This is the sound of a suburban dad in socks and sandals
Pretzel Logic is the third studio album by American rock band Steely Dan, released on February 20, 1974, by ABC Records. It was written by principal band members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, and recorded at The Village Recorder in West Los Angeles with producer Gary Katz. It was the final album to feature the full quintet lineup of Becker, Fagen, Denny Dias, Jim Hodder, and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (who left to join The Doobie Brothers) and also featured significant contributions from many prominent Los Angeles-based studio musicians and the last to be made and released while Steely Dan was still an active touring band. The album was a commercial and critical success. Its hit single "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" helped restore Steely Dan's radio presence after the disappointing performance of their 1973 album Countdown to Ecstasy. Pretzel Logic was reissued on CD in 1987 and remastered in 1999 to retrospective critical acclaim.
This is the sound of a suburban dad in socks and sandals
There is no way for me to hold back when talking about Steely Dan. To me, each album they released seems to inch higher into rarefied air ('Aja' is the apex for me). This is their third album and, for the most part, their final one revolving around their original quintet, but we can hear their evolving style and approach with the extra musicians they brought in. This album stands superbly on its own and points to the refined excellence that would follow from Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. I have friends whose musical aesthetic and knowledge I admire greatly who do not like this band. I understand that to some listeners the music is too much like "smooth jazz" and "elevator music," and that they lyrics can range from inside-jokey to enigmatic to obtuse and impenetrable. That's not how I hear or experience this band, their work, or this album. I think their dark humor and irony, not just in the lyrics but also very much in their music, too, doesn't come through for everyone. I've loved their music for a long time, but now as a music student I hear them in a new light and I am absolutely gobsmacked by their writing, their arranging, their playing -- not just the all-star musicians they brought into the studio, but Becker (a wildly underrated guitarist) and Fagen (amazing on the keys and I genuinley love his voice; just perfect for their music) -- and the mind-blowing level of engineering prowess. Their notorious perfectionism and absurd attention to every detail pays off. Their writing is outstanding. I like the detached irony of their lyrics and as a lover of jazz I really dig their ability to weave jazz elements into pop and rock songs without letting it get to cluttered or disjointed. I honestly don't know how they do it. I love jazz, I love rock, but generally I do not like fusion. These guys avoided whatever it is about fusion that doesn't click with me, and that's mighty impressive. I do not mean to suggest that their approach should be a universal standard; not at all. Some of my all-time favorite music was recorded hastily with lots of "mistakes" and imperfections that are essential to the whole experience. This album has some incredible tracks on it, and incredible moments within the tracks. One example of many: I am crazy about Walter Becker's guitar solo in 'Pretzel Logic.' And I love his wah-infused lead guitar on their cover of Duke Ellington's 'East St. Louis Toodle-Oo.' Love the album cover, by the way. Final note for fellow Steely Dan fans: I am nearly finished reading "Major Dudes: A Steely Dan Companion," a collection of decades of interviews, reviews, and other writings on them and their music. The appear chronologically in the book and it's a fascinating journey. I highly recommend it.
"Rikki Don't Lose That Number" is a masterpiece. Borrowing the baseline from Horace Silver's "Song For My Father" will do that for a song. Future Eagle Timothy B. Schmitt provides backup vocals on "Rikki" along with 2 other songs here. Quick aside: If you wanted a hit song sometime between 1974 and 1983, your best course of action would be to try and get Schmitt to provide harmony. And those 3 tracks alone are worth a 5 rating. My favorite Steely Dan album will always be "Can't Buy A Thrill" for many reasons. But this might be their best album. It's such a flawless infusion of jazz with pop hooks. And Fagan's voice fits this blend like a glove. This deserves a spot in the upper echelon of the list. But what do I know? I just read the Daily News and swear by every word!
Hell yeah, such a great album. I’ve listened to some of Steely Dans songs before (always loving them) but never got around to listening to one of his albums. Well I just finished this and it was just as good as I was hoping for. One of my favorite songs from the album has gotta be Barrytown. On top of the really cool lyrics (Growing up in Salt Lake City, I can assume what the song is about) it has such a catchy composition and style. I really love this album, definitely one I’ll listen to again soon. I’ll give it a 9/10. My only complaint is that after listening to the whole album, I feel like I heard a little too much Steely Dan in a row. As much as I love his music, it can feel repetitive listening to a whole album of just that. But still, the album is fairly diverse giving you something fresh with each track. Great album, I’ll be listening to more Steely Dan in the future.
