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diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #10

Posted: July 8th, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted April 2003)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

I feel that over the course of my tenure writing this enlightening musical column I have been on a quest. I have been searching for a style, a format that could easily support my acerbic observations and all-knowing wit. For a while I was doing the “ten reviews in one column” format. Then I switched over to the “reviewing music in the context of a greater storyline” concept that plagued my last three columns. But lately, I’ve felt the need for the change.

I brought up this desire during my latest meeting with diskant taskmaster, Gen. Simon Minter, while we shared a pipe at the local opium den.

“Minty,” I said, “It’s time for something new. Something to shake things up.”

“What did you have in mind?” he asked between demure puffs.

“What if, instead of reviewing musical albums that can be found in the bargain bins of pawn shops and used record stores, I began reviewing the vast collection of homosexual child erotica I have pertained from the Internet?”

“Don’t think I can sell that to Marcy,” Minty replied. “What else you got?”

“Well,” I said. “I suppose I could usher in a new format where I review one record per column, starting with my truck stop purchased copy of ‘Sony Music Special Products: Blue Oyster Cult’?”

“Tell me more about the child erotica,” Minty opined.

Fortunately, cooler, less opiated heads prevailed, and I herald my new, one album per column format. Men stare in awe! Women swoon! Children squeal! (Whoops – make that “Men stare in awe! Women swoon.” The “children squeal” part was from one of my homosexual child erotica videotapes.)

Yeah, so… Blue Oyster Cult. They’re pretty trippy guys, you familiar with them? Whenever I think of this band, I think of my good friend Tom K in Olympia, Washington who was so into those guys, that he carried his official membership in the B.O.C. fan club wherever he went. Never know when those’ll come in handy. If a cop pulls you over for speedin’ you just pull that baby out. “Oh, didn’t know you we’re a member. Rockin’. You’re free to go. Don’t fear the reaper!”

Anyway, if you aren’t familiar with them then you probably don’t understand most of the last paragraph (if you’re even reading this at all!) The Cult (And by “The Cult” I mean, “Blue Oyster Cult,” not “The Cult.” Funny how that works.) were a pretty decent seventies/eighties rock band in the sort of heavy metal/progressive rock vein. And nothing would make a better introduction to their frenetic style than the B.O.C. compilation that’s part of the wonderful Sony Music Special products series. See, it’s got all their hits (Not sure they actually had any hits, but you get the picture.) You got “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” “Burnin’ For You,” “Godzilla” and my favorite, “Career of Evil.” Primo stuff.

Course, everyone knows what “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and “Burnin for You” sound like, so I won’t go into them, but “Godzilla”, man, that’s a great riff. Hell, it’s MONSTER riff. (Get that little pun there, folks?) Right up there with “Smoke on the Water” as a basic power chord riff anyone can knock out and feel like they could smash through walls. Plus it showed that Buck Dharma and gang (Buck was the main guitar player for the group.) weren’t afraid to have a sense of humor with lines like “Oh, No. There’s goes Tok-i-yo, Here comes Godzilla!”

But like I was saying, “Career of Evil” is my favorite. Lotsa these metal groups would make your parents nervous with vague allusions to Satan, but you could never really pin them down as a definite bad influence. Sure, songs like Sabbath’s “The Wizard” might be about worshipping the devil, but they might just be about making a cheese sandwhich. But “Career of Evil” is front and centre about embracing the dark side, torturing the weak, and conquering your enemies – everything that makes life worth living. Check out this little lyrical chesnut:

I choose to steal what you chose to show, and you know, I will not apologize. You’re mine for the taking, I’m making a career of evil.

Those are grade A, high quality rock lyrics my friend. They don’t don’t make ’em like that anymore.

Not that there isn’t some questionable material on this tape. I don’t really get the point of covering MC5’s “Kick out the Jams.” The gist of that song has alway been more of a political statement or a piece of history more than a song that another band could really add something to. The whole point of listening to “Kick out the Jams” is that it’s MC5 playing “Kick Out the Jams”, you dig? Anything else comes across like Britney Spears covering “I Love Rock and Roll.”

Between these high and lows is some generally forgettable filler material. “Dominance and Submission” reeks of 70’s cock rock pomposity (“I get groupies to do kinky things and you don’t!”) “R.U. Ready to Rock” epitomizes everything wrong with the genre. There’s some other stuff, “Transmanicon MC,” … “Death Valley Nights”… but they tend to fade in with the background noise of the body saws and squealing children whenever I hear them.

Huh… maybe this album ain’t all that great.

Wil Forbis

Wil writes for the delectable Acid Logic webzine, as well as for this crackin' outfit here. He's also an obvious habitual liar, going on how he describes himself in his other writings. Truth is, Wil is a two foot tall computerised metal monster who likes nothing better than to CRUSH, CRUSH and CRUSH humanity to within an ounce of its puny life. When he's not CRUSHING, he enjoys tennis and jogging.


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