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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Countdown To Ecstasy

Steely Dan

1973

Countdown To Ecstasy

Album Summary

Countdown to Ecstasy is the second studio album by the American rock band Steely Dan, released in July 1973 by ABC Records. It was recorded at Caribou Ranch in Nederland, Colorado, and at The Village Recorder in West Los Angeles, California. After the departure of vocalist David Palmer, the group recorded the album with Donald Fagen singing lead on every song.Although it was a critical success, the album failed to generate a hit single, and consequently charted at only number 35 on the Billboard 200. It was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1978, having shipped 500,000 copies in the United States. Well-received upon its release, Countdown to Ecstasy received perfect scores from music critics in retrospective reviews.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.26

Votes

4740

Genres

  • Rock
Reviews
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4

It's a quick shot, barely ten seconds. "I'm a fool-to-dooo your-dir-ty work, oh yeaaaaah! I don't want-to-dooo your dirty-work, no mo-o-ore." It's nighttime, the radio plays an old Steely Dan hit, and Tony Soprano is singing at the wheel as he drives somewhere. The endearing yet sociopathic mob boss has the same bored, weary eyes as ever, but that scene is probably the closest thing in the whole series to a moment showing him having the time of his life. Tony knows them oldies-but-goldies standards. And he knows it's always deeply pleasurable to sing along to one of those as they pop up between Journey and Cream on the car's radio. The thing is, would Tony Soprano enjoy *Countdown To Ecstasy* in the exact same way he enjoyed the early hits from Steely Dan's debut, *Can't Buy A Thrill*? Probably not. Very much a transitional effort leading the L.A. band towards the more refined soft-rock soundscapes for which they'll later be known for, *Countdown To Ecstasy* is maybe too sophisticated and left-field for Tony's more immediate, impulsive, 'it's-either-hit-or-miss', tastes. Not that Steely Dan would have cared, at least at the time. Having dumped co-singer/songwriter David Palmer (of "Dirty Work" fame) for this second album, now penning cryptic lyrics with a somewhat dystopian flavor (in keeping with the William Burroughs influence on their band's name), and electing for an ethereal cover that would nicely fit in Brian Eno's discography, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker took very much of a gamble here, even if the years that have passed since 1973 might have erased the extent in which those risks were actually *that* bold. First listens today indeed suggest Steely Dan was mostly a band perfectly content to rely on their earlier charts success and technical prowess to write and perform quite innocuous songs ranging from old rock'n'roll, country and rhythm and blues. Admittedly, they did spice things up by adding a fashionable form of prog-rock once in a while. If only said prog-rock didn't sound so irremediably tame compared to the Floyd or Can, this could have well turned up as a lengendary endeavor. Not in here, though, unfortunately. Such harsh preliminary assessment might not be the full picture, however. As subsequent spins soon reveal, this missed opportunity might actually be a blessing in disguise for amateurs of truly *original* sounds. And playing a huge part in this overall originality, you have the jazz inflexions throughout the album, either in the instrumentation (those vibes in "Razor Boy") or the chord changes, bringing a welcome uneasiness and chiaruscoro ambiguity to the whole shebang, very much in line with the dystopian atmoshere already evoked earlier. Opener "Bodhisattva" is a very striking example of such artful sprinklings. Starting as an old R'n'R standard not sounding too fresh or daring these days, with a vocal hook even bordering on parody or muzak, the track's five minutes still fly by, thanks to those unexpected chord changes, along with slyly imaginative bridges and a synth part whose glossy crispness does a great job as it finally circles around you like a flock of pixellated sparrows, forcing you to let your guard down in front of their aerial spectacle. If this is elevator music (make no mistake, it very much *is*), this might be the sort of elevator music you can hear in Stephen King's "dark tower", granted such tower has an elevator in the first place (can't recall, does it?). The irony that you felt under the surface at the start of the song ends up screaming at you toward its end, and quickly, you begin to reconsider how performative the track really is. Is this stuff *cheesy* music? Or is it a *semblance* of cheesy music, with a more sophisticated agenda behind it, even more shrewd and cunning given that Steely Dan have more or less managed to hide their true game until the very last minute? Retrospectively, it seems that Fagen and Becker have always aimed at straddling that fine line, being the sly, witty bastards that they are. Fans sometimes see in Steely Dan things that non-fans are unable to imagine or even comprehend while listening to their music for the first time. Sometimes it just takes one weird, off-kilter note in a guitar or keyboard solo to change the picture, as in the hard-bop but otherwise predictable and standardized "Your Gold Teeth". Other times, you find yourself