We just had a couple of electronica albums (Kraftwerk and Orbital) that were a bit out there so seeing Steely Dan come up as a random pick was a relief. Everything they do is sheer gold. Funny thing is I didn't truly appreciate them until I watched the "Yacht Rock" series on Channel 101 (go look it up on YouTube if you haven't seen it - hysterical). Donald Fagen and Walter Becker are outstanding songwriters and musicians. High points for me are Rikki Don't Lose That Number (a classic for a reason), Night by Night (great groove), and Pretzel Logic (one of my favorites -- great groove plus fantastic vocals). Any Major Dude Will Tell You is very 70s (I guess much of their music is), but still great. Heck, even East St. Louis Toodle-Oo, which is basically ragtime, benefits from that unique Steely Dan sound - love the talk box guitar. Easy decision for me - definite 5.
This is a sweet album from the classic 70s rock icons. I appreciate the sentiments, harmonies, and variety of tones. I lean towards artists like CSNY, but I respect the jazzy undertones and rhythms that SD brings to the table. Overall, this album isn't my thing, but With A Gun is a diamond in the rough.
Although Steely Dan is famous for having great technical skills, there's very little to complain about songwriting wise other than that I could imagine it being a little more powerful. But I can't pinpoint how. It's good music. 9/10
The fourth Steely Dan album so far. I rated the others 4, 4, 5. I do really like the band. But I'm really not convinced they're all that monumental/influential to justify 4+ albums on this list. But hey, more Steely Dan means fewer albums by the likes of Devo, Bob Marley, Wu-Tang Clan. etc. *shudder*. What I really like about Steely Dan is that they play really solid hard rock but then expertly infuse it with all sorts of different styles. This album seems to be especially varied with a lot of jazz, but also soul, swamp rock, outlaw country, prog rock and even classical. The only song I didn't like was the opener, which is the popular radio hit of this album, but is honestly just really boring. Luckily, the rest of the album is great enough to forgive them one radio-friendly pop rock track.
What I needed on a cold dreary Monday morning on the way to work. I've loved this album for many years and love reading the 'One Star' reviews. I guess that's what comes of hating the 70's.
The only Steely Dan album I'd heard in full before this was "Can't Buy a Thrill", and their progression from it here was pronounced (for better and worse). Steely Dan seemed to have developed in many ways by "Pretzel Logic": the compositions are more complex, the jazz-influence is more noticeable, and a broader range of genres creeps in around the edges. Straight away with "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", we hear a hit single with more sophisticated instrumentation, extended chords-a-plenty, and unpredictable modulations. The harmonies are wonderful across the record, and as good a reason as any to come back to it. But for me, it's the simpler stuff that shines the brightest. Sitting in between all the jazz and blues influenced material, the poppy and Beatlesesque "Barrytown" played straight into my hand (even if there were strong echoes of "Tell Me What You See" from "Help"). "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo"'s unexpected diversion into ragtime-style jazz was another highlight, where the eclecticism and playfulness of the record was really shining. "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" has a lovely melody in the verse, calling to mind some early Neil Young, and I had a lot of fun with "Parker's Band". The rest of the record is a little slight. Sometimes jazz-rock switches me off a bit, and this album proved no exception. I didn't pick up on any emotion or humour to much of the album: it's quite a dry, academic exercise in technique and genre. "Pretzel Logic" is a trudging take on the blues, "Charlie Freak" lacks any musical impact to match the storytelling, and "Night by Night" and "Monkey in Your Soul" are technically accomplished but just don't groove. Becker and Fagen's aim to fit everything within a three minute pop-song format suggests that they weren't giving up on commercial appeal, but it all feels a bit laboured. Intentionally or not, they don't capture the breezy melodic sensibilities of their earlier work. Overall it's an uneven listen and not my favourite I've heard from the band, but the technical accomplishment and the record's upbeat, direct mid-section is enough fun to draw me back in for more.
