Of course, to do this, we needed some rules. Don't worry, they aren't terribly oppressive.
1) Songs did not have to be ranked in any particular order. I can't speak for KK here, but I'm pretty sure I'd spend the rest of the year trying to arrange them from my most favorite to least favorite, and then being dissatisfied as soon as I finished. It's hard enough picking out 10 favorites, especially with Rule 2.
2) Omitted from these lists will be the most famous BOC songs: "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Burnin' For You", "Godzilla" and "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll". Not because we don't like them; rather, those are the easy choices to make. This exercise is about delving a little deeper into the BOC catalog.
3) There was another song I considered omitting, but after discussing it with Kabu, it's instead going to be listed separately. No peeking!
And now, my picks!
10 Favorite Blue Öyster Cult Songs
- "Workshop of the Telescopes" - From BOC's titular first album, "Workshop of the Telescopes" is an early portent of the darker and more mysterious side of BOC's music. I am so taken by it that I once named a spaceship in a story after a key lyric.
- "Career of Evil" - Oooh, scandalous! It's a catchy song that manages to fully play up all the nervous misgivings about heavy metal. And it's co-written by a woman!
- "Subhuman" - This one doesn't usually get as much attention, but it almost serves as an after-the-fact rationalization of the band's unusual name. In fact, a heavily reworked version of it appears later under the title "Blue Öyster Cult".
- "Dominance and Submission" - Some days, this driving rock and roller is my favorite BOC song, bar none. It's a concert classic with its call and response chorus.
- "ME 262" - This song about a World War II German fighter plane (seriously!) manages to be the aural equivalent of an aerial dogfight. Live in concert, it's punctuated by guitar and drums mimicking a machine gun firing.
- "E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)" - Possibly the best of BOC's "alien encounters" tunes, and yes, they have more than two. "E.T.I." is loaded with esoteric references sure to get the attention of even casual Ufology buffs, and some distinctly otherworldly musical flourishes.
- "In Thee" - I mentioned "In Thee" during my tribute to the late Allen Lanier, and it's a very atypical sound for the band. It even works as a purely acoustic piece, and is a favorite despite debuting on one of BOC's less reputable albums.
- "Black Blade" - Co-written by lead singer Eric Bloom and author Michael Moorcock, "Black Blade" is the story of Moorcock's character Elric and the sword Stormbringer. It's pretty damn ominous and moody, in addition to being metal as hell.
- "Take Me Away" - This one also got some coverage here recently, as it is the uncanny marriage of Blue Oyster Cult and Aldo Nova. It manages to preserve the BOC "feel" than some of their other mid-80s efforts, and is another song about hanging with aliens.
- "Harvest Moon" - A later-period (1998) BOC song, and one of their strongest to my mind. Certainly, it has been a concert staple, and never seems out of place. It can stand with the band's output from their heyday.
And there you go! But what of this mysterious "Number 11" in the Top Ten? Well, that would "Astronomy". I've already discussed that it is my absolute favorite, and so considered excluding it from consideration. Kabuki would have none of this, so it gets to be a supplemental pick.
In our discussions, Kabuki mentioned having her list ready by approximately this time. I have no idea when hers will exactly be going live, but you can find her blog here when it does. I am eagerly anticipating it, and will hopefully do a follow-up comparing and contrasting our two lists.