being entranced by the implacable grooves of the rhythm section, even though the rest of the instrumentation sounds a little too nice and dandy overall. Not to say 'bland'. You know this is imaginative writing here, no matter what. Too bad you can't *feel* it sometimes. As a consequence, one could easily argue that the prog-rock flavors in Steely Dan's music would have gained from being a little more pronounced than they actually were. Or that a true manifestation of genuine psychedelia during those very specific forays would have helped them faring better today, at least. But maybe it is unfair to compare apples and oranges, and expect from Fagen and Becker a program that was far too much in line with their contemporary day and age--it's a program the band visibly had no genuine interest in, for better or for worse. And ironically, Steely Dan's overall sound was nothing but ahead of the curve in 1973, foretelling the set of styles countless "mainstream" soft rock bands would embrace later on, from Eagles to Supertramp (not to mention other 'neat-sounding' acts even further down the line, during the eighties--Dire Straits, anyone?). Yet there is *another* layer of irony to point out, at least from our vantage point in the 21st century, and this one is far more cruel than the first. None of those groundbreaking aspects objectively present during the course of *Countdown To Ecstasy* are easily discernible today, after all that has transpired since. The music is good in this album, there's no arguing about that. But whether it is still *relevant* remains to be seen. A good chunk of the tracks are saving the record from complete stylistic oblivion though, first because Steely Dan's pop-leaning, post-modernist agenda actually does conceptual wonders from time to time. Or, on the contrary, because the band *also* knew how to drop that agenda in key points of the record so as to focus on the music first and foremost. The mock-country highlight "Pearl Of The Quarter" for instance, is a convincing exercise in style, with its evocative albeit over-the-top steel guitar. And "Show Biz Kids" is a somewhat linear, overlong jam that's probably a little too on-the-nose, but it's stiil part of that interesting postmodern group of songs, thanks to its wry lyrics about poverty (and the fact that "Steely Dan T-shirts" won't save you from it). If nothing else, such attempts are showing how smart and topically meaningful the band actually intended to be. And in the more straightforward tracks, you have rhythm 'n blues homages such as "My Old School", whose Motown-sounding backing vocals suffuse much needed life to the proceedings. But most of all, you have two stunners, not hits per se, but still the liveliest tracks of the whole program. As a centerpiece of the record, "The Boston Rag"' evokes a sense of nostalgia only belied by the animated performance that supports it. And closer "King Of The World" is an apt, skittering conclusion for the countdown uttered in the album's title, a promised "ecstasy" here tainted by heartbreaking descriptions of a post-nuclear America where said "kings of the world" are actually none but a scattered group of survivors slowly dying from radiation poisoning. From the barren realm of The Dark Towers, we've plunged right into the waste lands of The Stand, but the overall effect is the same. And yes, the shakespearian references do help set the appropriate, despondent mood, finally revealing that the titular countdown was nothing but a countdown to nuclear annihilation. I bet not a lot of listeners saw that one coming, whether today or at the time--even though the cover was an ominous sign of the disaster about to surge. *Gravity's Rainbow*'s Thomas Pynchon, would surely have appreciated such a nice touch here. Wasn't Pynchon's mammoth published in 1973 anyway? If a rock album cover could have been used for thsi novel, the one of *Countdown To Ecstasy* would have done a fine job paying homage to its grim-but-carnival-like contents, if not the music itself. To be honest, however, all the tragic post-apocalyptic memorabilia displayed by Fagen in that song is NOT the first reason why the latter should be singled out, along with "The Boston Rag". The real reason is simple, as simple as a back-to-basics New Jersey mob boss's playlist. And the reason is that those tracks are catchy and direct enough to allow you to sing along to them, in spite of the other jazzy flourishings out there. This does not lessen the other merits of "King Of The World", and yes indeed, the admirable guitar interlacing in its introduction is still very much in keeping with the other sophisticated arrangements thoughout the album. But here you have that extra cherry on the cake, and you can eat it too: a glorious, roaring, heartfelt, take-no-quarters chorus. Sometimes Tony Sopranos was right, at least when it came to music. It's not always necessary to split hairs if you want to have a good time. Life's too short for this, with or without a nuclear apocalypse looming on the horizon. [[Number of albums I listened to from the list: 3 Albums left to listen to: 998 Number of albums I've found genuinely relevant: 0 Number of different albums you should *probably* listen to before you die: 1 (so counting this one out, maybe) Number of different albums you should *definitely* listen to before you die: 2]

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3

Classic dad rock. Didn’t really stand out as much as I hoped.

