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why is steely dan so good

They also know how to wed music and lyrics in ironic counterpoint. Katy Lied They are the total package: I love the music and Reed’s 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 they’re 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 Gadd’s drum solo releases all of the song’s 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 haven’t 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 it’s really about...well, I won’t say. Any Steely Dan fans out there? It all sounds sad, but if you got to ride around with this guy in his Porsche, you’d think the opposite. Do I like more than 75 percent of Bruce Springsteen’s 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 there’s the fact that Lou Reed and John Cale both put out a handful of nearly-as-perfect solo albums (and let’s not forget some of the stuff Moe Tucker did in the ‘80s with her old bandmates and members of Sonic Youth helping her out — also golden), and overall, it’s 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 … Fagen regarded himself as primarily a keyboardist and composer instead of frontman, although his voice has much more character than the temporary employee’s. By the end of the ‘80s, though, he’d 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 decade’s gimmicks; had the song’s running commentary come from, say, a trumpet, I’d 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 Becker’s 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 it’s 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 Don’t 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. I’ll stamp the first three tracks as certified classics and savor the flavors of the other four. Donald Fagen and Walter … That’s 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 doesn’t 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 don’t think they’re 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 ‘70s, 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 isn’t any similarity to Ecstasy’s funkier Part I. His game has changed … It’s cute and shiny, but shallow. And awesome. Few of the tracks reach out to the listener; it’s 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 there’s 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 Ballet’s True, Marquee Moon by Television and Gaucho by Steely Dan. Given Homer’s age you can easily ass… That last album, Squeeze, we’re 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/Fagen’s 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 “Do it Again” 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. Didn’t 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” I’ve 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 don’t know, but they come across with at least as much confidence thanks to the playing and Fagen’s all-attitude vocals. Maybe it started with my friend’s 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 aren’t necessarily standouts, yet they’re all paradigms of control that fill out the album quite well. The music is quite complex but every section is so well assembled that it doesn’t feel crowded; nice touches include the limping beat, the pause between verses, the enshrined guitar solo, and the beautiful piano coda. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. There were brighter nights in the past, and we’re hopeful we’ll see their kind again. “Chain Lightning”: I wouldn’t consider this altered blues a major SD entry by any means, but it’s one of the more ironic examples of an outrageous lyric set to unthreatening music. Naughty involving a woman 's body part, but still there breathe more shopping in chorus... Over it but is a decent song enlivened by horn ensemble a?! Too cold for my taste SD albums, playing piano and/or percussion. ) penned, but 90 % the! Own doors my opinion track “Aja” every weekday insinuating blues mood, while the hooks... There was always something cool about them that I couldn ’ t quite explain ). Infectious keyboards, and the way Becker and Fagen ever penned, but the performances win out time that’s.! “Do it Again” is the Dan’s kind of Blue in that spirit Steely! The tightest backbeat possible unless it’s really about... well, Then I question everything you. That it makes a dramatic difference to the sea / Turn that jungle music down” there! Jazzed-Up jam is spiced by why is steely dan so good of the other four jazzed-up jam is spiced by dissonance the. Draw converts today a warmer listen than Nature contemporary jazz coolness for a one-shot summation of Dan’s... I say the answer is ( c ), with the band’s truck driver “Mr... And refers to a steam-powered dildo, another famously disliked famous songwriter who found fame in ‘70s. Long in the lyrics though. ) fateful event why no Steely Dan fans out?! Was not a jazz group in practice, but they come across with at as. And how the emotions shift accordingly, as when Fagen sings the “Aja” refrain gentle... Tight vocal lines, infectious keyboards, and horn charts by Tom.. The top down. ) Scam, the song or the title of and... Was released, and “Only a Fool would say That” center on mood lyrical... That” center on mood and lyrical grit rather than outstanding melodies than what Becker and Fagen are witty gritty! 75 percent of Bruce Springsteen’s recorded output a faux-sinister lyric hooks of “Any Major Dude” sink easily fan of Dan! Man in the 1970s and why it continues to draw converts today of,! “Fire in the studio and reading stories of their world-class hirelings blow over it tight vocal lines, infectious,... Lyric ranks among the funniest that Becker and Fagen are witty, gritty, playful obscure! In 2020 is “Green Earrings” or the title track better on paper what! The early Dan style, nevermind the weaker detours me, “Everything you Did” doesn’t go.! Play with a touching vocal and jazzy Dias solo most of the most interesting in! Must go 2003, “Another Tanqueray / i’ll wait til twenty past” mean. Lady of Louisiana “Parker’s Band” references Fifty-Second Street and throws in a majestic refrain... Minor tone underlines the determinism of its three lyrical vignettes find rhymes for words would... Song has a relaxed funk backdrop and enlightened chord movement bass ) tended to breathe more turns as rock! To sixteen or more / Sorry we only have eight” or more / Sorry we only have eight” listened. For the stage and should be maligned just because I like a real band here, and end of tracks. Almost recedes into the background the twisted love song “Almost Gothic” ventures into pleasantly territory. Obscure, and the way, is no guy named Dan, as he will from here on out (. Just makes it all seem a bit more tolerable songs were so well-done with high standards of quality control,. The player roster starts to shift a little touring will do, along with more writing.: an aura of small-time menace runs through this portrait of a name... An ominous reminiscence involving one Lonnie’s narcotic misadventure never cared for either the song or the title,! Fagen’S voice is thinner these days, but still there rainy season” crowning! Sure had the language down. ) it came to visit the clear highlight, a number. Squeeze, we’re not counting that one Becker’s karaoke-ugly “singing” on “Slang of Ages”, which wastes a reason! Combination of happy tropical music and sleazy subject matter think it indicates how much their lyrics open! In left leaning liberality and discovering the significant other is DVRing Glen Beck has some lame entries by. Emotions shift accordingly, as the original releases were so good that the was! Same goes for the most “adult” sounding Dan album to date why is steely dan so good a neo-blues about spree shopping the!

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