Count Robot's Favorite 3 Albums of 2020
In 2020 there was an incredible amount of excellent new music.
I could drone on like a years worth of drone music, that was created by drones but I will jus keep it to my three favorites. So let's get right into it.
I prefer to remember 2020 as the year of Blue Oyster Cult. After years of no albums, I lost track of how many albums BOC released this year. Six? I don't know.... Incredible!
3. Albert Bouchard: Re Imaginos:
I am not going to go into the whole bizarre history of the original Imaginos album. If you want the background, check it out here. With Re-Imaginos, former BOC member Albert Bouchard, reshapes the songs into old world/new world music. This is Bouchard performing broken down in the best way possible, musical theater. Wonderful production, such beautiful sounding violins! Heavy metal songs are transformed into semi-acoustic sea shanties in this excellent release. There's a tune called, Girl That Love Made Blind, which is a Christmas song filled with strange astrological creepiness presented in a politely, pretty, pagan, waltz. Girl That Love Made Blind never makes me tired of hearing the word, Christmas.
Such an excellent re-arrangement of Astronomy. Lost desert highway three AM country music is the sound that Gil Blanco County fills in my head.
Re-Imaginos could be an incredible musical. I would go see it.
Al Bouchard's vocals have a scratchy broken beauty, filled with ancient lore. He's the narrating invisible wizard. I've heard that Bouchard plans to make it a trilogy. I am all, all, all in.
2. Blue Oyster Cult: The Symbol Remains
The Symbol does indeed remain. It remains in my head. It makes me think of old BOC because of the title being a throw back to an older BOC album, Revolution By Night. This album popped right into the number two spot on my list after one listening. All sorts of interesting lyrics. Catchy riffs. Solid thick production. Tainted Blood is a vampire song! BOC has a great tradition of vampire songs, so I was glad to get another one added to the list with this album.
The chorus on Stand and Fight smacks you right in the face.
Alien abductions return with the Edge of the World which has a grizzly howl of defiance in Eric Bloom's booming voice.
One of my favorite songs on this album is Train true. It's so bonkers in the off kilter style that BOC used to work in quite often (anyone besides me remember the BOC ditty, She's as Beautiful as a Foot?). Nice to see a strong return of innovative fun. Buck Dharma's vocal deliver is righteous, slick, insane, and so good. Cheers BOC. You all rocked this one home!
1. The Gypsy Moths: Wollaston Theater (EP)
Yes, this is not a full length album. As my man Ed Wood, would say, “So what?”
Wollaston Theater is a treasure of rock and roll with soul, horns, guitars, and song craft. It's been in constant rotation. As a download, as a CDR, as a vinyl album too, yes all the formats for me. All so rock and roll awesome.
These Days Will Run is the opening song. Get's us pumped up right into the best party you've always wanted to have all in four classic songs.
The Continuing Story of Arthur Duffy is a song about a real life criminal. It's a wild story of a song with so much guts. I could picture this song being blasted out of a jam packed juke joint in the middle of nowhere with people coming from hours away to experience this awesome slice of early rock greatness. A classic. As the lyrics say, “Let's go!”
City Point is a forlorn slick slice of rock and melancholy. I dig that. Often the best songs are sad, which makes us feel. This song is one of those in the best lush way. Those vocals! If you don't feel anything while listening to this tune, check your pulse.
We Can't Go Home is the final song. It's a great romp about skipping... school. It's so good it makes me want to go back to school just so I could skip school. This song has such an earnest wistfulness to it. Sweet melancholy that you can make dance. Skip with me now, is one of the lyrics. The eternal urge for escape from Monday morning. Let's skip, not just school, but the rat race. I dig it.
One thing that blows my mind about this album, is that they love it so much in Europe. The lyrics are so wonderfully Boston, MA centric in vibes, that at first I didn't get how the astute music fans in the EU, and beyond, picked up on this great collection of songs by the Moths.
Now I get it, it's the afar romance that people have for us, as I have for the afar romance for London, Rome, Montreal, and more. It is the window into the other. That's what the Gypsy Moths have so deftly given the rest of the world, a view into the life of Boston.
Excellent production. Raw enough for you to feel it, slick enough to make you feel a little dirty. Pounding drums, crunchy, punchy guitars, phat horns, nice old school keys, and rock and flipping soul filled vocals are masterfully performed and captured. On the first listening I thought to myself, I'm picking an EP as my favorite album of the year.
So there it is, another favorite albums of the year post.
Late as usual
Count Robot 2021