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Steely Dan - The Royal Scam CD (album) cover


Steely Dan


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.76 | 202 ratings

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4 stars Steely Dan don't have bad albums, but some of them have more enjoyable songs than others, and in this respect The Royal Scam is very pleasing. They seem not to be as popular here as in the music world in general - and why should they be, they're not even remotely prog; in fact I never would have dared to suggest them here myself. During the band's original existence (from Can't Buy a Thrill in 1972 to Gaucho in 1980) Donald Fagen and Walter Becker shifted gradually into more radio-friendly jazzy pop or AOR with more polished production, but I don't see any big differences in the output. Many people tend to prefer their earlier albums (for the mentioned reason) but I actually enjoy their later works more. They never lost their true spirit to commercialism. Perfectionism in production is OK if it's not at the cost of songwriting. Anyway, Aja and Gaucho may be a bit too sleek and if they hadn't stopped recording after them, they might have become dull. So I can call this one from the middle their best album, as seem to think several other reviewers too.

'Kid Charlemagne' is one of their most charming songs. Also the next one, 'Caves of Altamira', is really nice. 'The Fez' about using condoms and reaggae-ish 'Haitian Divorce' are amusing ones, especially 'The Fez' with slight funk feel gets you humming along. Some songs leave me cold but so is the case in each SD album. The final title track is the most serious-toned and nearly majestic in its 6-minute lenght. See the H.R. Giger -reminding cover that fits well together with the song.

Matti | 4/5 |


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