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“In Thee”

Posted by purplemary54 on April 25, 2013

This is pretty much the last song you’d expect from Blue Oyster “More Cowbell!” Cult.  At least if you judge them by their biggest hit, “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”  They always seemed to tend toward a fantasy filled, albeit morbid, hard rock.  Although on the other hand, they look like the least rockin’ rockers of all time.  I look at lead singer Eric Bloom, and I half expect him to try to sell me insurance.  Or explain the life cycle of the earthworm (he could easily pass for the high school science teacher all the girls had crushes on).  He’s just a guy.  The whole band are just guys.  Guys who happen to make their living as musicians–which generally means spending most of your working time on the road.

Looking at it that way, it makes perfect sense that they made one of the most wistful, down to earth, road songs ever.  The road song is a staple of rock music.  Journey, Motley Crue, Kiss.  They all have excellent road songs.  Bon Jovi created one of the most famous road songs ever, turning being a touring rock band into an analogy of the Wild West.  Jackson Browne’s classic road song manages to convey all the joy and boredom and exhaustion a tour must bring.It has to be hard for these guys to be away from their homes and families so much.  Weird hours, worse food.  Drugs and groupies everywhere (indulgence in either is a choice, but the hardest thing to resist is temptation).  “In Thee” isn’t as famous as those other road songs, but it’s also not as loaded with overwrought imagery or cliché.  “Maybe I’ll see you again, baby, and maybe I won’t.  Maybe you bought your ticket, goin’ back to Detroit.”  Life on the road is treated matter-of-factly.  It’s their job.  They might not always like it, but they keep on moving from town to town.

It’s a weary, lonely life.  “So I’ll wrap myself in cities I travel.  I’ll wrap myself in dreams.  I’ll wrap myself in solitude, but I wish I could wrap myself in thee.” The use of the old word “thee” lends an air of romance and fantasy to the otherwise realistic song, a nod to Blue Oyster Cult’s other image.  But when they put away the electric guitars, the tales of doom and destruction, they’ll go back to their hotel rooms, or the tour bus.  They’ll clean up and change into a comfortable pair of sweatpants.  And they’ll call whoever is waiting for them.  They’re just guys, missing home.



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