Meatloaf's "2 out of 3 Ain't Bad" - A Mix-Up?

While I get the gist of this song, the meaning to his lyrics see all jumbled. First, it sounds like he’s admitting to his SO that their relationship cannot ever be anything more than what it is, and so it must end here. And yet, in the same breath, he says you’ve been cold to me for so long that he’s crying icycles instead of tears. Huh? :confused: Does that really mesh with the image he’s trying to portray of someone to whom he’d say “I want you, I need you, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you, so don’t be sad…”? Like, a person that is as cold as all that would even feel sadness over these words? I don’t get it. :mad: I’ve listened to this song a hundred times and I don’t get it. :mad:

DO other SDopers agree? There’s something inconsistent about his lyrics in this song, and his other songs just flat-out suck, IMHO. - Jinx

Taking a shot…

I’m a Meatloaf fan but I am not staring at the lyrics so maybe this is faulty…

The guy DOES love her. BUT he got hurt before by someone else who said the “I want you, I need you…” line and that messed him up. So he’s afraid of getting hurt again so HE’S doing the hurting.

Meatloaf still loves this other woman who didn’t love him (“There’s only one girl that I will ever love/And that was so many years ago/And though I know I’ll never get her out of my heart/She never loved me back, ooh I know”). So he can’t love the woman he’s singing to.

What I had forgotten about the song was that it’s the woman not Meatloaf who’s ending the relationship.

The woman is ending the relationship because the guy doesn’t love her. He’s trying to explain WHY he doesn’t love her, and also that he understands her position because he’s been there.

IIRC doesn’t he tell a few different stories in the song?

One where he says it to a woman and one where a woman says it to him?

The last verse goes:

Well, there’s only one woman I will ever love
And that was so many years ago.
And though I know I’ll never get her out of my life.
She never loved me back. Oooo, I know.
I remember how she left me on that rainy night.
How she kissed me and got out of my bed.
And though I begged her and I pleaded with her not to go
She packed her bags and turned right away.
And she kept on telling me, she kept on telling me…

I want you, I need you, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you.
So don’t feel bad. Cause two out of three ain’t bad.

I love that album, though I think “For Crying out Loud” is a better song.

The OP seems confused mainly by the line “you’ve been cold to me for so long”, and wonders why MeatLoaf would want to stay with her.

The relevent verse goes:

I poured it on and I poured it out
I tried to show you just how much I care
I’m tired of words and I’m too hoarse to shout
But you’ve been cold to me so long
I’m crying icicles instead of tears

My interpretation of the line is that it refers to only a few hours, they’ve been talking about it all night, ever since ML admitted that he is unable to love her. Before tonight, she was always warm to him.

OK, I thought this song was about a guy dumping his current GF cuz he doesn’t love her and using the same words that his ex (who he does love) used to dump him for the same reason.

After examing the lyrics in question , I must say I now agree with Jinx. Loaf doesn’t know what he wants apparently, and can’t decide if his current GF is cold or loving.


“I tried to show you just how much I care” * Well, do you or don’t you? You’ve already said you don’t love her*

“Baby you can cry all night…” * I though she was so cold, she makes you cry icicles? Seems a cold bitch wouldn’t cry all night over you*

Granted, we are probaby WAY overanalyzing this song.

What I do know is that if you are 16 years old and buzzed on Coors Light, this song is FANTASTIC to get a hummer to. Maybe that’s all I need to know

Some people can be really pissed off at people they like a lot (or even love) and/or acting one way while feeling another… or doing and feeling all types of weird, crazy, and conflicting things at once.

Anyway, the Woman is in love with the Singer, and has recently figured out that the Singer doesn’t love her back. It is unclear when she figured this out (possibly earlier that night, possibly a few weeks ago) - but it doesn’t matter, she’s been acting “cold” to the Singer since she found out. Does that mean she doesn’t love him? Not necessarily. She might just be pissed. She might be trying to punish him into loving her (which never works, of course, but still happens)

The song takes place on the night of the “Why don’t/can’t you love me?” fight that eventually ensues. There has obviously been talking, shouting, crying, &tc. And so this song is the Singer’s “last word” in the whole process.

I love this song, but I’ve got to say that while he can write a rockin’ tune, Jim Steinman’s lyrics tend to have all the finese of a freight train, and lack in consistancy. Hell, 15 years after this album, he leaves us wondering what the heck the Meat won’t do for love.

That said, as far as ‘deep’ and ‘meaning’ go, Two out of Three Ain’t Bad is the tops for Steinman.

The theme I got out of it was “Wounded hearts create wounded hearts”

ML’s song “character” got his heart stomped by a woman who apparently couldn’t love him (the inferrence is that she too had the same treatment earlier and was unwillingly passing it on). He in turn is now unwillingly breaking the heart of the song’s subject character.

Elton sings the circle of life; Meatloaf sings the circle of heartbreak.

I think we’re looking waaaaay too deep here. Mr. Loaf has a fine sense of showmanship and all that, but I suspect most of these lyrics were chosen because they rhyme.

If you want to talk about mixed up, Objects in the Rearview Mirror is a classic one.

The song goes, “Objects in the rearview mirror/May appear closer than they are.” But that is not what is printed on a rearview mirror. “Images are closer than they appear” or something like that, which was used to great effect in Jurassic Park.

Did Meatloaf confuse the writing on the rearview mirror? Or is he saying you must not let long-ago events overwhelm your present?

I like to think it’s the latter, but there’s still a sneaking suspicion that he might have forgotten the exact wording on a rearview mirror.

It’s a shame he missed his mark. Maybe Meatloaf was drunk when he jotted the lyrics down on some cocktail napkin? It’s a shame he didn’t stick with one direction and go with it in that first verse. It’s an awesome song if you get passed that. Shame he didn’t think it through… - Jinx

I agree. The lyrics to Meatloaf’s songs roll off my tongue like a mouthful of peanut butter, or alum! :wink: - Jinx

NB, Meatloaf doesn’t actually write his own songs, the two albums of his I have were entirely written by Jim Steinman.

Woman: “After a while you’ll forget everything
It was a brief interlude and a midsummer night’s fling
And you’ll see that it’s time to move on”

Meat: “I won’t do that! No I won’t do that!”

W: “I know the territory, I’ve been around
It’ll all turn to dust and we’ll all fall down
And sooner or later, you’ll be screwing around”

M: “I won’t do that! No I won’t do that!”

I think it’s clear what he means. The problem is that it doesn’t work with the title and the motif of the song: screwing around and moving on don’t stand in opposition to the title, there should be a contradiction of some kind. “I would do anything for love, but I won’t leave you and cheat on you?” That doesn’t work at all. Those are things you’re not supposed to do in the first place, numbskull!

Which is why I reject that interpretation. It makes zero sense for him to say, “the only thing I won’t do for your love is to cheat on you.” How could that be what he means? I prefer ambiguity to straight out nonsense! :slight_smile:

I think the message is clear–there ain’t no Coupe de Ville hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box.

Think about it.

I think we’ve established that there’s nonsense aplenty in the Meatloaf canon.