They also know how to wed music and lyrics in ironic counterpoint. Katy Lied They are the total package: I love the music and Reedâs whole journalism major-turned-poet laureate of downtown Manhattan thing, which helped him write some of the best lyrics in the American rock songbook. 1977. The other thing about Dan lyrics is that theyre usually oblique enough to inspire multiple meanings. Only the scenery is ultra whitewashed, and that includes the hidden drum sequencer that guides a couple of tracks. Through the fadeout, Steve Gadds drum solo releases all of the songs suggested feelings. Time Out of Mind flows better, given the tight vocal lines, infectious keyboards, and illuminating bridge. Verdict: Two Against Nature sounds really good if you havent heard it in a while, but repeated listens reveal holes and weaknesses. On the forgettable side are What a Shame About Me (well constructed but just not very compelling) and the disposable horn-riffer Jack of Speed. In My Rival, a sneaky groove, humid organ textures, and cool horn riffs underline a faux-sinister lyric. Unless its really about...well, I wont say. Any Steely Dan fans out there? It all sounds sad, but if you got to ride around with this guy in his Porsche, youâd think the opposite. Do I like more than 75 percent of Bruce Springsteenâs recorded output? Razor Boy or Monkey in Your Soul (tied!) Featured solos allow one to differentiate the guitarists: Denny Dias is the chromatic bopper, and Jeff Baxter is the visceral rocker. (Not that Steely Dan was known for particularly melodic tunes. Steely Dan, American rock band that drew from the gamut of American musical styles to create some of the most intelligent and complex pop music of the 1970s. And why not Becker and Fagen were far from creatively exhausted, although this album has some lame entries. Steely Dan just pretended to be dad rock while playing a much longer and weirder game. Then thereâs the fact that Lou Reed and John Cale both put out a handful of nearly-as-perfect solo albums (and letâs not forget some of the stuff Moe Tucker did in the â80s with her old bandmates and members of Sonic Youth helping her out â also golden), and overall, itâs difficult for me to find a band that I mesh with as well as the Velvets. Does it have to be one or the other? What I have in common with all of these guys is that I, too, have a fanatical love of The Dan. … Is Green Earrings or the title track better on paper than what Becker and Fagen had written before? Take The Last Mall, a neo-blues about spree shopping in the face of armageddon. I love almost â¦ Fagen regarded himself as primarily a keyboardist and composer instead of frontman, although his voice has much more character than the temporary employees. By the end of the â80s, though, heâd lost just about everything: his wife, his kids, his business. The other favorite Josie has a relaxed funk backdrop and enlightened chord movement. Too bad they chose this most ridiculous of the decades gimmicks; had the songs running commentary come from, say, a trumpet, Id like it much more. The next three albums are all track for track pretty much as perfect as they get. Pretzel Logic stitches together the last threads of the early Dan style, nevermind the weaker detours. The global apocalypses and intimate meltdowns Steely Dan chronicled in their albums — which bore such bleak and/or enigmatic titles as Pretzel Logic, Katy Lied, The Royal Scam and Everything Must Go — were so brilliantly rendered that they made annihilation seem ecstatically inviting. The songs were so good that the origin of the name Steely Dan mattered little. The writing and arrangements continue to mature in the better material. Sly verses and a divergent bridge complete the picture. King of the World: Like Razor Boy, this track blends disparate elements, and much of the surface activity sounds dated, like the wah guitar, Echoplex, and game-show synthesizer. The real horror is Walter Beckers karaoke-ugly singing on Slang of Ages, which wastes a good chorus. What are your favorites? How many times have I actively listened to Pavement albums all the way through? That has been made obvious time and time again. Steely Dan’s breakthrough single (and second-highest-charting Hot 100 hit, peaking at No. What do you look for in a song? In the absence of marigolds, and with the sun going brown, our hero can only hope to live through the week, sightseeing city ruins and trying to raise company on the radio. The drumming on the album, I must say, is pretty