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Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic CD (album) cover

PRETZEL LOGIC

Steely Dan

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 100 ratings

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thwok
5 stars For me, Pretzel Logic is the cream of the Steely Dan crop. Since they are probably on my top ten list, that's very high praise indeed! It's the first of their two 5 star albums, along with Aja IMHO. Pretzel Logic is less conventionally "progressive" than Aja, which usually gets better reviews and ratings. The songs aren't as long and complex. The same can be said for Countdown to Ecstacy. Pretzel Logic is definitely more streamlined. However, it's the songwriting and variety on Pretzel Logic that clinches it for me.

This is one of those few masterpieces which I find extremely hard to find fault with. Every track is excellent. "Monkey in Your Soul" doesn't quite thrill me like the others, and "Through With Buzz" strikes me as unfinished. These are minor quibbles. I've always assumed that since Becker and Fagen outsourced most of their studio performances, Walter Becker left much of the guitar playing in the hands of Denny Dias and Jeff Baxter. Without knowing who plays on individual tracks, I've always wondered why these two musicians aren't acclaimed as among the best guitar players in rock music. The first two tracks on the album support my claim.

How do you pick the best songs from one of the best rock albuims ever made? At this point, I'd have to pick "Barrytown", a song about racism, and "Charlie Freak", apparently about a dying drug addict. I love the off-kilter melody and harmonies of "Charlie Freak". The fact that the lyrics for these two tracks are more comprehensible, less obscure than normal probably has something to do with my choice. Becker and Fagen's songwriting skills have grown over time, and Pretzel Logic includes many of their best songs. That factor and the variety from track to track on Pretzel Logic earns the album that rare distinction; a perfect 5 star rating.

thwok | 5/5 |

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