“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” by Meat Loaf

“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” is a song which, as implied by its title and vocalist, does in fact possess a comedic slant. But conclusively, reminiscent of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light“, the romantic subject matter being dealt with is quite serious. And in this case, what we are basically dealing with is a relationship that has run its course. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Meat Loaf's Two Out of Three Ain't Bad at Lyrics.org.

By the time all is said and done, it is somewhat evident that both parties involved, i.e. the vocalist and the primary addressee, his ex, knew that doing so was for the best. But that realization did not minimize the emotional pain that was part and parcel of their breakup, especially on behalf of the vocalist.

Title (“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”)

And it is that general idea that leads us to the title. As presented, the fault of this romance was that it was indeed a loveless one, particularly as far as the addressee is concerned. But that does not mean that the participants did not derive any type of benefit from its perpetuation. 

Or as stated, the vocalist ‘wants and needs’ the addressee. And she too ‘wants and needs’ him. But the latter does not actually love the former. And even the vocalist, who begged the addressee not to leave him, is forced to admit in his heart that no matter how hard they tried, it’s not like he could make love materialize when none was actually there. Or put differently, all lyrics considered, he could not force this woman to love him.

And in breaking his heart, she too acknowledges that she does in fact want and need yet does not actually love Meat Loaf. This is where the phrase “two out of three ain’t bad” comes into play. 

So it’s sorta like she’s telling him to just appreciate the time they had together for what it was worth. But such reasoning is not minimizing the pain of the vocalist being heartbroken, even it seems some years after the fact.

Meat Loaf, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" Lyrics

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf (1947-2022) who it can be said specialized in comedic content (i.e. his stage name for instance). Accordingly many people may have perceived him as sort of a joke of an entertainer. But the reality is that he’s actually one of the best-selling musicians in industry history. A bulk of that commercial success is actually attributable to his debut album, “Bat Out of Hell”.

“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”

“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” came out as a single from Meat’s “Bat Out of Hell” project on 31 July 1977. 

The song itself was a mild hit, nearly breaking the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and also achieving platinum status stateside (eventually, in 2018). And after “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”, which is also featured on the same album, many people consider this piece to be Meat Loaf’s most noteworthy song.

The writer of this song was Jim Steinman (1947-2021). Its producer was Todd Rundgren. To note Steinman actually wrote the entirety of “Bat Out of Hell”. This particular piece was the last he penned for the project. And he did so after being inspired by actress Mimi Kennedy to write a song simpler than his established norm, using an Elvis Presley track entitled “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” (1956) as an example. It is for this reason we find the phrase “I want you, I need you” in the chorus of “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”.

Interesting and funny to note is that in Japan, the title of this song is translated to “A 66% Seduction”. 

“Two Out of There Ain’t Bad” marks the second highest Meatloaf ever charted on the Billboard Hot 100. It performed better in that regard than any other single from “Bat Out of Hell”. Part of its success was attributable to Meat Loaf performing the tune on Saturday Night Live, which he did so on the date of 25 March 1978.

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

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