It’s not easy being stuck at home all day. Cultural institutions are doing their best to bring us the world at the touch of a computer key, but sometimes, the greatest form of escape is simply a really long song, or a classic movie, or a compelling book. Here, AIR MAIL editors share their suggestions for what to do when you’re looking for some freedom.
Bat Out of Hell, by Michael Lee Aday
The biggest misstep of Michael Lee Aday’s career was surviving the release of his 1977 debut album, Bat Out of Hell. Yes, we’re talking about Meatloaf here. If he had only allowed life to mirror art, and gotten himself tossed from some speeding motorcycle on a dark, wet night, he would have cemented himself a rare position in the pantheon of rock-and-roll mystique and legendry. But he lived, and despite the clownish flops that followed, Bat Out of Hell remains one of the most outrageously impressive pieces of music ever written. The album is a pornographic powerhouse of rock and roll: an ingenious blending of Phil Spector’s wall of sound, 70s glam rock, and opera itself, all firmly grounded in the mythos of the American teenage psyche. Imagine Born to Run blown apart in a tragic drag-racing accident, and then Frankensteined back together with denim rivets, motorcycle grease, and used condom wrappers. If played at the appropriate volume (the maximum your speakers, not your neighbors, will allow), for 46 flamethrower minutes you will have absolutely no idea where or when you are. What better way to take your mind off a pandemic? —Alex Oliveira