“Felonious, my old frriiiiennddd”

I'm Aja. I am a drama queen. Which makes for a good Steely Dan album!There are a number of bands which have always been awesome throughout generations, but whom you personally never took a moment to stop, notice, and really listen to. For me, Steely Dan is one of those bands. My mom used to play the cassette tape of Aja in our old Volvo station-wagon when I was a kid.  And I didn’t “get” it. And those were really the days to “get” things, too, because if you recall, time was of the essence with recorded materials; the tape eventually would warp from being kept in the car and overexposed to the daytime heat. Woe is innocence — it fades with the prevalence and accessibility of recorded music.

Despite whatever that means, Steely Dan was a fabulous band. They melded catchy ’70s jazz-rock, with elements of prog, funk, and brilliant pop songwriting. The piano and bass guitar are the foundations of their compositions — and like almost anything recorded in the 1970s, the drums sound awesome! It’s cool, because despite all their technical expertise, the guitar is still only there to flesh out the sounds, and so doesn’t need to drive and control the song. The catchy chorus hooks are rather unexpected and fresh, moving through chordal shapes more familiar to dusty jazz gurus instead of untamed rock musicians. Steely Dan is able to tread a nice fine line between the two.

Their lyrics get me too! As my friend points out, they seem like somewhat serious nerdy academic musicians, and then their songs sound kinda funky, catchy, but laid-back — and then occasionally the lyrics are about something somewhat dark or “badass”. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if their whole prolific ’70s period was fueled by vast quantities of narcotics. In fact, any significant accomplishments achieved in the 1970s were likely all fueled amidst a haze of… … medicine.

But don’t take my word for it — just watch the Youtubez (a.k.a. the cultural coagulation center!).

“Ah, Felonious — my old friend!” …where have you been for the past 3 paragraphs?

“Kings” is a really great famous Steely Dan song, too. Glad you agree. Also glad you agree that the video sux.

Reiteration: it’s always nice to find old bands that you’ve seen around your whole life, but didn’t “get” until you finally took a closer, one-pointed, listen. For many of you, Steely Dan is maybe not that band. But fortunately this is my blog and I get to make the rules. Steely Dan rules.


~ by chaosrexmachinae on August 9, 2009.

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