Walter Becker (Steely Dan Confessions): "It's a goddamn party record.... The lyrics are sparkling and bright and scintillating, even the grim, depressing ones--of which lord knows there's plenty."
Donald Fagen (Steely Dan Confessions): "It's really not my place to analyze this music.... We have other people doing it."
Maria the snake woman is quite talented. Catch her at http://www.venommagic.com/
John L. Walters (The Guardian, 6/5/03. See
the whole interview here):
Do they ever choose a
word merely because it sounds good? Fagen: "We would never do a thing
like that." Becker: "There's a songwriting guild that we're members of,
and we promise, among other things, not to do that. We're only allowed
to write three songs a year using a girl's name." Fagen: "But there are
ways of getting around that." Becker: "Yeah, right. Pixeleen, who knows
what that is?"
And: "Y'know, Freud said that pop songwriting is the royal road to the unconscious," says Becker. "But he also said that the unconscious always says yes, so that doesn't leave you many options," replies Fagen, quick as a flash.
William Gibson (from his blog at williamgibsonbooks.com, 6/16/03):
That thread about my chapter titles, a while back? It should be evident to all that it was Steely Dan taught me the art of titling, as witness this fine batch from their new one:
1. The Last Mall
2. Things I Miss The Most
3. Blues Beach
5. Slang of Ages
6. Green Book
8. Lunch With Gina
9. Everything Must Go
Of which, on as yet a
listening, I'm most taken with "Godwhacker", a little deicide ditty
lots of that carbonated guitar they do so well.
"Pixeleen" seems to be a Walter Mitty routine about a girl with possibly Molly-like anime-heroine fantasies, ever brought down by the quotidian.
Dr. Mu (GB, 5/29/03): This
was based on the cover shortly after a picture was discovered
on the 'net: We hadn't heard a note yet. But the themes expressed on
The Last Mall, Things I Miss the Most, Blues Beach ('Medicine Park"),
GodWhacker, the title track are consistent with the vibes I picked up
in my pre-sculpted gray matter...
"Everything Must Go: Cover or Cover UP?
Gazing at the cover now on my eMac in Qucktime double size. Here's my take which may or may not represent even a smidgeon of what Donald & Walter have in mind.
I think the cover and album represent the New Paradigm. Most folks in the formerly increasing Dilbertian fantasy land that represented the mid to late 90s through 2000 had the notion that the new millenium began in 2000. Those who know the Gregorian calendar and Stanley Kubrick understood that the Gregorian calendar began with the year 1 AD, not 0...therefore, 2001 was the first year of the new millenium...
...and in that year, coincidentally or not, the World and the mathematics of profit and the disengenuous of greed and the faux New Economy model caught up with us, and how...laying waste to structure and dreams that were in the end just a house of cards dispersed as easily as a whisper in a digital dream...However, the human and material wreckage were grim and Real... Twisted metal, dust echoes of concrete and humanity chased us down the street and into a New Age, as different as each new age in Tolkien's Middle Earth...and the World again appeared as it indeed is: a tough, but frightengly beautiful place where the wolf is always at the door...
Everything that was new is gone, and that which was old is new again...for better of worse...
Also, a fractal of new paradigm is crystallized by the "new" back to basic approach that Steely Dan 2 used in molding EMG...In other words: Everything Must Go!
studio musicians playing to "clicks"
over and over and over dubbing
hot licks and rhetoric
They ALL MUST GO!!!!
...and in the musical universe, the Kenny G's, Yanni's, and Britney Spears' of the planet All Must Go!