monotonous. Even in my younger and punker days, I dug the Dan. Some of their music had a blues sound to it. Discussion. Countdown contends with Aja for the best SD album, and its the strongest of the early period, when the Dias-Baxter guitars and the Hodder drums were still teamed with Becker and Fagen in what could be called a working band. Throw Back the Little Ones Daddy Dont Live in That New York City No More: The bluesy vamp of this skankazoid tune is not unlike what any decent bar band could dial up, although it takes some subtle turns. Nice slide guitar from Baxter. This is a refined waltz piece with a touching vocal and jazzy Dias solo. Ill stamp the first three tracks as certified classics and savor the flavors of the other four. Donald Fagen and Walter … Thatâs why the band was popular in the 1970s and why it continues to draw converts today. 1980, Drive west on Sunset to the sea / Turn that jungle music down. He states that it is the consistent/constant use of what the Dan call (using their own … The band’s best-known songs included ‘Do It Again,’ ‘Reelin’ in the Years,’ and ‘Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.’ Learn more about its history and music. The Royal Scam (Feldman appears on a few other SD albums, playing piano and/or percussion.) Watching video of Steely Dan in the studio and reading stories of their recording obsession is simply mindblowing. Politics have become Steely Danner material as well. My Old School: The girl was too cruel and the narrator doesnt want to go back to campus in this rock/R&B hybrid, topped with saxophone riffs and barroom piano. The three best tracks appear at the beginning, middle, and end of the program. Steely Dan and Blood Sweat and Tears were the two best jazz/rock fusion bands in the history of the many sub-genres rock and roll, imo. However, they were not really necessary, as the original releases were so well-done with high standards of quality control. Steely Dan and their lame-ass fans can put on your sky blue Tom’s, hand me down captain’s caps, and sail into the yacht rock sunset, because … I dont think theyre out to glorify their imaginary characters some of whom are rather degenerate but they use obscure scenarios to set up a droll punchline or two. Speaking of which, Becker and Fagen self-consciously try to live up to their reputation of taboo and outright obscurity in the lyrics. Steely Dan refers to "Steely Dan III from Yokohama," a strap-on dildo from the novel The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs. The similarity indicates that either a) Steely Dan were ahead of their time in the â70s, b) that Two Against Nature is shamelessly retro, or c) that the Becker/Fagen aesthetic is so unique as to be timeless. I really like Steely Dan. Maybe you had a sense that behind the scenes, among the population of musicians themselves, there was a much higher regard for Steely Dan because of the way they were able to slither complexity into pop and rock music in a way that allowed the population to be receptive to it. At least one valid email address is required. Your Gold Teeth II: Apart from the title phrase, there isnt any similarity to Ecstasys funkier Part I. His game has changed … Its cute and shiny, but shallow. And awesome. Few of the tracks reach out to the listener; its the sort of record one must sink into. Glamour Profession A few tracks later, the twisted love song Almost Gothic ventures into pleasantly eerie territory, if that makes any sense. Steely Dan just pretended to be dad rock while playing a much longer and weirder game. For examples, check out the quartal vamp and luxurious bridge of Green Earrings, or the sick harmonic cadence under the holy man refrain in The Fez who else in rock wrote charts like these? We’re all just sitting around in our sweatpants thinking about how good things were back in the day, even if that was less than a year ago. I like a number of Steely Dan's songs and tip my hat to their musicianship as expressed on their albums. Actually, for most of its existence, Steely Dan has been those 2 guys, or was, until sadly Walter Becker … The tenured guitarists are Denny Dias (the jazzy one) and Jeff Baxter (the skunky rock one), plus guest Elliot Randall, who drops a much celebrated solo into Reelin in the Years, a longtime radio staple. (Plus a few guests, of course.) Your Gold Teeth I say the answer is (c), with the caveat that this album has more poise than substance. Is it the actual music, like the piano or guitar or whatever instrument is leading