Last week’s album was a dream! It may be one of my favorites since we started this project. Thanks, Eugene! Jon‘s still out in the ether or Rotary Land so who knows when and if he’ll get caught up. But, the world doesn’t stop turning, let’s move on.
#23 – Tyranny and Mutation by Blue Öyster Cult.
I had forgotten something by BOC could be on this list and I dreaded it when it came up. Well, I like some of their songs, I told myself. Turns out, none of the songs I was hoping for was on this album. No “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” “Burnin’ For You” or “Godzilla.” My first listen was full of loathsome annoyance. It was a hodge-podge of styles that really made little sense the first listen through and it was so amateurish.
It isn’t surprising that Eug likes this, though. It seems the rougher and ragged the production and songwriting is, the more he likes it. Something about “spirit of rock and roll,” or the like. I have an appreciation for plenty rock and roll spirit, we just have vastly differing opinions on what that means. At least, we don’t have the same tastes in the overall. I do think, however, that’s a good thing. I’d not be listening to this list if we liked all the same things. But, I digress…
That first listen was rough. But, I trudged through it and now, six listens through, I have a deeper appreciation for this album. It’s not bad at all, although there are some things I don’t like about it. Two things stand out above all else: 1) I can’t stand the intro to “O.D.’d on Life Itself” (it sounds like something someone who just picked up the guitar for the first time will play over and over because they figured out how to do it; I was there, I know), it’s crap. And, 2) I can’t stand Eric Bloom’s voice, weak and shaky. Joe Bouchard’s voice is pretty good and the songs are fine, but really we need more Buck Dharma on vocals. Listen to the vocals of “Teen Archer” (the only song Dharma sings on this album) and hear the strength and power. Listen to Blooms stuff and it’s, again, like a teenager standing on the stage for the first time.
Bloom’s lyrics are good, though. Let Dharma sing them, I say. “The Red & the Black” is about the Canadian Mounted Police. “Baby Ice Dog” is, from what I can tell, about a cheating girlfriend. I’m not sure. “Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)” is pretty good, too.
BOC gets a little proggy with “7 Screaming Diz-Busters.” At least in the beginning. It’s also loaded with sexual innuendo. Especially when your read Eric Bloom talk about what it means. Okay. I think that was a lot of BOC: it’s storytelling over flash and bang. I’m okay with that. Still as much as I grew to appreciate this album, I don’t really want to hear it again. I probably would have liked it had it had Dharma singing more. His leads are great, though. Eric Bloom’s “stun guitar” kills me. It’s just extra “fuzzy.” That’s all. There’s a lot of imagery in the lyrics, sometimes hard to follow, sometimes not. I like that aspect, even if I don’t always know what they’re talking about.
I don’t really know what Allen Lanier is doing. I know he plays keys and rhythm guitar, but three guitars in the band, while not too common, isn’t too unusual, either, especially for the time. But, it’s hard to distinguish who is doing what. The Bouchard brothers, Joe on bass and Albert on drums are on it. Joe does a lot of runs and riffs that stand out throughout the album. Albert has great fills and is solid as heck. That’s the highlight of the album for me.
Overall, I don’t mind the album, but would have rathered have heard at least one of the hits. But, that’s not the point of this list, is it? Nope. Thanks Eug, can’t wait to read your take and Jon, well, you’ll be here in a month or so.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Flights of black horseman soar over churches, pursued by an army of birds in the rain. None of them can see the clouds, the polished wings don’t care. Animal ways through the hazy dreams full of pain.” – “Wings Wetted Down” (A. Bouchard, J. Bouchard)