we thus see a return in a sense to the recording paradigm and purpose
of Katy Lied in the Dandom annals, where they first entered as a
full-fledged non-Steely band, but took a core of musicians in (Becker,
Fagen, Omartian, McDonald, Porcaro, Parks, Felder, Dias, and Randall)
into the studio with the same strategy as the Miiles Davis albums of
...In a large sense, the album represents not only a way of dealing with the New Paradigm, but the fallout of 9/11. After all, D&W had just begun early recording EMG at that time...following the 9/11 tragedy, they tried to go on, but the horror and ghosts, dust, and stench of death forced a retreat back to Hawaii within a few short weeks by October, 2001. What followed were recordings that dealt with, at least psychologically the collapse of the old paradigm...and as it fell corruption at Enron, Worldcom, Global Crossing were exposed, the flow of capital at the pork barrel trough shut off while both Republicans and Democrats still continued to lap it up... Whether it was at this time, D&W decided to return to analog or later I do not know, but I wonder if Things I Miss the Most is more a reflection of the New New Thing that is gone gone gone rather than an old lover...a re-expose of corruption at the nexus of the human heart. In 1999, Randy Newman wryly and ironically living the New Economy in his song "The World Isn't Fair" about Karl Marx revisiting Randy N. to find his plan in shambles;
"...If Marx were living
He'd be rolling around in his grave
And if I had him here in my mansion on the hill
I'd tell him a story that t'would give his old heart a chill
It's something that happened to me
I'd say Karl I recently
Into a new family
With two little childrend in school
Where all little children should be
I went to the orientation
All the young mommies were there
Karl, you've never seen such a glorious sight
As these beautiful women arrayed for the night
Just like countesses, empresses, moive stars and queens
And they'd come here with men just like me
Froggish men, unpleasant to see
Were you to kiss one Karl
Nary a prince would there be
Oh Karl the world isn't
It isn't and never will be
They tried out your plan
It brought misery instead
If you'd seen how they worked it
You'd be glad you were dead
Just like I'm glad that I'm living in the land of the free
Where the rich just get richer
And the poor your don't ever have to see
'It would depress us Karl'
Because we care
That the world isn't fair"
in point: while at a conference I see the potential of human scientific
and engineering endeavor, a new billion dollar monument to the idols of
professional ball, and those practicing free speech against a war that
is sorta over, de poor people sleeping without de shade or de
light!...nary a panhandler or criminal as on the streets of Baltimore,
but the physically handicapped, the mentally challenged and mentally
ill...strewn blocks from restorations and fancy hotels...I gave what
few piasters I could in these overbudgeted times...while watching women
in cell phones shrieking at the tattered walking slowly but too closely
like they're barely Alive in America...
So I think of this EMG in anticipation as a reverse Kamakiriad, a clever look at the immediate future and its ramifications told through the unique prism of the Steely subconscious...the warts and despair of America exposed...The inherent evil and folly, once glossed over in a corporate world and post-yuppie Clintonian fantasy enabling reared again, like the nightmarish skyscraper on the cover of the Royal Scam... the themes of Show Biz Kids, Charlie Freak, Any World, etc. revisited now told from their unique perspective of the new Paradigm time, age, and point of view...a thinking man's "The Rising"...as usual with Steely Dan, I expect more from the process and the pictures dealing with "what is left" painted than pedestrian sledgehammer themes...
...to the cover: a shroud or wall of doom surround the mostly back and white photo where only gold/precious stone in color...is the man, decendent of fallen kings wiping a tear with his left hand, rubbing his eyes in exhaustion or in acceptance of his fate? The precious rings and stones in a suitcase is kind of a metaphor for the once powerful Ken Lay no longer using their suitcases for transport of important papers (like plans to count foreign plant aquisitions and employees' stock options and 401ks as "profit."
...But in the end, and I have a feeling especially from the reviews that the album also addresses the opportunity of a new beginning, to set things right...despite despair, some teahouse on the tracks may be wating for us after all...
...to no longer live in a place where, to borrow from Randy Newman again,
"of all of the people
that I used to know
Most never adjusted
to the great big world
I see them lurking in book
working for the public radio
carrying their babies in a sack on their back
moving careful and slow...
...all of these people
are much brighter than I
In any fair system
they would flourish and thrive
But they barely survive
They eke out a living
and they barely survive"
6/10/03): ... Cole Porter on Deludin...
