Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blue Oyster Cult: Club Ninja Reissue (1997)

(As published in New Zealand's Real Groove ... )

Blue Oyster Cult
Club Ninja

Why Koch--a Port Washington, NY, label that deals mainly in reissuing old C&W--has chosen this 1986 Blue Oyster Cult album to establish their rock-and-roll credentials is anyone's guess, but one thing's for sure: They couldn't have picked a better album to demonstrate the collective shortsightedness of rock critics, MTV, and radio. In '86, critics preferred college rock, MTV preferred heavy metal, and radio preferred I can't remember what. But no one preferred BOC's sci-fi-laced metal-lite. Too bad, too, because Club Ninja is almost as much self-deprecatingly dumb, stadium-rock fun as Agents of Fortune and Spectres. In "Dancin' in the Ruins" it even had a track as worthy of FM immortality as "(Don't Fear) the Reaper," "Godzilla," and "Burnin' for You." Jim Carroll wrote half-decent lyrics for Buck Dharma's "Perfect Water," Richard Meltzer did the same for "Spy in the House of Night," Sandy Pearlman produced, and the title of "Make Rock Not War" explained what went wrong with the Woodstock Generation. Not that Club Ninja holds a candle to Licensed to Ill or Graceland, two 1986 albums about which critics, MTV, and radio were right. But it sure sounds fresh compared to Husker Du's Candy Apple Grey and REM's Lifes Rich Pageant.

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