons summer, winter and spring. According to Allmusic, it draws "its inspiration from the singer’s often-tragic childhood. The lyrics portray a man who has overcome tragedies in his life yet still feels haunted by their memory." BBC.co.uk also says that the song about a "melancholy middle-aged man reminiscing about his youth... is in many ways uncomfortably close to home, dealing as it does with episodes uncannily similar to events in his own life." Steinman says that it was "the hardest song to write and get across."
It's a very passionate song. It's really, I think maybe, the most passionate one on the record. I mean, I'm really proud of it because that's really one that goes over-the-top in the sense that it's got images - it has religious imagery of resurrection, it's got images of fertility and rebirth, it has really very good sexual images, images of cars - which I always like.
Allmusic says "the music takes the concept of a power ballad to epic heights: the verses build from somber softness to piercing heights of drama before giving way to a chorus that releases the tension with a meditative melodic figure that underlines the hypnotically-repeated title in a soothing fashion."
The first verse is set in summer, when "the skies were pure and the fields were green." The vocalist describes his close friendship with his best friend, who dies prematurely in a crash. Although Kenny has died, the vocalist reveals how his memory lives on:
- There are times I think I see him peeling out of the dark
- I think he's right behind me now and he's gaining ground
Each verse concludes by declaring that the preceding events "were long ago" and "far away." He compares his life to a highway, and his soul to a car. This leads on to a repetition of the title.
The second verse is darker in tone. The season is winter, when "dreams would freeze," and the sun has "descended." The lyrics document a physically abusive "dangerous and drunk" father, reflecting Meat Loaf's real life youth. Like the first verse, the memories of the past still affect the present.
- And though the nightmares should be over
- Some of the terrors are still intact
- I'll hear that ugly coarse and violent voice
- And then he grabs me from behind and then he pulls me back
Again, the title is repeated several times, softly at first, building into a more dramatic intensity. Allmusic says it starts "with gentle piano and synthesizer licks that are built up with power chords to enhance their drama and weaving stirring, choir-styled backing vocals into the chorus that keep its repetition fresh by giving it new layers." An instrumental piano and guitar section bridges the second and third verses. The "choir-styled" wordless background vocals were arranged by Todd Rundgren. Guitar is gradually given more emphasis in the mix as the band plays the melody of the verse, concluding with the instrumental of the opening line of the verse.
The third verse describes "a beauty living on the edge of town" and a seemingly intense sexual relationship. However, their relationship ends. Conforming to the structure of the song, and its title, her memory is still present.
- She used her body just like a bandage;
- She used my body just like a wound
- I'll probably never know where she disappeared
- But I can see her rising up out of the back seat now
- Just like an angel rising up from a tomb
After the title line is repeated twelve times, with growing volume and intensity, the vocalist quietly repeats the first four lines of the above.
Michael Bay directed the music video for Propaganda Films. He also directed the videos for "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" and "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through", also from Bat out of Hell II. Allen Daviau was the cinematographer.
The music video has overlapping features so that it looks like that the actors are ghost-like, appearing and disappearing. The length of the music video is 7:42, compared to the 10:15 single version. Actors include Robert Patrick as Kenny's father, Greg Trock as Kenny, Will Estes as the grieving friend (young Meat Loaf), Joshua Diaz as the childhood iteration of Meat Loaf, and an unidentified model as "The Beauty on the Edge of Town".
Filming took place in and around Denton,Tx. Several parts were shot in Slidell, Texas on a large ranch. The scene with the "beauty at the edge of town" washing her car was filmed in Valley View, Texas, near to the Oklahoma border.
The video opens with Kenny playing with his friend (Josh Diaz), and the father (Robert Patrick) letting them sit in his plane. A little older, Kenny takes the plane for a ride. The father runs outside just in time to see Kenny lose control of the aircraft, crash and killed ("They said he crashed and burned"). The firefighters extinguish the fire from the wreckage and an ambulance takes away the body.
In the second section of the song, the protagonist (Will Estes )sees the ghost of the plane fly over the graveyard at Kenny's funeral. Synchronic with the lyrics relating to "winter" ("freeze"; "no leaves on the trees") in this verse, some of the mise-en-scene is minimal. It shows his father as a family man during the day but an abusive alcoholic all the time. The line "He hit me again, and again, and again" is accompanied by a baseball scene, rather than visually depicting the violence of "hit" that the autobiographical elements suggest.
