Let’s Look at the Lyrics: I’d Do Anything for Love (but I Won’t Do That)

One of the great mysteries of my childhood was MTV. I rarely watched MTV, but every once in a while I’d turn it on when my parents weren’t home to catch up on pop culture. I couldn’t tell the difference between songs that came out that week or 10 years ago, so the hottest new music video was just as intriguing and mysterious as the classics.

For some reason, the video they aired the most was Meat Loaf’s anthem, “I’d Do Anything for Love (but I Won’t Do That). This song was particularly mysterious to me because I could not for the life of me figure out what that parenthetical phrase meant. So I thought I would revisit the refrain of that song today to figure it out. Here it is:

Oh, I would do anything for love

I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that

No, I won’t do that

Now, to be fair to Meat Loaf, at the end of the song he reveals an answer. The song ends with the female saying, “Sooner or later you’ll be screwing around” and Meat Loaf reassures her, “I won’t do that,” followed by “No, I won’t do that,” as if he’s trying to convince himself it’s true.

However, the correlation doesn’t make sense at all. Think about it: “I would do anything for love, but I won’t cheat on you.” Why would he need to cheat on her for love? I’m assuming Meat Loaf is together with the woman, and he’s telling her he’d do anything for her. At no point in time would cheating by on the table as something he’d do for her. Maybe apple picking, a stroll through a farmer’s market, or getting in a bar fight, but cheating on her? It doesn’t make sense.

So what exactly is Meat Loaf talking about? He’ll do anything for love…but he won’t do that. He won’t do that. Where does a guy like Meat Loaf draw the line? He’ll literally do anything except for that. Anything. Let’s visualize what this means:


“Anything” is a lot of things! Fortunately Meat Loaf gives us some examples in the song so we know the types of things he would do for love:

  • 220px-Meat_LoafHe will both raise you up and help you down. (Meat Loaf operates an elevator as a side job.)
  • He will get you out of this godforsaken town. (He owns a moving company/relocation service)
  • He will make it all a little less cold. (Meat Loaf is really good with thermostats.)
  • He will hold you sacred and tight. (This woman sure is asking a lot of Meat Loaf, I have to say.)
  • He will colorize your life if you’re sick of black and white. (Meat Loaf has been known to cure colorblind people.)
  • He will make it all a little less old. (You can buy Meat Loaf’s Anti-Aging Cream anyplace where you can buy meatloaf.)
  • He will make magic with his hands. (Meat Loaf can do that thing where he moves a ping-pong ball under three cups really fast until it disappears.)
  • He will build emerald cities with grains of sand. (These requests are so specific! Why would you even want this? Kudos for Meat Loaf for agreeing to it, but seriously…)
  • He will give you something you can take home. (One second you’re asking for Meat Loaf to build you a city, and the next you’re asking for a doggie bag? Some consistency would be nice.)
  • He will cater to every fantasy you got. (Hopefully you fantasize about better grammar. Meat Loaf can help with that.)
  • He will hose you down with holy water if–and only if–you get too hot. (Earlier you asked Meat Loaf to keep you a little less cool. Now you’re hot all of a sudden. Is that what menopause is like? Why isn’t it called womenopause?)
  • He will take you places you’ve never known. (Meat Loaf has a lot of frequent flier miles saved up.)

He’ll do all those things…but he won’t do that. My first instinct as I sat down to write about this topic was that Meat Loaf is referring to the devil’s threesome. No one wants to do that, even for love. But then I thought about it, and I’m pretty sure Meat Loaf would have no problem with that. He’s probably involved in one right now.

So I turned to Wikipedia to learn a little more about Meat Loaf. My research turned up not one, but three things he won’t do, not even for love:

  1. Meat Loaf will not perform for the Australian Football League. He had a bad experience at their grand finale in 2011.
  2. Meat Loaf will not die. That may seem like an odd thing to say, but apparently Meal Loaf has cheated death on multiple occasions. He survived a car crash in which the car rolled over, he jumped off a stage and broke both of his legs (I bet he couldn’t do that again if he tried), and best of all, he was struck in the head with a shot during a shot put event and walked away to tell the tale. My admiration for him just doubled.
  3. Meat Loaf won’t vote. Actually, it’s more like he can’t vote because he hasn’t registered. He actively campaigned for Mitt Romney, but on election day, Meat Loaf couldn’t do anything.

I wasn’t sure where this blog entry would take me, but I’m actually happy with the result. I found my answer(s). Do you agree?

10 Responses to “Let’s Look at the Lyrics: I’d Do Anything for Love (but I Won’t Do That)”

  1. T-Mac says:

    We all know he’ll accentuate his “tits” so he can steal a hug with Brad Pitt.

    Also, the Devil’s Threesome paragraph nearly made me spit coffee all over my computer! Nicely done 🙂

    • Katie says:

      You beat me to it! I was just about to write that another thing Meatloaf won’t do is talk about Fight Club!

      • Jamey Stegmaier says:

        I totally forgot about Fight Club! Good call. Although he seemed more than willing to talk about Fight Club with Edward Norton.

  2. Red says:

    I had to go watch the video – and it is in line for the weirdest video I’ve ever seen.

    Long-finger-nailed Dracula/Meatloaf is singing, and someone rides a motorcycle into a castle, and over some policemen. Down with The Man. Good. Then, using his Dracula talisman, he draws some hottie from a pond in a golden field, through the dark ans scary woods to the castle from the Total Eclipse of the Heart video. He hides and she takes her second bath in just under two minutes. But the claw tub becomes a bed, complete with hands to grab her. She is unperturbed by this. Meanwhile, a detective (you know he’s a detective because he has glasses and a trench coat and a flashlight) starts to investigate the murder of policemen by some kind of motorcycle-through-the-door-into-a-house crime. The Bedroom-hands become concubines, and Meatloaf is too ashamed to enter the room, but likes to listen. Aha, but there are two Loaves now: creepy Dracula Meatloaf, and whitebread Meatloaf. And one of them breaks a bunch of mirrors, which distracts hottie from her lady party, in order to wander the mansion, looking for Bonnie Tyler. She sits on a couch, which starts floating, while serenaded in stereo by both Loaves PA systems. She finds one of them, in time to run away from the detective, who is fast on their heels. She sings to him, and without garlic, holy water, wooden stake or nothin’, Dracula Loaf turns into Whitey Loaf. And they are transported Star-trek style onto a motorcycle, leaving the Detective’s case an unsolved mystery.

    Also of note, the music video is 7:37. The album version is 12:01.

    As for the devil’s threeway. Arguably, with so many personalities going on, I wouldn’t rule that one out.

  3. Katy says:

    Is it strange that I prefer this “cover” of this song? https://youtu.be/2KiR7rMB5Jg
    Mainly because in this version, the things he won’t do are clearly listed. 🙂

  4. Christine says:

    I was equally perplexed by the lyrics until just recently when I saw the M&Ms super bowl spot featuring the song. Finally! Context!

  5. Jasmin says:

    This is an actual song!? I thought it’s just a M&M commercial. Meat Loaf is a weird guy. And Rocky Horror Picture Show is a weird movie.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Jasmin–That might be my favorite comment ever. Yes, the real song came WAY before the M&M commercial. 🙂

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