the pack? Aja is a watertight record and like nothing else in the rock or jazz realms. Nevertheless, the verses set up a fugue-like chorus, extra vocals courtesy of Michael McDonald. The Velvet Underground is one. Stringy hair, boots on amps, boogie chillun, color blindness, a criminal element the cultural bridges in that two-part episode stood proud. Notice how some of the changes in the spooky intro are recycled in the chorus. Meticulous detail builds the piece to dramatic height, including a little nod to Bach. The rest of the album is pretty good, and a warmer listen than Nature. Pearl of the Quarter: A gentle, country-ish aside to a lady of Louisiana. These guys are Steely Dan. I would love to discuss the band. Can it be a case-by-case scenario? When I first got into Steely Dan back in the early 1990s, Katy Lied was my least favorite record because it seemed so, well, adult and wimpy, but I grew into it. News, advice and insights for the most interesting man in the room. There are a couple of cutesy tracks in Janie Runaway and Cousin Dupree, although the incestuous humor of the latter is only funny once. This comeback effort picks up exactly where Gaucho left off slick rhythm tracks, electric piano, diddly-do guitar, horns, and smarty lyrics. And then theres the global cat n mouse story Godwhacker, the backing track of which is similar to Genesis Just a Job To Do, another hitman portrait. Doctor Wu: A story of addiction, desperation, and maybe betrayal takes place over elegant and rousing music, including a Phil Woods alto solo. The dark immigrant tale Royal Scam milks a hesitant vamp under scattered horn dialogue, releasing suspense in a majestic title refrain. Watching video of Steely Dan in the studio and reading stories of their recording obsession is simply mindblowing. steely dan sucks ass and is a shining example of why a lot of proggy jazzy stuff is so boring despite having really good musicianship — Princess Ploom (@PloomPrincess) September 17, 2020 If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514 He had a few cassette tapes that I can recall: Spandau Balletâs True, Marquee Moon by Television and Gaucho by Steely Dan. Given Homer’s age you can easily ass… That last album, Squeeze, weâre not counting that one. This is a jam-packed track, featuring a funky rhythm loop under repetitive backing vocals, gnawing slide guitar, and one of many lyrics that displays Becker/Fagens disaffection with Los Angeles. Steely Dan's fans are notorious for their love of pristine audio quality; they loved virgin vinyl pressings of the Dan's classic studio work and they loved the CD reissues. I had to go into hiding, not really letting on that when âDo it Againâ came on the classic rock station, I was singing along in my head while the other kids my age were making fun. Take The Royal Scam, a story of immigrants trying to get a foothold in a new country. The songs themselves are great. Didnât everybody who heard their first record when it came out go and start a band? Do It Again is the clear highlight, a Latin-ish number whose pervasive minor tone underlines the determinism of its three lyrical vignettes. Denny Dias is still around to lend a good solo or two, as are hired guitarists Larry Carlton, Dean Parks, and Rick Derringer, along with pianist Michael Omartian and drummer Jeff Porcaro, among others. Kid Charlemagne Ive never cared for either the song or the guitar; the verses are nice, but the chorus hits me as rather pedestrian. Sailing along for years in left leaning liberality and discovering the significant other is DVRing Glen Beck. I dont know, but they come across with at least as much confidence thanks to the playing and Fagens all-attitude vocals. Maybe it started with my friendâs dad and his gold 1986 Porsche 930 that he got to keep in the divorce (a very Steely Dan-esque sort of thing) that always smelled like weed and Polo cologne. Walter Becker handles bass alongside drummer Jim Hodder. Some say that the Everything Must Go lyrics have a post-9/11 undertone: Last Mall fears the end of the world, Godwhacker chases down an evil figurehead, and the title track might be about America itself. The worst band ever is???? Aja was long in the making, Gaucho even longer. Aja Style: I would have preferred more dynamics within the tracks, but 90% of the playing is as classy as can be. These three tracks arent necessarily standouts, yet theyre all paradigms of control that fill out the album quite well. 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