I am going to see what this "Steely Dan" band is all about

a man, a plan, Steely Dan 

I will listen to the 4-CD 287-minute compilation "Citizen" from 1993

I will mainly listen to it in my car so this could take weeks

Before you say "No, don't listen to that" remember the old proverb "The best Steely Dan CD is the Steely Dan CD you have with you" 💫

a man, a plan, Steely Dan 

Day 1, Disc 1, Track 1:

I forgot the CD on my kitchen counter

*Like & Subscribe voice*
Be sure to mute the hashtag !

Steely Dan "Do It Again" 

Ok, we're 1-for-1 at "oh yeah everybody knows this song"

Feels silly to write any sort of 'review' for such a well known song. Pretty solid groove — for a Smoke On The Water and TNT ripoff, am I right folks!!

I enjoy a keyboard solo that sounds like a better version of what I would write. I will ignorantly be referring to all of SD's keyboard instruments as "keyboards".

An eyelash got in my eye which really soured this listening experience. 7/10

What if my bit was Steely Dunk, and each one ends with "instead of listening to SD's song X, go listen to other band's song Y"

No, I wouldn't be that mean to the Dan. Do people call them "the Dan"? That a thing?

Steely Dan "Dirty Work" 

The theme song to that Bob Saget movie?! Just kidding. Steely Dan dives right into some absolutely filthy lyrics. Also just kidding.

I'm getting the impression that they keep their song lengths and solo lengths responsibly tame. Like this sax solo. Not that I'm expecting a jam band here, nor are 6+ minute songs necessarily bad. But starting off with 3-5 minute tracks is comforting.

What if I gave every SD song a 7/10? That'd be a funny take, huh? 7/10

Steely Dan "Kings" 

A song called "Kings" could be about lots of things, but this seems to be cheering literal kings. Right? I'm not permitting myself to go read the lyrics. Or to think very long about it.

It's sorta catchy. I found myself singing it while getting work coffee. That bumps it up 1 point. I like the little 5/4 outro bit, subtle.

Is 8 too much? Am I not giving myself enough headroom for truly killer SD tracks? 8/10

Steely Dan "Midnite Cruiser" 

(0.3 seconds in) Awoooo, werewolves of London

Is this the one @alex called 10/10? If so then I am going in too biased.

I may be a Steely Dan Ignoramus but between the lyrics and title I could tell this is about Thelonious Monk. Bounces along nicely, don't know how to rate it, this early in the compilation my ratings feel meaningless! Aaaaaaaahh

Borderline criminal to listen to "Midnite Cruiser" at noon, while parked. 8.7/10

Steely Dan "Only A Fool Would Say That" 

Not to keep dwelling on song lengths, but, a sub-three-minuter?? My preconception of SD as a band of slow burners is quickly proving false. Unless they get longer later.

This one has some slinky chords, good vocal melodies, catchy. A certain *masto admin* calls this one 10/10 but I will have to absorb it several more times to really appreciate that.

Bonus: tired 4YO's review: "I don't like it!"

Anyway how about uh 8.375/10

Steely Dan "Reelin in the Years" 

This is the first track I Already Know And Love and it simply gets an insta-10 from me. An all-time great.

Sorry if that's a little too Dan 101, whatever. 10/10

Steely Dan "Fire in the Hole" 

I like this one a lot!! I've played it 10+ times since yesterday.

That chunky, bangin piano start-to-finish is the key, bordering on jazzy but keeps it concise. Another case of "ooh I wish I wrote this".

Now this is the part where the Dan Fandom says "oh no, you fool of a Touk, nobody likes that track". Dare I look it up...?

Don't you know there's fire in the hooole 9/10

Steely Dan "Brooklyn Owes The Charmer Under Me" 

Tempted to 0/10 it for awful initials.

Looped this during lunch break. I was not expecting slide guitar, I appreciate that they gave it some room to stretch and breathe! Otherwise this didn't stand out to me much?

Googled it to confirm the song title and got this blurb: 'Trying to understand Steely Dan’s “Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)” song can be just as mentally painstaking as attempting to make sense of its title.'

Sry 6.8/10

Steely Dan "Change of the Guard" 

This one is fun enough, but it feels... different... in a way I'm struggling to articulate. Not "generic", but, I could imagine a hundred other bands doing this song.

The first 48 seconds could be the opening theme song to an imagined sitcom called "Change of the Guard". Just drop it right in.

