Best Blue Öyster Cult Album

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Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 17:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

90s FMV game featuring the music of Blue Oyster Cult and a pre-cowbell-era Christopher Walken

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 17:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

walken goes hard in that trailer!

dave coolier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 17:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

the song itself i could do without, but then i'm not a big fan of bluesy, jammy hard rock

^fair. I am a big fan of that kind of stuff, however.

You're a notch, I'm a legend (Bill Magill), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 19:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

* i can't think of a band i like that's been so ill-served by their cover choices. no one on this earth needs rote takes on the likes of "born to be wild" and "roadhouse blues". and while they do a bit better on "kick out the jams" and "we gotta get outta this place", when it comes to these songs, it's not like i ever think "well, the original is great, but you know, i really wanna hear the BOC version."

I can't speak for the live "BTBW" cover, but I feel the b-side studio version is a fantastic re-tooling of the original.

Mike Love Costume Jewelry on Etsy (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 20:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

Very interesting point about the covers. You would think they would be savvier about it. Maserati GT is pretty hip though. Someone should do a comp of others' covers of BOC. Mike Watt is a huge fan, as you must all know.

I listened to ETL all the time when I was a kid but haven't for years. I remember thinking that the version of Hot Rails to Hell was the nuts. I also had no love for On Your Feet or On Your Knees as a laddie, so I'm glad this thread brought me back to it. I do miss the production that the studio records bring -- they are pretty good at getting good sounds -- but good grief is the band on fire on that record. It's almost exhausting to listen to.

The other reason for this post is that I can't quite bear to see this thread fall off the front page of ILXOR

broom air, Sunday, 19 February 2012 00:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

Lol otm re: your last point

black Emanuelle did costume design for Troll 2 (Drugs A. Money), Sunday, 19 February 2012 03:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

Someone should do a comp of others' covers of BOC.

when i made an "intro to BOC" comp for my friends, i included the minutemen's "the red and the black", the thrones' "black blade", fun manchu's "godzilla" and green river's "swallow my pride" (a huge and obvious nod to "this ain't the summer of love"). also dig the screamin' diz-busters (aka nomads) cover of "this ain't...", though i didn't include that.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 19 February 2012 03:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

front and back covers to that comp:

"light of darkness, light of light"

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 19 February 2012 03:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

Light seeking light doth light of light beguile

black Emanuelle did costume design for Troll 2 (Drugs A. Money), Sunday, 19 February 2012 03:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

in hindsight, i can't imagine why i didn't umlaut the 'O'

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 19 February 2012 03:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

wow! sucks that i missed this thread revive, was out of town on vacation all last week, didn't visit ILX. great Cult Conversation !

last year was only the second year out of the last 13 or 14 where I did not see BOC at least once in concert (I can't remember exactly when my streak began, but it was definitely 1999, if not 1998..) So bummed about that! but the two times they played Chicagoland in 2011 just didn't work for me. One was the same night as Marshall Crenshaw's Detroit tribute at Symphony Center (with brother Wayne Kramer!), and the other was the same weekend as Pitchfork fest (the same reason I missed them in an earlier year.) I thought about taking the Amtrak to downstate Illinois for their performance in Effington in October, but in the end I just couldn't justify the expense

MIRRORS > CULTOSAURUS, IMNSHO !! (although "Black Blade" is one of the greatest tracks)

Stormy Davis, Sunday, 19 February 2012 08:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

also, Agents of Fortune is sort of flawless. blows my mind that someone could like the first three but "not get into it" or whatever someone said upthread. Spectres, too. Those two are not as heavy as the first three, no. But the songwriting and playing is still amazing. First five albs are essential

