What Won’t Meatloaf Do for Love?

It seems to be one of rock’s greatest mysteries. In the chorus of “I’d Do Anything for Love,” Meatloaf states repeatedly that he would do anything for love, but that he won’t do that. But what exactly does that refer to?

Well, it’s not actually a mystery at all, and Meatloaf has actually stated a few times since the 90s what that refers to. Have a look at the lyrics and see if you can figure it out:

Felix insisted that Oscar do the washing up.
Felix ordered Oscar to do the washing up.
Felix demanded that Oscar do the washing up.
Now that’s much clearer. Taking a moment to choose our words carefully can do wonders to clear up ambiguous sentences. It can be surprisingly hard to do that. We tend to rely on the same stock sentence structures again and again. Which makes sense: we can’t consciously think about what we want to say all the time, or we’d never get round to saying anything. These shortcuts make communication easier. But sometimes language’s simplicity can work against its clarity. This is often the case in academic writing, when we often need to write complex sentences, and using pronouns becomes a little trickier.
No I won’t do that.

16 thoughts on “What Won’t Meatloaf Do for Love?

  1. haha, i’d always wondered what it was that Mr.Loaf wouldn’t do. But, i guess i wasn’t paying much attention to the lyrics, as when they’re written out like this, it seems pretty obvious that he’s saying he won’t forget this lady. If i’m wrong about that, then the obvious thing will be my stupidity, i suppose. But it *seems* like that’s what he’s saying. If that’s not what he’s saying, then i’m lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve got it spot on, and it’s definitely harder to keep up with the storyline of a song when you’re just listening to it. Obviously it’s easier to see the links when you can read them, but I think we don’t usually treat songs as single stories in our head, rather as groups of isolated lines, and we don’t follow the links within lyrics.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True; i know when i’m listening to music i’m concentrating more on how it sounds rather than what it means. Half the time i can’t identify what the singers are actually saying ( “our lips are sealed” becomes “Alex the seal”, etc) Always interesting ( and wise) to look more deeply into the lyrics!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great post. Though even without listening to it, a large, Meatloaf-shaped earworm has now burrowed deep…. Thanks for THAT.

    Liked by 2 people

      • But imagine if the song wasn’t the way it is….. If people didn’t question what “that” is do you think if would of even reached half it’s fame …… We are still talking about it now and him and probably will always be ….. Such an epic rock ballet in pure meatloaf style

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        • To your question, a reasonable one, that, I say both “yes” and “no”.

          The latter is mainly to allow for whatever relevant cultural differences which may be in play wherever in the world you / your culture reside. I say “yes” speaking only for myself as a lifelong American who grew up in a small rural town during the 60’s and 70’s, a time when a main entertainment/influence was mindlessly listening to AM radio day in and day out …… to this day on occasion I still find – usually obliviously until I catch myself – humming the melodies or singing the lyrics to any one of countless “hits” from long ago that I have not heard for decades, in some cases for songs I never really liked to begin with 🤪, but they are in there – my memory – somewhat dormant but sharing space nonetheless with desireable memories …. all part of the effect of how mainstream influence “fame” and conditioning works.

          Ask a young person today and the may well say something totally different or perhaps have less of a clue as to why they really dig an artist and their hits.

          As for my Meatloaf ‘druthers during that era, the more-literal pieces, such as Paradise by the Dashboard Light, were usually more pleasing to my aural taste buds….. to each their own.

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