Very "dad rock" band. Lotsa songs sound the same, but that could just be the album. I felt I knew all of these songs but couldn't remember lyrics, strange.
One of my favourite things on the internet is a photo of a dog inside someone’s car, and there’s a sign in the window that says “Please don’t break the window. The A/C is on. He has water and is listening to…” and someone photoshopped it to say “Steely Dan.” I don’t know why, but the concept of a dog liking Steely Dan always gives me a chuckle, even though I’ve never listened to Steely Dan before today. I was excited to get this and finally give see if that dog was onto something. For me, it never rose past generic dad rock. I’m sure it sounded generic because of everything that has come since, but it just wasn’t special enough for me to want to listen to again.
Pretzel Logic: love the brevity, only 34 minutes! I think the recording/production sounded great (isn’t that their reputation?) and the mastering of that rip is ace. Not a huge fan of the music which is definitely my bias against this kind of 70’s “soft rock” (for lack of a better term). Obviously, I’ve heard “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” but other than that this was totally new to me. Which means I don’t really have much context for their music, aside from their “hits.” Overall, I think the back half of the album is stronger and I was digging the last 3 tracks, “With a Gun,” “Charlie Freak” and “Monkey in Your Soul.” Probably wouldn’t rate it that high but I know I’m in the minority with this band...
This jazz-pop-rock album has so many different melodies & instruments that there is something in it for every listener. Everything flows well together which gives the album a "complete" sound. The lyrics in every song are well thought out and easy to follow/sing along with. Overall, there's a lot of good things about this album and very little downsides. Some would say it's basically flawless, however this type of music doesn't influence me enough to rate it 5 stars.
Rikki Don't Lose That Number is a great tune. The album was ok, a fairly lively listen, but nothing to gripping
Ah, bland and uninteresting, just how I remember Steely Dan. Solid instrumentals though.
I can't really justify my anti-SD sentiments but I find their songs lacking in something... Music, lyrics, vocals all lack substance or true *feeling*. They leave me cold and bored. 2 stars as I quite liked the opening track and the piano in the Toodle-oo song Also, Ooh La La by the Faces autoplayed after the album finished and I momentarily got excited that there was another SD song I liked :(
Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan - I LOVE Any Major Dude Will Tell You. Favorite song by far - East St. Louis Toodle-Oo made me feel like I was at a fair in the 1800s
I really hope Rikki doesn’t lose that number. Funky rhythm guitar, cool horn section. Makes me interested in the band again.
their 3 best album
Rikki Don't Lose That Number hatte ich letztens zufällig ohne Konzentration gehört und nicht weiter verfolgt, jetzt flasht der Song mich so, dass ich ihn noch mal hören musste. Amtlich. Steely Dan also. Nie mit beschäftigt, kannte nur „Rikki“. Von Fagan war mir sonst nur noch „Snowbound“ bekannt und in Erinnerung geblieben (de facto irgendwie auch Steely Dan). 4 Songs gehört, Zeit für ein Fazit: die Platte ist mir bislang Ü-BER-HAUPT nicht auf den Sack gegangen, was ist da los? Fast durch: wie geil ist das denn! Die erste unbekannte Platte dieser Liste, die ich sofort noch mal hören will (edit: und heute noch ungezählte Male durchgehört habe), hier wurde überfälligerweise eine Bildungslücke geschlossen. Daher: Fünf Sterne, keine Diskussion! Über-Platte.
I mean cmon, this album is basically a 10/10. It comes close to Aja for me but doesn’t quite surpass it. Jazz rock perfection. Favorite song: Rikki Don’t Lose That Number Least favorite song: None
A fundamental must-listen for anyone who wants to have an understanding of the development of music since the 1960s. Old in temperament, new in style and substance. Even in 2023 it is a masterpiece Picks: Rikki Don't Lose that Number, Night By Night.
This album was an amazing suggestion from this project. I absolutely loved almost every song, even not knowing anything about the band before.
Pretty good album with some catchy songs
Nice to listen to. Enjoyed
Rock californiano setentero, totalmente virtuoso y multiinstrumentado, con guitarreos gigantes, pianos y cuerdas. Arreglos jazz y funkies. Supervoces. Genial, muy bueno.