6/10/03): WOW lunch with
steely dan is forever
oleander (GB, 6/11/03): The album cover--the watches listing the song numbers are great. And the last one, within the jewel case at the back--5 o'clock, quitting time. Pix on the back: just the axe, ma'am. And inside an actual picture of themselves--but weird--looks like 2 different photos fused.
TLM - Capitalist House of Cards crashes to the sound of insistent
blues. A recurrent Steely theme carried of with usual aplomb.
Pixeleen -Gibsonesque cyber uber-babe. Filmic, breezy, vocally fascinating.
Lunch With Gina - Monkey on back, chip on shoulder - a lateral song - probably a classic.
Godwhacker - Object lesson in groovometry. Placement of the beat, placement of the meat. Angry, subversive lyric - Can't get my fill of this one.
BB - Fromage - a mature Brie. Perfect with a crisp Chardonnay.
time zone guru (GB,
Well, what can I say... I want to thank W & D for placing those
time pieces all over the new one... and they were even kind enough to
them for almost every concievable time zone! Of course, knowing our
penchant for triple and quadruple entendre, they could
Groovetime, cryin' time, stompin' time, gospel time, your two timer,
time of our tiime, stowing away the time, closing time at the Guernsey
Fair, our little wild time, better times, another lifetime, the misty
time to burn, hard times befallen, time out of mind, a glorious time,
Nervous Time, lantern time, shredding time, space and time, time that
sometime, or even party time.
Oh, before I forget... the moving sidewalks are almost perfected... and I have the bruises to prove it. I definitely recommend you take off your cape before trying one. The jet packs are going to take a little longer than I'd hoped due to a little testing mishap involving some high tension power lines. We'll finish testing those suckers as soon as we get a new test pilot...
Razor Boy (GB, 6/14/03): After almost 30 years of listening to SD, they continue to be an enigma. Corny as it sounds, they are ultra cool. They may be the two biggest milktoasts around, but they throw out their commentary on all that is around us, and weave it with the richest music I've ever heard. It's like, "if the words don't get you,the music will; or vice versa.
Javier (6/15/03): It would be the new Gaucho, in my opinion. But listening carefully and reading the lyrics, I can see it's like a compendium of everything Becker and Fagen did since the last MCA Records release. Divided in nine songs, just as 2vN and TRS, includes reminiscings of "Green Flower Street" (Godwhacker), "Big Noise, New York" (Everything Must Go) and the Becker solo album is remembered in "Slang of Ages". Definetly this is a new step on the Dan's career. I hope they still keep releasing albums; but judging from the title, I don't know this is going to happen. It's been 22 years since Fagen and Becker broke up with MCA (now Universal Music), I really hope Warner Brothers release a collection of B-sides and rarities. It would be as fresh and fun as this record.
THE LAST MALL- Th e last day of shopping before the big one obliterates
THINGS I MISS THE MOST- Brooding about the end of a relationship or living in the 9/11 world. Lyrics are very reflective....
BLUES BEACH- A happy,jazzy sounding tune about the going on vacation before the end of the world. Fagen sounds sinister and that's good.
GODWHACKER- Funkiest track on the CD. Some say it's about assassinating God, but I really think it's about killing someone who acts like they're God. Examples of people who think they're God- George Jr., Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Bill Gates, anyone from Clear Channel....
SLANG OF AGES-A historical first. Becker takes center stage.
GREEN BOOK- Jill St. John should be sent a copy of this Cd. More of the sinister, yet sneaky side of Becker and Fagen.
PIXELEEN- Virtual Sex with a Virtual woman. Clever.
LUNCH WITH GINA- A female stalker who turns off and on the protagonist. Not bad. Another highlight.
EVERYTHING MUST GO- A sequel to The Last Mall? Possibly. Or it's about losing our freedom to compete in a screwed up economy.
Sociable Hermit (GB,
Everything Must Go. The title of the album. Also, the one inevitablity,
the one actual fact of life. Everything Must Go. There is
forever. For either people or things. We're not talking about a
sale, we're talking about life. And... please bear with me, this is why
I feel that this album is themeatically about September 11th.