Stormy Davis, Sunday, 19 February 2012 08:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, it's weird, but i've been listening to a LOT of cult over the last couple weeks, and those two are still v hard for me to get with. i love "summer of love", "reaper" (duh) and "very gemini" off agents, but the rest of the songs do nothing for me. when it comes to spectres, i love "godzilla" (of course), the intro to "golden age of leather" (but not the song), and "fireworks" (as music, though the lyrics are gross). i am starting to realize that, though they include some of the band's best songs, these are my two least favorite BOC albums, overall. this side of imaginos anyway. despite the lack of classics, as albums, i think i prefer mirrors and even the two post fire of unknown origin albums. or at least my ideal world, boiled-down versions of them. this make me some kind of fucked-up freak, i know, but so be it.

and cultosaurus erectus is MAGNIFICENT.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 19 February 2012 08:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

lol @ "very gemini"

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 19 February 2012 08:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'm pretty sure I've mentioned it on ILX before, but I was at this gig (and have the commemorative T-shirt to prove it):

http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Oyster-Cult-Long-Night/dp/B00006L923/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1329640819&sr=1-1

As many times as I've seen BOC, that was the last time I saw them play "E.T.I." Really bums me out that they dropped it from the regular setlist, possibly my favorite BOC song. Also, you know, becuz of thred I am now listening to my CD reish of Agents (somewhat crappy bonus tracks -- the BEST bonus tracks of the reissue series were totally all those unreleased tracks that made it onto the Secret Treaties CD) -- and I forgot about the lyrical reference to "Balthazar" in "E.T.I."!! Just saw Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar for the first time ever this week. nice confluence

Stormy Davis, Sunday, 19 February 2012 08:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

Another song they stopped playing in concert since that gig is "M.E. 262". that sucks

on the other hand, they continue to pull cool shit out of nowhere -- when I saw them in 2010, the second song was "The Golden Age of Leather"!!!

Stormy Davis, Sunday, 19 February 2012 08:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

the BEST bonus tracks of the reissue series were totally all those unreleased tracks that made it onto the Secret Treaties CD

yeah, though there's some great stuff on the expanded spectres, too. and it's kind of nice to have nearly the full set on the expanded some enchanted evening, though the recording/production on the bonus tracks isn't quite up to snuff. plosives just about ruin "hot rails to hell", for instance.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 19 February 2012 08:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

yes, you are right about the Spectres CD -- there are some good tracks among the bonuses there... And actually, I am ashamed to admit, I still haven't picked up the Some Enchanted Evening, which I gather actually includes a bonus DVD of a contemporary live performance? What's wrong with me?!

Stormy Davis, Sunday, 19 February 2012 09:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

Check out the intricate detail on the skull; it looks as if it is saying "Yes young man....come and follow me to worlds unknown...". I took the ride and have not regretted it one bit.

― Axolotl with an Atlatl (Jon Lewis), Thursday, February 9, 2012 3:02 PM (1 week ago) Bookmark

(Jon quoting Jacob Koehler's BÖC blog)

Love this description, and though I didn't comment on it at the time, I've been thinking about it over the last week or so. For me, it applies to Blue Öyster Cult in general more than to any single image I associate with the band. As a teenager, I remember being similarly fascinated by the cover art for Some Enchanted Evening and Fire of Unknown Origin, the first BÖC albums I owned. The skeletal rider, his green-eyed charger, the moonlit disciples, and always that strange symbol. The images were deliberately spooky but also quite elegant, promising worlds as seductive as they were ominous, and they created in my mind these webs of mysterious suggestion, webs I associated more with horror and fantasy as literary genres than with pop music. Not only was the art engrossing on its own, it provided a perfect visual analogue to the dark, visceral pull of songs like "Don't Fear the Reaper" and "Burnin' for You". These songs seemed haunted and otherworldly ("eldritch", in the language of the old pulps) yet also suffused with an erotic yearning that I could feel without entirely understanding. Listening to them as a rather sheltered kid was like seeing adulthood reflected in a black mirror, a smoky, nocturnal commingling of death and desire.