These numeric ratings are a buncha nonsense aren't they! 7.2/10

Steely Dan "Turn That Heartbeat Over Again" 

What is going on here. Weird way to close Album 1. I'm not feeling it. There are a few good bits but IMHO it's all connected wrong, it's all over the place.

I need to feel out the lower end of my arbitrary 10-point scale, and this song is the first victim of that! 5/10

Steely Dan "Can't Buy a Thrill" album 

I thought it was called "Caught By a Thrill" until right now...

Of the tracks I didn't already know, Fire In The Hole is the standout, easily. Only A Fool and even the "stinker" Change Of The Guard get stuck in my head though!!

Side note, I forgot / re-learned that Walter Becker died, that saddens this whole box set listen :(

Overall album rating out of 10: Just kidding, I'm not doing that, putting a number on the songs is tough enough.

🚨 starting Steely Dan's 2nd album 🚨

Steely Dan "Bodhisattva" 

OK... starts out sounding like some classic driving rock... then you think "oh we're just doing a 12-bar blues jam?"... but no, of course they shake up the chords and rhythm a bit... all with lyrics riffing on Buddhism

I guess that's one way to start an album. I will say: if a criticism of the first album was being too clinical, this track does seem to show them loosening up slightly, in both playing and the sound (the mixing I guess?)

It's fine 6.5/10

Steely Dan "Razor Boy" 

This one just ain't for me! It's ok. Some of the vocal melodies remind me of the "Shiny" song in Moana. Who is the Razor Boy. Slight bump up for brief twinkly marimba(?) bits over what I call the "You Showed Me" chords (i IV i IV)

I don't have much to say 5.9/10

Steely Dan "The Boston Rag" 

The back half of this sounds like a Crazy Horse joint, and I mean that in a good way, I like it.

Musically, not so much vocally, it sounds like something I would have fun playing with friends a decade ago.

Pretty good imho, maybe not iconic Dan style though? 8.4/10

Steely Dan "Your Gold Teeth" 

I don't love it and I don't hate it, so I'll say two things I like: (1) the keyboard solos are my jam (2) once again it feels like the dudes are loosening up a bit

Umm 7/10

Steely Dan "Show Biz Kids" 

Yeah sure song's fine — but I was distracted the whole time by the background singers — is this "'Lost Wages': The Pun: The Song"?

Apparently internet commenters can't agree on what amount is sung "Las Vegas" versus "Lost Wages", and/or uhh the Biblical "Lot". And to what extent it was intentional. What is going on here people?
songfacts.com/facts/steely-dan

Lot's Wegas 6.5/10

Steely Dan "Show Biz Kids" 

Might have underrated this track. Too late now!

Is this the only Steely Dan song with the lyric "Steely Dan t-shirt" ?

Steely Dan "My Old School" 

Yooooooo, this song is a blast, what a high note to close out Citizen disc 1.

The kind of song you wanna sing along with immediately (but you don't know the words yet).

Energy! Catchy vocal hooks! Horns! Good transitions! Cowbell! Sensible guitar solos!

Fun as hell 9.2/10

Follow

yippie-ki-yay, Walter Becker

Steely Dan "King of the World" 

Kicks off disc 2 and I've been knocking it around for days. At first nothing notable. Mild funk wah? Surprisingly simple verse progression (Danger Bird to make another Neil Young ref)? Monophonic synth noodling?

But it grew on me a lot, stuck-in-head status. Avoided lyric explainers. Very specifically I like that one-off glitchy swell effect at 3:00, glad they didn't overuse it.

🎶 Might as well diiiieee 🎶 makes me think of "guess I'll die" meme 7.8/10

Steely Dan "Pearl of the Quarter" 

A perfectly serviceable southern love song with some slide guitar? OK

Curious choice to put PotQ right after KotW. Just name-wise, I mean.

It's fine!! 7/10

Steely Dan "King of the World" 

@touk one of those songs that doesn’t sound like steely Dan, just a song written by Becker and Fagen

Steely Dan "King of the World" 

@alex It went from like a 5.8 to a 7.8 by playing it many many times

I don't want to get too far ahead without posting my brief impressions, so I'm only listening to 1-3 tracks at a time!

Steely Dan "Pearl of the Quarter" 

@touk Knights of the old Wepublic

Steely Dan "Pearl of the Quarter" 

@touk potq is another one of those barely-a-steely-dan-song songs

Steely Dan "Pearl of the Quarter" 

@alex ☝️ as it's called by the real dan fans

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