The Last Mall. I believe this is actually the World Trade Center, and the "announcement" is made just after the first plane struck. "You'll need tools for survial and medicine for the blues." You need to calm down, don't panic, use your head, and we can get out of this. But, inevitably, it's time to do your shopping, the final inventory of your life. You know you're going to die, and the next morning will be a gospel morning, either when you reach Heaven, or when youo are prayed for at Church, so what do you do? You make one final human connection ~ kiss the check out girl, the last person you see after shopping, then ride the ramp to the freeway of the blood orange sky. The color of the building on fire.
The Things I Miss The Most The list of things missed is too varied for this to be the lamentaions of only one person. I see this as a group of dead souls, sitting around in the after life, all sharing with each other what they miss the most.
Blues Beach This is a song about a guy who skipped work and went to the beach. No big deal, unless you consider that this man works in Tower Number One, and the day he played hooky was 9/11. Maybe he was having an affair with this woman, and spent the day with her at the sea, while his wife or girlfriend died in the attack. Now this beach isn't so much fun anymore, and never will be since it will always remind him of this day. I'm getting this from the chorus that says he's sizzling in the mercifal rays, like he was granted an escape from death by a god that is shining down on him, and the long sad Sunday of the early resigned is a group of people praying to be saved, but the narrator knows that those prayers will never be answered.
Godwhacker I think this is about bin-Laden, how we were once "friends", (him with previous administrations), but now we're trying to capture him. "In the beginning we could hang with the dude...Now they curse your name and there's a bounty on your face." If bin-Laden played God by killing all of those people, then those trying to kill him consider themselves Godwhackers.
Slang Of Ages I'm not entirely sure how this fits in with the rest of my theory, (give me time), but can I ask this? When did Walter start sounding like Lou Reed? Listen to him sing the line, "Now, did you say you were from the Netherlands, or was it that Netherworld". Anyway, (and this is a stretch), but Lou's from New York, so maybe it's an in joke, or another clue. At first, I thought this was a guy standing at Ground Zero talking to woman who is visiting. Then I wondered if it was a ghost talking to another ghost, since she seems to not only skip a dimension, but she opened his head. "Are you all part of my dreaming, or the end of my life so far". Could be that the narrator is hallucinating in the moment before death.
Green Book I believe this is Limbo, or some level of the afterlife. Perhaps the Green Book is THE book that catalogues all that we did when alive, and all you have to do is look in the book, and you'll know where your stop is.
Pixileen I believe this is a satire of the way our war coverage was handled and presented to us. It seemed disassocaited from real life ~ more like a video game. And since most of the player, (soldiers) were only kids themselves, why not have one of the women in combat be a sexy warrior?
Lunch With Gina I was wondering if this was Hell. He's known Gina for sometime, and things just aren't working out. Maybe they really went to lunch at the Tower and died, but instead of Heaven, he's in Hell, and his hell is an eternal lunch with Gina.
Everything Must Go The opening reminds me of the opening of John Coltrane's, "A Love Supreme". In fact, I found myself inadvertently singing those four syllables while the intro was playing. Now, if this was intentional, it could be another little in joke. A Love Supreme was supposed to be a song to God. Maybe that's what this is supposed to convey. As I said before, this is it. This is the final moment, and everyone is trying to make the best of that small amount of time they have left. They suggest drinking margaritas, lighting up all their Lucky's, and even a quick fling with the secretary, (no one's ever going to know). Hell, I don't even mind if that little freak Dave in Acquisitions videotapes it.
Anyway...I know it might be a stretch on a few levels, but the thought hit me, so I figured I'd play it out and see what I could make of it. If any of this is close to being right, we have yet another record of light bouncy music accompanied by dark morose lyrical content.
Audi TT (GB,
Herm, the songs operate on so many different levels and I do think 9/11
figures into some (all) of them in some either direct or oblique way.
could be the lament of somebody that lost both their "adorable ghost"
their fortune in the attacks. There is really no reason explictly
stated in the song. Perhaps the Dan are imagining a "King of the World"
style economic apocalypse. It really wouldn't take much more than the
attack to cause it.