As it turned out, this particular combination of mystery and understatement, narcotic beauty and mortal dread, was only a small part of what BÖC were up to. They were also weirdly jokey and perverse, obsessed with the same geeky genre stuff that consumed my adolescence, willing to try almost anything once, and full-on, 70-style, kickass rock musicians to boot. Moreover, at their best, not only on "Reaper" and "Burnin'" but on songs like "Subhuman", "Unknown Tongues", "Seven Screaming Diz-Busters", "Shooting Shark", "Before the Kiss (a Redcap)", "Screams/She's as Beautiful as a Foot" and "Deadline", they cultivated this sense of a fascinating alien landscape that could only be half-glimpsed through a screen of occult misdirection. Where most popular art is concerned, the "intricate detail on the skull" draws you toward the doorway, but the curtains part rather easily, and what you find on the other side is a kind of fantastical ordinariness, the sublime rendered mundane. BÖC's great trick is that they never fully usher you through the doorway. Instead, they leave you to peer in from the threshhold so that you're always an awed initiate, always the seeker reaching towards the chamber but never the adept arriving there.

This is what makes Imaginos seem like such a mistake to me, conceptually, and it's why, as albums and as a longtime fan, I prefer "lesser" efforts like Mirrors and even Club Ninja (I admit it) to more commercially successful outings like Agents of Fortune and Spectres. The latter two seem to reserve no secrets for themselves. Almost every song is an exercise in a familiar style (cryptic standouts like "Reaper" and "Vera Gemini" excepted, of course), and there's very little room for discovery, either musically or lyrically. They're merely good, and where Blue Öyster Cult is concerned, that's a bit of a letdown.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 19 February 2012 23:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

Moreover, at their best, not only on "Reaper" and "Burnin'" but on songs like "Subhuman", "Unknown Tongues", "Seven Screaming Diz-Busters", "Shooting Shark", "Before the Kiss (a Redcap)", "Screams/She's as Beautiful as a Foot" and "Deadline", they cultivated this sense of a fascinating alien landscape that could only be half-glimpsed through a screen of occult misdirection.

umm, while this is one of the the things i like best about BÖC, i overstepped myself here. songs like "the red and the black", "cities on flame...", "career of evil", "dominance and submission", "black blade" and "godzilla" trade less heavily in the mystical shit, but aren't any less successful for that. they do just as well by cracking jokes and kicking ass.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 20 February 2012 04:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

there is no better opening lyric in the history of rock than "Canadian Mounties, baby, police force that works"

Stormy Davis, Monday, 20 February 2012 06:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

"police force at work"?

my honeys know it's alright

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 20 February 2012 06:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

Heard "Monsters" on a classic rock station in Salt Lake City over the weekend. Really threw me for a loop!

henry s, Monday, 20 February 2012 14:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

Contenderizer, your long post of yesterday sums up so much of how BOC and their reflexive vibe works for me that I want to send you a box of cookies. OTM OTM OTM.

Axolotl with an Atlatl (Jon Lewis), Monday, 20 February 2012 15:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

black Emanuelle did costume design for Troll 2 (Drugs A. Money), Monday, 20 February 2012 16:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

great posts by contenderizer, even if i disagree about agents of fortune, i love that album front to back

dave coolier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 20 February 2012 16:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

I agree. At the time Agents was released, BOC had done nothing even remotely similar to "Debby Denise" or "True Confessions". 35 years on, I'm still not sure how to categorize these songs.

henry s, Monday, 20 February 2012 17:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

I like Spectres a whole lot more than Contendo. I agree Agents is a 'problem piece'-- that's part of its fascination of course. "This Ain't..." "...Reaper" and "ETI" are such overwhelming bullseyes and much of the remainder is this very weird folio of the kind of lame-cool dud-poet stuff you find on solo Lou Reed records. It might be their least 'band'-y record and their most 'buncha dudes all brought some songs'.

