This video was just on telly and I learned that there’s not just one thing that Meatloaf won’t do for love. There’s six. Turns out the answer is in the lyrics, which none of us were listening to, because the video is so AWESOME! Look, yer wan’s having a bath with her clothes on! And Mark Wahlberg is in it for no reason!
But if you actually listen to the lyrics, supposedly it explains what’s going on. This courtesy of Song Facts:
the “that” is whatever he said just before that. For example… “But I’ll never forget the way you feel right now– Oh no–no way– I would do anything for love, But I won’t do that” – The “that” in this particular verse is “forget the way you feel right now.” Meat Loaf said this himself on his StoryTellers episode on VH1.
As always, somebody has written a lengthy section on this on the song’s Wikipedia page, entitled “The Perceieved Ambiguity of ‘that’.”
Each verse mentions two things that Mr. Loaf would do for love, followed by one thing that he will not do.
The four things he says he will never do are:
- forget the way you feel right now
- forgive myself if we don’t go all the way tonight
- do it better than I do it with you, so long
- stop dreaming of you every night of my life
In addition, at the song’s conclusion, 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!”
Of course, none of these things make any sense in the context of the line “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.” Try it:
1. I would do anything for love, but I won’t forget the way you feel right now.
Why would you do that for love? Forget the way the other person feels, for love? That’s the opposite of love, surely.
2. I would do anything for love, but I won’t forgive myself if we don’t go all the way tonight.
Double negative here. So does it mean he WILL forgive himself if they DO go all the way tonight?
And so on. None of it adds up. I’m not swallowing it, Meatloaf.