Another little gem in "The Last Mall", the phrase the "Big Adios". Adios literally means "with God".
Toby (GB, 6/16/03): NO, NO! A THOUSAND TIMES NOOOOOOOOOO! IT ISN'T !!!!!! Walter specifically and VERY CLEARLY says in the "One Hour Sale" interview that 9/11 happened AFTER they had written the material, and that the new one is NOT about 9/11.
Just Katy (GB,
The biggest unresolved questions is history may well be:
1. Is Jesus really God's son?
2. Who killed JFK?
3. Did George Bush really win the election?
4. Was EMG about 9/11 or not, a thousand times not?
My own two cents: If they did write the lyrics before 9/11, then perhaps EMG is nevertheless influenced by the realization that 'the way we're doing things in the world these days (politically, economically, spiritually) really isn't working' and 'everything must go' if we are to create something lasting and truly meaningful in the world. Hence, The Last Mall, -- shopping as we know it will continue to change drastically. By the end of the song, the last note is missing because the end of the mall came even before we thought it would, abruptly, while we weren't paying attention. We didn't get to plan its demise in time to have the best workable alternative in place -- we waited too long.
Maybe that's what it's all about -- the need to pay attention, to learn from the past, to see the calamities that come because we go on blindly, hoping for the best, unaware on some level that the good times we carve out in life aren't going to take care of the big picture, where even those who set themselves up as spiritual leaders are not able to lead us, and need to be 'Godwhacked themselves' by their own kind.
Peter Q (Blue Book, 6/18/03): ...too, the use of historical personages as narrators (Christopher Columbus in Night by Night, Ulysses in Home At Last) is actually somewhat less effective than that of "lifelike", but not real, people from the news of the day (Columbine types narrate Don't Take Me Alive and Third World Man) although the appearance of the hiply intellectual loser (Caves of Altamira, What A Shame About Me, Things I Miss The Most) is now starting to border on self-parody, like Weird Al Yankovic does Steely Dan. Many of the lyrics seem to be based on the novelist Paul Auster's comment that "the reader writes the work as much as the author does."
DACW (Blue Book, 6/18/03): Fred(dy) at Slate.com gets it. I believe it is first time "recombinant" had been used in reference to the stylings of a pop band...Recombinant animals (usually mice) have a gene removed ("knockout"), or added ("overexpressed"), or mutated to test the function of genes and proteins in disease and normal cell function and physiology.... anyway....recombinant works in the review and pertains to SD music as it is is reflects the twisted and incomplete information contained in Steely Dan songs while evoking powerful imagery in the imagination...
Peter Q (Blue Book, 6/18/03): ..unless it's the endless references to automobiles as safe havens from the chaos of the big bad world in Dan lyrics - the Kamakiri, the Audi TT, the beloved white Aries, I drove the Chrysler, is there gas in the car?, midnite cruiser, you in your Lark you're a mark, daddy don't drive in the El Dorado no more, - and those are just the ones I can recall off the top of my head. In proxemics we were told that there are 3 places where people feel most comfortable - home, job and car. The systems-thread of Dan characters who feel most at ease in their cars is a little bit of insight into the Dan world-view.
Dev (Digest, 6/19/03): Now the gold letters on the front cover anagram out to "shoe style." This raises the eternal question "where did you get those shoes?"
William Wright (6/20/03):
It was only after coming across your site a couple years ago that I
to really get into Steely Dan lyrics and the interpretations thereof. I
began to realize that their lyrics are a) indeed creepily clever and b)
indicative of a larger story in our society, i.e., the seamy, searing
of a subtly dangerous world.
Today, I found out by accident that a new SD album had been released and picked it up right on the spot. Took it out to my car, read some lyrics, and knew right away what the album was saying (well, "knew" as much as anyone can know about any poetic/lyrical endeavors).
Let me start by saying that before I even listened to the album, I read some online reviews, most of which were critical that SD put out another album in a span of three years. "Why the rush?", they all asked. "Don't they care about the quality of the album?" Of course they do. But the message of this album is one of URGENCY, hence the shorter time interval between these last two studio efforts.