Axolotl with an Atlatl (Jon Lewis), Monday, 20 February 2012 17:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

idk I ride super-hard for "Vera Gemini" for one...

black Emanuelle did costume design for Troll 2 (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 01:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

if it weren't for that tragically overlong, noodly breakdown, i'd add "ME262" to that list

B-b-but that breakdown features ALL FIVE Cultists playing guitar simultaneous!

Really think Spectres deserves more love. (Maybe their song-for-song hookiest, plus the ballads are great.)

Race Against Rockism (Myonga Vön Bontee), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 04:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

What Contenderizer wrote upthread is completely true to me too.
I can only add that the alien, unseizable feeling surrounding BOC was further amplified by what seemed to me their almost quintessential Americanness.
They have the same hazy, dream-like quality of those old 50's horror movies, always walking the fine line between the familiar and the utterly arcane, always evoking a fantasy world where cars, drive-ins, rock n roll, sorcerers and labyrinthine Gothic mansions could stay side by side.
I discovered Blue Oyster Cult around the same time I stumbled into Chrome, and both bands are for me like the perfect soundtrack of this dark, imaginary continent I thought it was America.

Marco Damiani, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 11:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

OK I'm no contenderizer (thanks for the great posts!) ... but while we're going all the way, has anyone fully fleshed out the punk rock/ BOC connections, and more importantly divined their meaning?

1. Patti Smith (obviously)

2. Alan Lanier reportedly rehearsed Marquee Moon with Television

3. One of the first issues of seminal punk zine Sniffin Glue has a conspicuously robust article on the Cult amidst run downs on downtown punk bands

4. in the early reviews (XGau I think) they are often received as a neo-nazi band -- I guess for ME262? -- which puts them in the company of the Ramones as Long Island/Queens Jews flirting with Nazi iconography.

5. there is some connection to Manic Panic too, but I can't seem to discover it.

broom air, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 03:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wasn't Aussie protopunk Iggy-worship band Radio Birdman influenced by the Cult as well?

sc∞psn∞dle (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 04:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

Radio Birdman certainly made reference to BOC, yeah, with the title of their first LP being "Radios Appear". But I dunno, never thought of Birdman as a much of a "punk" band, they sound more like the Doors to me (not necessarily a bad thing either)

I'd say the fact that one of BOC's principal lyric-writers, Richard Meltzer, was in a little band called VOM is more significant

Stormy Davis, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 06:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

re the ramones comparison, in terms of lyrics and "attitude", i'd say that BÖC have something in common with both the ramones and the dictators. maybe the dolls, too (though to a lesser extent)? jokey, smart-assed, mildly transgressive, obsessed with lowbrow midcentury pop culture. there's kind of a geeky, boy's club vibe: monster movies, rock & roll, "girls", comic books, WWII, the radio. i'm tempted to add devo to that mix, but devo were much more aggressively subversive in their use of the same material, more critical of the consumer culture it represented. in that sense, devo seem more prescient about what punk would come to be in the late 70s and early 80s.

speaking of devo, though there's very little trace of "punk" in BÖC's sound, i've always heard something a bit devolved in "dominance and submission", especially during the breakdown with the "dominance...sub-MISSION!" call & response. there the nerdy alienation is so exaggerated it becomes alien, aggressive.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 06:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

that ties in with marco damiani's observations, which i found fascinating:

the alien, unseizable feeling surrounding BOC was further amplified by what seemed to me their almost quintessential Americanness.
They have the same hazy, dream-like quality of those old 50's horror movies, always walking the fine line between the familiar and the utterly arcane, always evoking a fantasy world where cars, drive-ins, rock n roll, sorcerers and labyrinthine Gothic mansions could stay side by side.

OTM, and what's fascinating about the band's "quintessential americanness" is that it's almost invisible to me. i notice their strangeness, of course, because it is strange, but i don't notice how closely that quality is tied to their americanness. i'm american myself, and to me, there's nothing unusual about that.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 06:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

lotta fascinating going on in that last post there

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 06:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

has anyone fully fleshed out the punk rock/ BOC connections

Sandy Pearlman worked with The Clash as well didn't he?

