1969, 1974

Secret Treaties (1974) by Blue Öyster Cult

This is my third Blue Öyster Cult record and I feel like I feel about it as I did about the other two: meh.

The positive about BOC is always the playing – they are great musicians. I wonder how they were live; my hope is that they were excellent but my worry is that their dedication to professionalism would mean that their live performance would be a note-for-note replica of the record, which I hate. Anyway, this record is exceptionally well played, full of excellent performances and the occasional knotty break. I’m less impressed by the guitarists (and the solos) this time if only because I have now heard them enough to know what to expect.

But like their other records, this is lacking in strong songs. BOC walk this weird line where they write theoretically catchier songs than your average metal band of the era but which are not, say, Arena Rock catchy, most of the time. There’s nothing that’s compelling or immediate enough for me to overcome my biggest problems with this band.

One of those problems is the (purposely) ridiculous lyrics. I just can’t figure them out – they sing these ridiculous songs and play everything else entirely straight. They are not at all campy compared to Alice Cooper, for instance, but their lyrics warrant something like that.

The other problem is the production – this, like any BOC record, is a slick product, rehearsed to shit and sounding, at times, like a robot playing hard rock. Every record I’ve heard of theirs is like this and it drives me crazy. It makes it a lot hard to appreciate the things I do like.

I think they’re just not for me.


  1. “Career of Evil” (lyrics by Patti Smith, music by Albert Bouchard) 3:59
  2. “Subhuman” (lyrics by Sandy Pearlman, music by Eric Bloom) 4:39
  3. “Dominance and Submission” (lyrics by Pearlman, music by Bloom, A. Bouchard) 5:23
  4. “ME 262” (lyrics by Pearlman, music by Bloom, Donald Roeser) 4:48
  5. “Cagey Cretins” (lyrics by Richard Meltzer, music by A. Bouchard) 3:16
  6. “Harvester of Eyes” (lyrics by Meltzer, music by Bloom, Roeser) 4:42
  7. “Flaming Telepaths” (lyrics by Pearlman, music by Bloom, A. Bouchard, Roeser) 5:20
  8. “Astronomy” (lyrics by Pearlman, music by A. Bouchard, J. Bouchard) 6:28
  • Eric Bloom – vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards
  • Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser – lead guitar
  • Allen Lanier – keyboards, rhythm guitar, synthesizers, second lead guitar on track 11
  • Joe Bouchard – bass, vocals
  • Albert Bouchard – drums, vocals

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