I'll get to the message after a few other observations about the album packaging.
The cover: the guy on the album is obviously a salesman, one of which you've seen the like if you've ever been to any major metro area. But look at him; something doesn't look right. Is he crying? Is his head in his hand in despair? Maybe because he realized that selling fake Rolexes is no kind of life. Or maybe he realized that 'everything must go' because soon everything's going to be gone. Hence, a breakdown on the street (or at the office, so to speak).
Next, you open the case, take out the CD, and there's a big clock saying 5:00. I'm assuming it's 5:00 P.M. and we working slobs all know what that means, right? Time to call it a day, stick a fork in it, IT'S DONE.
Finally, you have a huge picture of Becker and Fagen. Huge. Which wouldn't be noteworthy were it not for the fact that the only other time they've shown themseleves on a studio album were the two little snapshots on AJA. And look at the picture. The message of the album is one of URGENCY, and looking at the photo of these two, they seem to be saying, "Assholes. We've been trying to tell you all along. You never figured it out from us or from anyone else (anyone else being Orwell, Huxley, Bradbury, Bob Dylan, etc.) and now look where we are."
And where are we? The end of the world.
I've only listened to the album and read the lyrics a few times today, but I think this is what the album is saying. The jihad proclaimed by W's administration has come to fruition and this is what it may be like when all is said and done. It's not unlike KAMAKIRIAD in that it's a tale of an impending journey, an escape from loneliness. But where KAMAKIRIAD has a message of hope at the end, this one has a bittersweet nostalgia. "It was fun while it lasted, but now it's time to call it a day, stick a fork in it, IT'S DONE.
'The Last Mall'--people lining up, rioting even, to get supplies for CODE RED. The fingers are on the buttons. Get in to your shelters, kids, or ride out of town into the blood orange sky before the electromagnetic pulse puts your engines out of commission.
'Things I Miss The Most'--About a failed relationship? Or maybe about the things the narrator misses since humanity is not around as much as it used to be. After the final war, there are no more funky attitudes or fights from anyone: lovers, neighbors, politicans, soldiers, world leaders.
'Blues Beach'--narrrator hits rock bottom and ventures out from his shelter (or whatever) and finds manic transportation out of town for everyone but him. Still manages to hitch a ride out with 'friends' and cryptic warnings abound (Things may get a whole lot worse before suddenly falling apart).
'GodWhacker'--I don't know who the dude is. Bush, Sr.? Bush, Jr.? Osama? Sadaam Hussein? But this song has to be about the Bush family and their active and conscious effort to destroy the entire planet. As long as they're doing it for God, it has to be okay. And the initials GW? Of course this song is about Bush.
I haven't figured out how the next few songs fit into my theory. But maybe after a few days I'll come up with something.
'Everything Must Go'--Who are 'the bastards that beat us'? One guess: whoever it is that sings "Change of the Guard" on CBAT. The lyrical interp that I read on this site for that song is one of the most unsettling I ever read. But it makes sense. Maybe this is one of the messages SD has tried to pass on to people trying to live in this world: the right wing is not looking out for the little guy, unless it's to use him as a stepping stone. But people chose not to listen, let others do their thinking for them (whyt else would we need politicians?), and everyone missed it. The change of the guard happened and no one noticed. So now do you see why Becker and Fagen look so pissed off in the picture on this new album?
CHI RIVAL (GB,
Alright, Down to business.... The last Mall. D& W always make you
with their dark under tones. This song reminds me of a story i read by
Stephen King, called You know they got a hell of a band. 2 lost
stumble on a town full of dead rock n roll stars. The things I miss the
most. seems to pickup on our boy Kid Clean years later when his next
is the last mall.Could also be an aging belly up star. Blues beach.
knock at the aging hipster, tring to hangout with the young folks. Hes
got the blues because he's too old and out of place. Godwhacker. This
is so tight. I've got 2 spins on this one. Sometimes when stars
it big, they forget where they came from, forget all the little
I always joke with my friends about new artists, that blowup, then they
fall off. we as the fans are the godwhackers, because if You dont
consistant in your craft. You better step back son, give the man some
space. 2) I looked at the way they spelled Poppie. In
its spelled, Papi, meaning daddy. Poppie isnt that an old school drug?
here comes the drug song analogy. Slinky redfoot, and the angel girls
be his friends doing an intervention. whacking that almighty God.
