4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Awful Truth,
This review is from: Agents of Fortune (Audio CD)
It is unfortunate that Don't Fear the Reaper had to be on this album. Potential new fans picking up Agents of Fortune expecting more of the same must have been disappointed. My first exposure to the Blue Oyster Cult was Spectres, a more solid effort that sent me running to the record store to discover Secret Treaties, and I've been hooked ever since.
This album marks a major departure for the band in so many respects. While Tyranny and Mutation and Secret Treaties were collaboratively written on the road during a brutal touring schedule that resulted in the amazing On Your Feet or On Your Knees, Agents was written by individual band members at their leisure using multi-track recording equipment in their homes and demo'd for the full band prior to going into the studio. As a result, individual personalities really show through.
Another notable change is that only one song is credited to the dynamic writing duo of Pearlman/Meltzer (ETI - Pearlman).
The polished sound of the album is due to their first venture outside of CBS Records' antiquated studios (evident in the otherwise excellent first three albums).
The final and most evident departure is the marked shift from a raw, heavy-metal sound to a more approachable mainstream sound. Reaper gave the Oyster Boys a taste of commercial success that would elude them for five years until Fire of Unknown Origin and Buck's second hit Burnin' for You.
Of course, those of you who are longtime BOC fans know that this album was percussionist Gene Frenkle's last, as he tragically died shortly after the album was released. Agents also marks the retirement of Eric's stun guitar. ;)
Don't Fear the Reaper is a rock masterpiece and deserves all of the acclaim it received. Reaper aside, Agents is not without further merit. Extra Terrestrial Intelligence is a longtime concert staple and This Ain't the Summer of Love is another decent rocker. The two hidden gems on the album are (The Revenge of) Vera Gemini, a Patti Smith penned song which picks up where Baby Ice Dog left off, and Morning Final, another of the many haunting songs from the fertile macabre mind of Joe Bouchard.
And now to the awful truth. True Confessions, Tenderloin and Debbie Denise are the three worst songs to this point in the BOC's young history. Helen Wheels penned Sinful Love and Tatoo Vampire leave something to be desired as well (God rest her soul). So out of ten songs, you could fashion a solid Side One of an LP and there would be no need to play the flip side. Hardly the greatest album in the BOC catalog as some here would lead you to believe.
No BOC collection would be complete without Agents of Fortune and there are a handfull of good songs here worth owning, but Secret Treaties, Spectres, Fire of Unknown Origin, and Tyranny and Mutation are more rounded studio albums worth owning before this one.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 8, 2007 2:52:13 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 8, 2007 2:57:03 PM PST
Hoagie Mike says:
I agree w/ u on Debbie Denise and True Confessions... but "Tenderloin" rules! Best song on the record, imho. Let it grow on you. It's awesome. I actually like Tattoo Vampire as well-how can you not like that riff?. It's a fun song. Same goes for "Sinful Love". Quirky, Tongue in cheek pop done Cult style.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2010 7:53:01 PM PDT
Dr. Music says:
I'll give it another try.
Posted on Apr 23, 2013 5:49:38 PM PDT
Kevin B. "0820" says:
A nice & interesting review. I get a kick out of your name "Dr. Music" as it really reminds me of the opening song on 1979's "Mirrors" album That WHOLE album is good too, in my opinion. I actually like it MUCH BETTER than 1976's "Agent's Of Fortune"
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