He runs away trying to regain his freedom ("I had to run away alone... my life became my own"). He then meets an older woman who teaches him everything "about the mystery and the muscle of love." A risqué sequence of them engaging in sexual activity in the back of a car matches the lyrics ("She used her body just like a bandage/She used my body just like a wound").
At the end of the video, whenever Meat Loaf sings the line "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than they Are", he sees either the ghost of the plane, the woman or himself when he was younger. As with the lyrics, the sequence depicts how, as Allmusic says, "he still feels haunted by their memory."
Single release and reception
The song was the third track from Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell released as a single. It reached #38 on US's Billboard Hot 100, and, in May 1994, #26 in the UK Top 40. The UK Virgin release also featured two tracks performed live in New York City in July 1993: "All Revved Up with No Place to Go" and "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad." Other versions included live renditions of "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" , "Masculine" and his cover of "Roll Over Beethoven". Like the album and other singles from Bat II, the artwork for the cover was by Michael Whelan. The graphic also appears alongside the song's lyrics in the album's booklet.
The length and narrative led Q magazine to call the song a "near-Springsteen parody ballad." It remains a major favorite with Meat Loaf’s fans thanks to its autobiographical quality. When Meat Loaf performed the song at the Royal Albert Hall in London in October 2006, one reviewer called the "little known but well loved song" a "showstopper."
The song was specified in some of the album's negative reviews, mainly its length and the repetition of the title line. Rolling Stone referred to the songs, naming "Objects", as "harmless, low-octane operatic drivel" with "insufferably long Steinman compositions with equally long names." The Fort Worth Star-Telegram also referred to the length of the songs on the album, in which Steinman "vomits up 75 minutes of endlessly repeated choruses."
Meat Loaf performed the song on the 14 April 1994 edition of the BBC television show Top of the Pops. Live versions of the song were included on the 1996 Live Around the World album and the 2007 3 Bats Live DVD. The Dream Engine performed the song at the Over the Top concerts at Mohegan Sun: this arrangement had the second verse being performed by a female vocalist. Steinman reused the melody, with new lyrics by Michael Kunze, for "Die Unstillbare Gier", a song performed by the character Graf von Krolock in the Tanz der Vampire productions. Steve Barton performed the song on the 1998 Original Vienna Cast Recording. Steinman rewrote the Tanz version into English as "Confession of a Vampire" for the ill-fated US version (Dance of the Vampires) of the musical starring Michael Crawford.
- Meat Loaf – lead vocals
- Bill Payne – piano
- Eddie Martinez – guitars
- Rick Marotta – drums
- Steve Buslowe – bass
- Jeff Bova – synthesizer, programming
- Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Max Haskett, Lorraine Crosby, Stuart Emerson – background vocals
- Ellen Foley, Rory Dodd – additional vocals
- ^ "Record Breakers and Trivia : Singles : Miscellany". everyhit.com. http://www.everyhit.com/record7.html. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- ^ a b c d e f Guarisco, Donald A.. "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/song/t3395235. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
- ^ a b "Meat Loaf - the Singer". BBC.co.uk. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A863435#back4. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- ^ Jim Steinman (1993). Back into Hell: Meat Loaf & Jim Steinman interview (DVD). Virgin Records.
- ^ Steinman, Jim. "The Artist's Mind Jim Steinman On..". http://www.jimsteinman.com/bat2am.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
- ^ The lyrics do not make clear what kind of crash, although the music video uses a flying accident.
- ^ a b "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are". meatloaf-oifc.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-15. http://web.archive.org/web/20070915155119/http://www.meatloaf-oifc.com/meat/objectsrear.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- ^ Lea H.. "The Making of Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are". meatloaf-oifc.com. Archived from the original on 2007-07-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20070719034744/http://www.meatloaf-oifc.com/meat2/makingobjects.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- ^ "Will Estes Filmography". Willestes.com. http://www.willestes.com/filmography.html#muv. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
- ^ Rice, Tim; Paul Gambaccini & Jonathan Rice (1995). British Hit Singles (10th ed ed.). Middlesex: Guinness. p. 209. ISBN 0851126332.
- ^ "Meat Loaf". mattscdsingles.com. http://www.mattscdsingles.com/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Meat_Loaf__609.html. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- ^ (1993) Album notes for Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell by Meat Loaf [booklet]. Virgin (CDV2710 - 7243 8 39067 27).