Another weird thing about BOC, there can't be too many bands where the drummer is the best songwriter. In fact, there aren't too many bands where all the members get individual songwriting credits. Not to mention the multitude of outside lyric writers.

_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~_~~ (Matt #2), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 10:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

The late Helen Wheels wrote lyrics to several of the Bouchard brothers' BOC songs ("Tattoo Vampire", "Sinful Love", "Celestial the Queen", "Nosferatu", "Fallen Angel"), and was also a pretty big NYC punk rock scenester in the late 70's.

henry s, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 11:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

Right -- Helen Wheels is the Manic Panic connection.

Excellent point about Devo. Dominance and Submission does indeed have that uptight/subversive vibe. BOC is not really subversive though as you say. Another thing that's interesting about the early reception of BOC is that XGau's reviews suggest that all of the iconography and imagery (sci fi, fascist, what have you) is originally taken seriously, but as of Agents of Fortune becomes part of a joke. I've always taken it the other way. It's with AoF that they become committed to the joke -- literally making "a career of 'evil,'" if you will.

And yes as mentioned much further above, Pearlman produced Give Em Enough Rope, which is why many diehard Clash fans don't like the album.

broom air, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 13:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

which puts them in the company of the Ramones as Long Island/Queens Jews flirting with Nazi iconography

^i think Bloom is the only Jew in the group. Then again, ME 262 is his song.

You're a notch, I'm a legend (Bill Magill), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 14:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

man these guys need a box set like the new judas priest one

unlistenable in philly (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 15:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think BOC is deeply subversive but not in a "punk way"...my belief that they are the Steely Dan of heavy metal was somewhat vindicated by a pdf of the Popoff book i downloaded where Buck talks about the making of Cultosaurus Erectus and how he had gotten a Steely Dan songbook and was studying their "advanced" chords and stuff

dave coolier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

also FYI the Doors were punk

dave coolier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

gtfo

unlistenable in philly (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

here's my case

i'm working on a theory that the doors literally invented punk and prog, check back for more later!

― the 500 gats of bartholomew thuggins (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:02 PM (8 minutes ago)

but basically:

i saw this interview with johnnny ramone and i thought it was interesting when the interviewer asked him about bands he liked, he said the Doors were the only good american band of the 1960s, said he worshiped them..

i know iggy idolized the doors too, so Johnny + Iggy = the founders of punk to me...

the doors had that darkness and artiness and also a real confrontational vibe that seems to prefigure punk in a lot of ways

at the same time, i can't imagine, for instance, the full on organ workout version of light my fire, with its jazz/classical aspirations, couldn't have been a major influence on the first-gen prog dudes like rick wakeman, ELP, yes etc

so the doors basically invented everything

― the 500 gats of bartholomew thuggins (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:37 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

dave coolier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oh yeah, see the beginning of Legs McNeil's amazing "Please Kill Me" on how the early proto-punks were deeply influenced by the Doors. Also Patti Smith's new book.

broom air, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

i see the doors as having "invented" romantic gothiness in a rock context. can see why the darkness of that might have inspired a lot of punks, but i don't know that that = being punk. interesting idea, though.

i think BOC is deeply subversive but not in a "punk way"...

yeah, that's a good point. their subversion wasn't aggressive, direct, critical. more satire and displacement. helped build the strangeness i was talking about earlier (and the strangeness-in-familiarity that marco mentioned).

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

I dig the Doors as proto-punk for sure, you can't hear "Gimme Danger" and not recognize Iggy was taking notes from J.M. but I'm kind of notoriously orthodox about genres I guess - your band does "Touch Me" with strings 'n' shit? then yall aren't punk imo*
*"in my orthodoxy"

unlistenable in philly (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:21 (2 years ago) Permalink


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