Ahh - I thought this was going to be really weird but I recognize this song.
1970s folk rock, me like!
Banger after banger
What a coincidence. I was playing Steely Dan to Sam last week - I chose Aja. This is great and I played it on rotation all day and the rest of the weekend. Fantastic production, these guys were perfectionists. Not unusual for them to change the whole band (they use session musicians, the 'band' was really just Donald Fagen and Walter Becker) from track to track. Songs from the seamy side hidden behind jaunty tunes. Brilliant.
Surprised to see that so few of his songs are 'hits' given how famous he seems to be in my eyes.
Очень интересный альбом после Боуи. Вновь 70-е, разнообразие инструментов и гармоний. Звучит очень бодро и интересно. Тексты мне показались такими современными. Некоторые звуки прямо ах. Я слушала сейчас с самого утра, и это прекрасный саундтрек бодрости и хорошего настроения!
Excellent as I remember
Night by Night and Charlie Freak are out of this world
Funky 80s album, was pretty good!
Steely Dan.. what can I say. I thought I didn't know any of their songs until I started listening to their albums...I realized I knew the majority.
Finally, an album I own! Steely Dan released some pretty fantastic albums in the 70's and all of them are worth seeking out! At least two of their records, Can't Buy A Thrill and Pretzel Logic I would consider "must hear" and the greatest hits album will fill in the rest. When I was in school when they were at the height of their career, I didn't understand the appeal, but I'm older and wiser now and to me their music exemplifies the best of the mid-70's. Highly recommended!
It may be my least favorite of the golden age Dan albums, but it’s still a 10 for me every time I listen to it.
9/10. Far from my favorite Steely Dan album, but one that I have grown to appreciate nonetheless. I'm still not the biggest fan of Rikki, but songs like Any Major Dude and Charlie Freak have really grown on me over time, as has the sound of the album as a whole, and while there are individual tracks that I don't love, they don't overstay their welcome either. I still resent that this was included at the expense of other Dan albums, but I may yet bump it to a 10/10 if the mood strikes me.
PRETZEL LOGIC is a great Steely Dan album! I hadn’t heard it before but I’m very glad I have now. I love “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” Deservedly the most well-known song on the album. But I actually like “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” better - it’s my favorite song on here. I love the whole tone of this album, with things like a fun, jazzy instrumental (“East St. Louis Toodle-Oo”) that show Steely Dan’s great talent without taking themselves too seriously. Other favorites include the groovy “Parker’s Band” and “With A Gun” and its country sounds. I have it in my head that Steely Dan albums are hard to listen to. I’m not sure why I think that. Perhaps that thought came from listening to some forgotten album of theirs in my past. That certainly isn’t the case with this album. Very enjoyable!
Maybe it's because I heard Steely Dan a lot as a kid, but there's something about this album that seems very grown-up to me, like something a friend's cool (but not too cool) parents might listen to. I was surprised to learn that Walter Becker and Donald Fagan were in their mid-20s when this was released. They sound older than I will ever feel. AND I love it! It's not at all gloomy but they seem like they take the music seriously. There's interesting percussion and great guitar throughout. Rikki Don't Lose that Number is a terrific pop song. Pretzel Logic has a groove (but I'm scratching my head at the lyrics about minstrel shows). OK, maybe I lied a little --- Charlie Freak's lyrics are pretty gloomy but the dark lyrics are juxtaposed with a rollicking Linus-and-Lucy-like piano and some jingle bells. And I love the bass and sax in Monkey in Your Soul. At a short and sweet 34 minutes, songs are varied and interesting and I didn't feel like there was too much filler. It zipped along.
I know of Steely Dan, but the only album that I have ever listened to of theirs is a greatest hits compilation. I actually didn't think that I really was that big of a fan, but I really enjoyed this album.
Ja det här var minsann trevligt. mycket bättre än mitt minne av steely dan
Suprisingly chill album that was the perfect fitting for a rainy afternoon.
Gostei bastante, tem uns instrumentais bem interessantes.