- ^ Nicol, Jimmy. "Excessive - Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell" (Reprint on website). Q (EMAP). http://www.jimsteinman.com/excess.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
- ^ Tuckwell, Catherine. "Meatloaf - Royal Albert Hall". DN Magazine. http://www.dnmagazine.co.uk/review/gigs/meatloaf.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- ^ Birkbeck, Matt (28 October 1993). "Album Reviews: Meat Loaf, Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/toddrundgren/albums/album/112139/review/6067725/bat_out_of_hell_ii_back_into_hell. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- ^ "unknown" (Quotation reprinted on website). The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 1993. http://www.jimsteinman.com/see.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- ^ "Objects In The Rear View Mirror". BBC.co.uk Top of the Pops video archive. http://www.bbc.co.uk/totp/artists/m/meat_loaf/clips/objects_in_the_rear_view_mirror.shtml. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
- ^ "Steve Barton". BroadwayStars.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. http://web.archive.org/web/20070929001135/http://www.broadwaystars.com/bios/b/barton-steve.shtml. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
Meat Loaf Studio albumsStoney & Meatloaf (1971) • Bat Out of Hell (1977) • Dead Ringer (1981) • Midnight at the Lost and Found (1983) • Bad Attitude (1984) • Blind Before I Stop (1986) • Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell (1993) • Welcome to the Neighbourhood (1995) • Couldn't Have Said It Better (2003) • Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose (2006) • Hang Cool Teddy Bear (2010) • Hell in a Handbasket (2011) Live albumsLive at Wembley (1987) • Live Around the World (1996) • VH1: Storytellers (1999) • Bat out of Hell: Live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (2004) • 3 Bats Live (2008) CompilationsHits out of Hell (1984) • The Big Ones (1984) • Heaven & Hell (1989) • Paradise By The Dashboardlight (The Very Best of) (1991) • Back From Hell! The Very Best of Meat Loaf (1993) • Back From Hell Again! - The Very Best of Meat Loaf Vol. 2 (1994) • Alive In Hell (1994) • Heaven Can Wait – The Best Ballads of Meat Loaf Vol. 1 (1996) • The Very Best of Meat Loaf (1998) • Piece of the Action: The Best of Meat Loaf (2009) Videography ToursBat Out of Hell (1977-78) • Dead Ringer (1981) • Meat Loaf & The Neverland Express Euro '82 (1982) • World Tour / Monsters of Rock (1983) • Bad Attitude (1984-85) • 20/20 (1986-87) • Lost Boys & Golden Girls / Bat Out of Hell 10th Anniversary (1988-89) • Everything Louder (1993-95) • Born to Rock (1996) • The Very Best of... (1999) • Storytellers (1999-2000) • Night of the Proms (2001) • Just Having Fun... (2002) • Couldn't Have Said It Better (2003-04) • The Hair of the Dog (2005) • Seize the Night / The Three Bats (2006-07) • Casa de Carne (2008) • Hang Cool (2010-11) • Guilty Pleasure (2011-12) Singles"What You See is What You Get" • "It Takes All Kinds of People" • "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" • "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" (w/ Ellen Foley) • "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" • "All Revved Up with No Place to Go" • "Bat Out of Hell" • "I'm Gonna Love Her for Both of Us" • "Dead Ringer for Love" (w/ Cher) • "Read 'Em and Weep" • "Peel Out" • "In Europe '82 (4 Track EP)" • "If You Really Want To" • "Razor's Edge" • "Midnight at the Lost and Found" • "Modern Girl" • "Nowhere Fast" • "Surf's Up" • "Sailor to a Siren" • "Piece of the Action" • "Rock 'n' Roll Mercenaries" (w/ John Parr) • "Getting Away with Murder" • "Blind Before I Stop" • "Special Girl" • "A Time for Heroes" (w/ Brian May) • "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" (w/ Lorraine Crosby) • "Life Is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back" • "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" • "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are" • "I'd Lie for You (And That's the Truth)" (w/ Patti Russo) • "Not a Dry Eye in the House" • "Runnin' for the Red Light (I Gotta Life)" • "A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing to Waste" (w/ Bonnie Tyler) • "No Matter What" • "Is Nothing Sacred" (w/ Patti Russo) • "Did I Say That?" • "Couldn't Have Said It Better" (w/ Patti Russo) • "Man of Steel" • "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" (w/ Marion Raven) • "Blind As a Bat" • "Cry Over Me" • "Los Angeloser" • "If I Can't Have You" • "All of Me" Related articles
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