That Clavinet solo followed by the guitar, reminds me of Home at last.
Slang of ages. I must admit I sort of cringe when I think of Walt on lead vocals. I wanna hide when I hear Book of liars. However theres a place for walt as a spoken word poet. Also he is a helluva Bass player.I have often times heard D& W talk about their jazz influences. I bet sometime they wish they could go back in time a groove with all of their idols. Green Book. Damn Don's voice sounds as good as ever. This is one of those songs that showcases the smooth structure of Fagen and Becker. Try driving on a warm summer night with this disk playing. This is what good music is all about. In a world of American Idols, pop sensations, and sampling, its good to see 2 old pros doing it the old fashioned way.
Pixieleen. Older guy caught up in a silly teenage world. But damn, dont those old dudes go thru a lot of unnecessary foolishness dealing with these over developed young girls. Everything has its price. Once again Walts bassline is off the hook.
Lunch with Gina. N0BODY tells a story in a song like Steely Dan! I peel out like the flash! LMAO. This stalking woman is so persistant, in the end he seems to say forget it I might as well just accept her. Sadly enough its almost like battered womens syndrome. Cant you see Don running from another one of his Negative girls. It started on the day I met her! Anyone who ever met someone through a dating service is feeling his pain Lmao. The waiter never comes, maybe later maybe never, Stalker Hell people.
Everything Must Go. In light of the folding of all of the Large Corporations, as of late, I love the way that they remain arrogant till the end. Becker and Fagen love to poke fun at these holier than thou types. You know that those high powered clowns, left with all types of perks and golden parachutes. I think Red Blazer from Janie Runaway was in the service elevator with an unnamed secretary and Dave from aquisitions. Service was apt word in that elevator. Becker and Fagen are the sultans of Sarcasm.
Well thats my 2 cents.(more like 200 cents)
Rajah of Erase (Blue Book, 6/25/03): [Commenting on a review of EMG by Glenn Kenny in Village Voice, 6/25-7/1/03] ...He writes something I wish I had, "Both teams are masters of the sort of songwriting irony many of us used to enjoy before irony got confused with sarcasm and was subsequently pronounced decadent if not dead." he'so right, huge numbers of folks just don't get irony, it's too subtle (when done well) most times for their tiny receptors, it's off their scales and reads to them, if at all, as sarcasm which I always felt was a comment intended to hurt someone. Most times, when we fight with people the interplay devolves, unfortunately, into sarcasm. That's when we've ceased to argue facts and feelings and just start trying to hurt the other person. Our boys' lyrical landscape tells abstract stories peppered with comments by various narrators and active characters who say and do things that reveal to us their inconsistencies, their fears, their weak-mindedness, the dreary architecture of their souls, to borrow a phrase. And it makes you think, man, I don't wanna be a schmuck like, oh, the guy in Things I Miss the Most, Cousin Dupree, EMG, What a Shame About Me, on and on back through the catalogue of Dan. That's irony in there.
Lance (Digest, 6/25/03): As WB says on the Confessions DVD, EMG is about "renewal" and getting rid of the old. This is a lot different from the standard "this too shall pass" concept (which is more passive) and it beautifully captures so much about the current condition of things in America. I'd love to be a research analyst at the EMG Foundation. :) This is a well-timed concept (a zeitgeist if you will) that is much needed in these troubled times. I love the commercial metaphor of "pushing inventory" as a means of thinking about renewal. Personally I'd like to see a lot of things "go" but I guess if I follow the logic through, my agenda should rightfully go too -- something I'd be perfectly willing to give up if the EMG Contract for America were passed into law. :) Thanks, guys, for an inventive idea that gives us an alternative to "fearful reaction".\
Random musings on some of the words on Everything Must Go.
