is easily the best of the post-Steely Dan releases, and contains Fagen's best work since Katy Lied
, if not Pretzel Logic
The album is nothing less than an attempt to capture the life of an average honors student, an upper-middle class teen from the Northeastern suburbs during the Kennedy administration. And Fagen succeeds admirably, and - as the obscure referents and tangled wordplay of Steely Dan had grown tired by this time - Fagen opts for a refreshingly direct and clear approach to his lyrics - it's easy to understand what he's singing about, even on a cursory listen.
The music itself has become increasingly jazzy and be-boppy, less tied to the tradition of rock, more like the type of thing you'd likely hear if you stepped in to catch the Rat Pack, especially on the "Walk Through the Raindrops", which I'd swear was some Ol' Blue Eyes standard - but is in fact a Fagen original.
He also slyly looks back at Nuclear Age optimism in "I.G.Y." (International Geophysical Year), while stocking the fallout shelter with beer and Brubeck in "New Frontier". He dreams of studying design overseas and of "Maxine", covers Lieber/Stoller's "Ruby Baby", and tunes in to the late night DJ on WJAZ.
Warmth definitely edges out cynicism in Fagen's reminiscing, but he never succumbs to sappy nostalgia. Break out the bongos and slap on your beret hip cats - this baby's gone, real gone!Rated:
by Reviewer: Creative Noise
Posted: Monday 25th Sep 2017 9:35 AM
is a scarier album than the debut. More moody too. And the album's dark mood makes it a more difficult listen than the first album, so it took me three listens before I could start to appreciate it.
It also sounds a dated. I mean, "Horse Latitudes"? I know it's kinda cool and maybe even horrifying on a stupid night, but really, it sounds so amateurish. I don't know much about poetry, but unless Morrison's writing about sex his lyrics always sound kinda dumb to me. Still, there are four tracks here which are guaranteed to get onto any Doors hits package ...
Even though I just dumped on Morrison's poetry in the last paragraph, I'd say the lyrics to "People Are Strange" are very cool; "Strange Days" is slow and scary but not boring, with a strong melody and moody arrangement; "Love Me Two Times" has a blues feel with a cool guitar riff and a harsh harpsichord line. Lastly, there's the epic "When The Music's Over" - the highlight of the album and possibly the band's career - where Morrison once again spits out ridiculous lyrics over a cool organ riff, while Densmore's drumming in the middle section is the best he ever came up with.
The rest of the songs each have their own appeal, and every fan has one or two that they consider a classic. Personally, I have a place in my heart for "Moonlight Drive", especially the final verse, where the lyrics totally change from happy love song to bitter deathwish. Boy, was Jim Morrison retarded!Rated:
by Reviewer: Marco Marco
Posted: Monday 25th Sep 2017 1:04 PM