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Steely Dan - Katy Lied CD (album) cover


Steely Dan


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.67 | 161 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Almost Good?"

"I went searching for the song you used to sing to me."

Steely Dan's fourth album is the weakest of their classic 7, trapped between the authentic character of the first three and the class of the latter three. On this one they sound positively uninspired to me and most of the tracks very close to boring for the progressive listener. Our lads jokingly give this installment of their history "Almost Good" in their liner notes but it was no joke. After coming off their last tour disgusted and disillusioned with road life they decided to ditch the band and manager and morph into the Steely Dan as we would come to know them. Only one member of their earlier band remained (Dias) as they decided to recruit outside musicians to work their songs. And so "Katy Lied" would be the beginning of the journey that would yield three killer albums soon enough, but this one must have been the dry run, the practice session, the pre-season.pick your cliché. I won't call it a bad album but rather the "least impressive" and the one to get last (and thus the fans only rating). The big exception is the exquisite "Doctor Wu" which even more than "Rikki" on the preceding album showcases the soon-to-be masters of the smooth. It absolutely has that maturity that makes it sound like an "Aja" outtake, great lyrics, and a cool sax solo by Phil Woods. It is the brightest spot by far and if you love Doctor Wu, you haven't lived until you've heard it performed by the legendary Minutemen. But too many tracks involve a relatively static and predictable trot through the verse section leading to some pretty unmemorable payoffs in the choruses. Individual performances can be impressive, such as the masterfully restrained drumming and delicate piano on "Your Gold Teeth II", the second best track. And of course there are many excellent lead guitar drops sprinkled throughout the album. You can't argue with the Dan chops but I'll definitely argue that this album did lack the vigor and oomph in too many tracks. The good news is that it was all uphill from here. On their next release the Dan would deliver a stand-up triple.

Finnforest | 2/5 |


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