Throb - In Pixeleen her pager starts to throb. Not vibrate, as one would expect, but throb. Like a headache, or something else....?
Frankly - In EMG the narrator says frankly I could use a little face time. It reminds me of that line in Gone With the Wind, Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. It is also a feeling that (not only) I get about the album, as a whole. Donald and Walter definitely laying it all out there.
The Sex - (Mentioned in other posts, but worth noting again) They are much more open and up front with some of their comments. Let it all hang out, seems to be their theme, this time and frankly ;-) I like it.
Girlie Magazine - First time I remember them mentioning this. Still think it might be that nod to Mr. Heff.
Big Dog - I don't know how far their reach is, but Big Dog is a company that sells shirts and such. They are based in Santa Barbara. Another Dean and Deluca, it looks like.
Almighty Ass - Tempting the deity with a curse word? Ooooh
Rajah of Erase (Blue Book, 6/26/03): I think the use of all the overwarmed and passe slang in the mouths of the narrators and active charcters these last two albums is hilarious. Especially in the mouths of - how shall we put it - older, mature, might as well say it, middle-aged people. Just keeping it real, or whatever. They were NOT this funny in the 70s. Donald voice delivers just the right comic touch. They both love to pretend to be these schlomos, losers, miscreants. It's also their schtik on almost every interview and probably even when they're just hangin' out. You know how sometimes friends develop this lexicon or even play on alter-egos? It's an adolescent thing and some of us carry it on through to our adult years. That's if we're lucky, most of the time we just become deadly serious and boring and just not any fun at all.
John Galt (Blue
The title track is the best track on the album, IMO.
That being said, D and W are narrators of what they see around them and then they throw in a little fiction/sci-fi and voila...you have an interesting story complemented with delightful music.
There might be hidden meanings but why rack your brains to try to delve deep into their psyche to figure it out.
Take the meaning you get out of it and run with it.
i.e Cuervo Gold and the Fine Columbian = getting fucked up.
Hutch (GB, 6/28/03): Thinking recently about the way Donald pronounces words. Not only "roll your caht right up the aisle" but things like "a-dah-rable ghost" in TIMTM. Mike McDonald mentioned in Making of Aja how particular they are about saying words a certain way. It's all part of creating an aural landscape that we just love to explore. I remember a thread in here a couple of years ago about the idea of "vocalist as actor". Does the vocalist become an actor in the sense that he assumes the persona of the narrator? Seems to me the answer is yes and Mr. Fagen does quite a good job of it in my opinion. Sometimes it's just the way one word is said.
the sequencing of the tunes is very engaging
do I sense a loosely fit common thread - then again these numbers stand well on their own
the world is going to hell in a hand basket and meanwhile there is
1)tlm - non-chalance 2)timim - remorse and longing 3)bb - escape 4)gw -self inflicted vengence 5)soa - diversions (drug induced or otherwise) 6)-8) cyber reality ((6)gb - virtual physical 7)p - gamecube fem fatale 8)lwg - match.com run amuck) 9)emg - corporate implosion
TLM: Shopping before the dropping
TIMTM: Kennedy family in Fallout Shelter
BB: On the Dunes Post-Apocalypse
GW: Wascally Wabbit
SoA: rap flap
GB: Inflatables with OverByte
Pix: The digital Pee Wee Herman
LWG: answer to Gollum's riddle
EMG: Perks I'll miss the most
Twenty-three years of maturity:
Gaucho: Man approaching mid-life crisis
Everything Must Go: Man approaching post-life crisis.
Johnny Jumbo (Blue Book,
else noticed the dark
joke, of EVERYTHING MUST GO being the cynical, material-world
underbelly of George Harrison's ALL THINGS MUST PASS yet?? How muffed
Spirituality has become a bargain-basement clearance war at Mall-Mart?
How "My Sweet Lord" became "Godwhacker," "Apple Scruggs" is now
"Pixeleen," "I Dig Love" morphed into "Green Room," etc.?? (Just
"The Last Mall"