Steely Dan has become a favorite
Now this was a great album, wasn't expecting that from whatever the album cover is. I've never heard of Steely Dan, which is kind of strange to me from how big they seem. I think I'm a fan now. Some huge bangers - "Rikki Don't Lose that Number", "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" (I love those wah-wahs), "With a Gun", "Charlie Freak". Doesn't overstay its welcome and ends on a good song streak - the last three songs slap back-to-back.
So this is a classy album from a classy band, although I have to admit that I didn't get into Steely Dan until I heard The Royal Scam. Messrs Fagen & Becker are consummate Muso's and this is a Muso's delight. I love "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Pretzel Logic" from this little masterpiece.
This album is damn near perfect. It has tight vocal harmonies, amazing musicianship, and is a masterclass in melody. Stylistically, this album covers everything from bossa nova, to jazz, and pop. Similarly, the arrangement is top notch and the album is very produced.
Loved it, good music for chilling
oh man and the hits keep coming! I am such a sucker for this Steely Dan sound. Barrytown, Night By Night are great first side sleepers and the East St. Louis Toodle-OO is a really fun jazz cover. Parkers Band and Charlie Freak are both bouncing jazz fueled pop sendups. Its just such a short stinger of an album.
Love this early Steely Dan record. A little less jazzy than later albums but a lot of great songs.
The last Steely Dan “band” album. Perhaps that accounts for the balance between studio wizardry and live chops. Still working on their special blend of rock, blues and jazz, the songs were tighter and more focused than before, yet still had the ambiguous lyrics that had many college students up guessing. This could be the best release (Aja is in the running) from one of my favorite bands.
I liked this a lot. I had only ever heard the first song on this album before. I didn’t really care for the instrumental song but liked everything else. Pretzel logic has a great solo
5, so catchy
Great album. Some absolute classic songs that I love to hear
Steely Dan is always in
Really lit and awesome. 9.5/10 to me ears
Have you ever seen a squonks tears?
Had not listened to it before. Had listened to individual songs, but not the album in any sort of cohesive manor. Overall enjoyed the album, some songs were forgettable while other songs I found myself dancing along with lyrics I had never heard before 5/5 Will listen again
Having listened to this a lot while growing up, I started having an aversion to Steely Dan - something gave me the creeps about their music when I heard it. While this is a psychological problem for later times, I realize in relistening that they were an extremely musically diverse band. They are definitely in the realm of jazz, and would be considered a sort of pop jazz today. Not sure what they were considered back then. Good use of piano, some auxiliary percussion ... a lot of nice components to their music.
Fantastic. Rikki is good and East St Louis toodle-op is 👌
Jazz lite rock
Steely Dan just never fails to entertain. Great harmonies, great musicians, big variety of song styles and a great production. Top! 👍🏻
Not surprisingly liked this one. Enjoyed pretty much all the songs.
Love steely Dan
Rikki Dont loose that number
I was excited to listen because I knew their hits but had never listened to a full album of theirs. This album was great. One thing that stuck out to me was how immaculate the production was. Everything sounds so crisp and clean and every note sounded intentional. I only listened to the album one time through but I am planning to listen again on a 1001 free weekend.
Definindo em uma palavra, seria "Contagiante". A cada música sinto vontade de dançar enquadra vejo o pôr do sol.
4.6 - Of the four Steely Dan records, I've reviewed this one is definitely my favorite. Unlike "Aja" this one feels loose and less clinical though the arrangements are still incredibly tight. And unlike "Can't Buy A Thrill", these songs haven't been overplayed on classic rock radio. I especially love the duelling saxophones at the end of "Parker's Band" and the cool instrumental "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo." In 34 minutes, these 11 songs provide a bouncy, funky, perfectly packaged listen.
