Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'd Do Anything For Love

This weekend, I heard the infamous Meatloaf song "I Would Do Anything for Love," and it got me thinking: What does that refer to in the song? He'd do anything for love, but he won't do what?

Does anyone know the real reason?

I did some research, and here is what I found thus far:

"Each verse mentions two things that he would do for love, followed by one thing that he will not do. The title phrase repetition reasserts that he 'won't do that' previously stated one thing. Each mention of 'that' is an anaphoric reference to the particular promise that he made earlier in the same verse.

"But I'll never forget the way you feel right now ..."
"But I'll never forgive myself if we don't go all the way tonight ..."
"But I'll never do it better than I do it with you ..."
"But I'll never stop dreaming of you every night of my life ..."

In addition, the female vocalist predicts two other things that he will do: "You'll see that it's time to move on" and 'You'll be screwing around.' To both of these, he emphatically responds, 'I won't do that!'

Some people misunderstand the lyrics, claiming that the singer never identifies what 'that' thing is, which he will not do. Steinman predicted this confusion during production. An early episode of the VH1 program Pop-up Video made this claim at the end of the song's video: 'Exactly what Meat Loaf won't do for love remains a mystery to this day.' A reviewer writing for Allmusic commented that 'The lyrics build suspense by portraying a romance-consumed lover who pledges to do anything in the name of love except 'that,' a mysterious thing that he will not specify.' The reviewer concludes that the mystery is revealed during the closing stages of the song, incorrectly implying that all references of 'that' refer to the female vocalist's predictions at the end. Others assume that 'that' is an exophoric reference to a sex act." (Wikipedia)

Further, Meatloaf comments on the amiguous meaning: "Jimmy always said, "You know what? Nobody's gonna get it." And he was right."

And, when asked in a 1998 interview with VH1 what "that" refers to, Meatloaf replies, "It's sort of is a little puzzle and I guess it goes by - but they're all great things. 'I won't stop doing beautiful things and I won't do bad things.' It's very noble. I'm very proud of that song because it's very much like out of the world of Excalibur. To me, it's like Sir Lancelot or something - very noble and chivalrous. That's my favorite song on the record - it's very ambitious."

So, what does "that" really mean or refer to? Does anyone know?

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