Release Date: 06.10.03
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
After a Much Shorter Hiatus...
by: brian dinardo
Many of the things I’ve enjoyed the most in my life have been acquired tastes. It wasn’t until the bulls ran in “The Sun Also Rises” that the light went on and Hemingway began to go from cold to beautiful. It was only after I finished the last drop of a 12-year-old bottle Caol Ila that the pleasure of an Islay, single malt scotch was revealed to me. And I believe that somewhere in the midst of my fifth listen to Everything Must Go, that the new Steely Dan album settled in for the long haul.
I’ve always described my Scurvy Brothers to the uninitiated as pop music for people who love jazz: and so it continues on this latest release. The album opens with a swinging jazz/R&B ditty, "The Last Mall." This song is for all of you who wondered what would happen if the Four Horsemen were really into food courts and the Gap.
"Things I Miss the Most" may show the most tender (?!) side of the Dan you have ever heard. A man lamenting a defunct marriage with an inventory including: “The talk/the sex Somebody to trust”
... but steering back to their cynical course:
“The Audi TT / The house on the Vineyard/ the house on the Gulf coast/ these are the things I miss the most.”
Blues Beach is the summer hit we’ve been craving. A nice piece of power pop that picks up where Josie or Tomorrow’s Girls left off.
There is a funky (and fun) sense of the sinister in "Godwhacker." and for the first time on a Steely Dan album, a lead vocal by Walter Becker on “Slang of Ages”. Here, more than ever is an example of an acquired taste.
"Green Book" is quintessential Fagan and Becker that harkens back to The Royal Scam with cryptic story telling, minor chords and some truly slick riffs from Becker.
Girls (always young and nubile) are the subjects of "Pixeleen" and "Lunch with Gina."
The title song brings up the rear in a powerful and ironic style. "Everthing Must Go" opens with a Coultranesque intro and sounds, uncomfortably, like a farewell. Let’s just hope that its just a song.
The performances are impeccable. The production precise. The songwriting has all you’ve come to expect from Steely Dan and yet… I guess what is missing is a sense of the new. For the first time on a Becker/Fagan effort I found myself reflecting. “Oh this kinda sounds like…” or “you know that lick could have come right out of…” With the exception of Becker taking a lead vocal, there's nothing all that suprising on this album.
Everything Must Go will get the hell played out of it in my house but it remains a lesser album in an incredible catalogue. 17-Jun-2003 9:15 AM