"Pretzel Logic" is the third studio album by Steely Dan. It was written by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker and besides those two would be the last album to feature members Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (guitars), Denny Dias (guitar) and Jim Hodder (drums but he didn't play much on this album). It was recorded in LA and there were a lot of other guest studio musicians. It was also the last album the band would tour. The music itself had shorter songs than their previous albums. The one thing that is a strength of this album is the wide variety of styles they play: pop, jazz, blues, that California laid- back rock and even country. The lyrics and story telling is also a strength. Their biggest hit and first single "Rikki Don't Lose that Number" opens with that piano line. The songs goes from pop to blues to jazz. Jim Gordon's drums are great. It is actually about Becker's crush on the pregnant wife of one of his professors. This song along with "Band on the Run" is probably the first songs I can remember when they came out. "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" has a groovy piano, jazzy guitar and a California sound. Plus, it might be only song to mention the mythical creature the squonk. The singer is consoling one of his friends who is going through tough times. "Parker's Band" begins the second side and is about going and listening to Charlie Parker. Is it also about doing drugs (heroin)??? Jazzy guitar. Charlie Parker-influenced riffs. "Pretzel Logic" was the other album single and is more bluesy rock with some funk. Great pedal guitar. Time travel is mentioned a lot. Also, the bands' distate for touring. I didn't know Steel Dan had country in them but they did here and it's one of their best songs on the album in "With a Gun." Country slide guitar. One of the best stories about a founder of a clinic which he steals from, murders someone and is on the run. Another hidden highlight is "Charlie Freak" with its intricate piano and droning guitar giving an eerie feel. And it should given the song tells the story of a drug-addict who sells his last possession, a gold ring, to buy what would be his last fix. I enjoyed this album again; it had been awhile since I listened to it. I don't know if I could ever really rank Steely Dan albums but this one would be near the top. The variety of styles is quite impressive.
I really enjoyed this album. I think the album is strong throughout the whole album. A couple of dips here and there, but this album is a bop and cements me as a Steely Dan fan. Favorite song: Rikki Don't Lose That Number Worst song: Charlie Freak
Amazing, would listen again
This is one of my favorite Steely Dan albums. It's such a smooth listen, front to back. Laid back and refined all at once, with a rich, warm sound. This is probably one of the Dan's most accessible and perfectly realized works as well. No flaws, really. Lyrically, I like the combo of Donald Fagen's detached, incisive writing with some surprise moments of empathy and feeling. It's uncharacteristic for Fagen, and not something I look for in his songwriting, but I kind of dug it today. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): Pretzel Logic, Night by Night, Any Major Dude Will Tell You, Rikki Don't Lose That Number, Charlie Freak, Barrytown, East St. Louis Toodle-Oo, Through with Buzz, Parker's Band, Monkey in Your Soul, With a Gun
Musical masters, these blokes. SO MANY wicked twists n turns in their chord progressions, tastier note choices than anyone. Fuck yes.
A great road trip album.
Super Album, J'adore steely dan c'est une découverte de cette iste pour tout leur album. J'ai autant qu eCountdown to ecstasy. 4.95
Steely Dan transitioning into their studio perfectionist mode. I could probably do without "East St Louis Toodle-Oo" but I'll forgive them that indulgence for the smooth brilliance of the rest of the album.
All the hits. A nice time capsule of what by 6th grade teacher was into.
A classic, loved every track
I love Steely Dan, but I'm less familiar with this particular album (of course I am very familiar with Ricki, Don't Lose That Number), so it was a delight to listen to this one a few times through. Apparently this was their last album made as a "touring" band - after this they became entirely "studio musicians." You can hear them edging towards that aesthetic here. Their songwriting, musicianship, and arrangement is just top-notch. I love the way they incorporate jazzy riffs with pop in such a precise but also fun way. These guys were just so. freaking. good. 5/5
What a wonderful surprise! I loved all the songs, I'm already saving the album to listen to later, more calmly.
Perfect Steely Dan album, but aren't they all?
Aw yeah, here we go!
Pretzel Logic was one of the first records I owned on vinyl - so this is easily the Steely Dan album I’m most familiar with. I won’t try to even begin analyzing Becker and Fagen’s obscene lyrical universe but I’m always intrigued by the vague hints of obscure meaning in the songwriting. Steely Dan might come across as just a 70’s pop rock band but the jazzy complexity of the songs, air tight instrumentation and warm production makes the duo anything but ordinary. If this is dad rock then I’m ready to settle down with a wife and a couple of kids.
Steely Dan is in my top five. Perfect.
Outstanding writing. So much generational talent in this band. Their melodies don't really grab me for the most part, but the instrumentation is top notch.
Actually pretty good 👍