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3

The album name is exceptionally appropriate as it never actually manages to reach a climax, just slowly builds to what one assumes is one. Maybe it's performance anxiety. I hear it's very common.

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2

Seriously underwhelming dad rock that fails to try something new

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5

Steely Dan is one of those sharp break artists for a lot of people, love it or hate it... I fall firmly on the love side, though I can see the objections of a superficiality... But to me that all-surface high gloss is what it's all about. Hardly needed to listen to this one, it's basically on repeat somewhere in the back of my head, along with Pretzel Logic and Can't Buy a Thrill - to me, jus gr about perfect.

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5

An album that lives up to the expectations of a band named after a steam-powered dildo in "Naked Lunch." In some moments, they are taking something seriously enough only to cut it apart, whether it is the new-age spirituality of the West-coast (Bodhisattva) or its excessive consumerism (Show Biz Kids). In other moments, they offer up vignettes of life's losers (The Boston Rag; My Old School; Pearl of the Quarter). And, at their very best, they are offering up an often impenetrable statement on the state of their world (Razor Boy; Your Gold Teeth; King of the World).

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5

Hell ya some steely Dan! I wish I had heard this before Aja as I think this is a great intro to Steely Dan. It’s slightly jazzy and proggy, but still has catchy tunes. King of the world doesn’t sit with me right as an album closer

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5

I mean, I've loved this album for years, so. This is not going to be an objective rating. All the reasons people tend to not like Steely Dan are the reasons I like them, I think. I know every song on every album. I mean, My Old School is a pretty great song however you cut it. It is what it is.

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4

I wasn't sure what I thought about this one, but I read that they focused on incorporating some jazz into their sound, so I listened again, and it was clear as day. Kind of weird how articulating a genre or influence of a genre can lock everything into place. Not as single-friendly as Can't Buy A Thrill, but still just as enjoyable. Best track: King of the World

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4

Day 10 of Music You Must Hear Before You Die and the album of the day is Countdown To Ecstasy by the legendary American rock band Steely Dan. I grew up hearing Steely Dan on the radio and know most of their popular songs. I must admit that, shamefully, I’ve never owned any of their records or dove deep into any of their deeper cuts. I must say, the music these guys have made is as American as it gets, especially when it comes to rock n’ roll. Sure, this is rock music but it has elements of rhythm & blues, jazz, soul, latin and a little funk sprinkled in as well. The biggest standout is the guitars, vocals, and horn arrangements. Lead singer Donald Fagen’s voice is iconic. So warming and haunting at the same time. The songwriting of Walter Becker (RIP) and Donald Fagen is very catchy and intelligent. You can tell that these are some really smart fellas and care A LOT about how their music is crafted. The arrangements and mixing are impeccable. The singles released from this album are Showbiz Kids and My Old School. Both are great songs. My personal favorites were Pearl Of The Quarter, Bodhisattva, and the closing track, King Of The World (very funky almost Isaac Hayes sounding instrumentation). What I like the most about Countdown To Ecstasy is each song has a theme. I was introduced to different characters and felt immersed in some of the stories. I’m so glad I got to listen to this album and get to know more about Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductees, Steely Dan!

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4

Steely Dan sind einfach großartig. Reicht nicht ganz an die Pretzel Logic ran.

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1

Sweet Rosalie, she's working at the five & dime train back to Hackensack with rosemary wine Yo-deedle doidle dee, cocaine We both like to do cocaine

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1

Wow, I guess I hate Steely Dan. This is so boring. It’s like when you go to a bar and there’s some house band playing. Couldn’t wait for it to be over. No thanks.

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1

I'm not a steely fan. I found this incredibly bland and uninspiring.

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1

I've listened to it twice and disliked. Disliked it the first time. Disliked it more the second. Also, my father-in-law LOVES Steeley Dan. Which may also play into my opinion

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5

More of this, please. The polish of the debut with good instrumentation, complex arrangements (but without the noodling of full-on prog), and nothing cheesy in the songwriting. An optimistic five, but the contrast with the earlier album is what sells it for me. Fitting to look back and see my previous exposure to Steely Dan was the closer of this very album, arguably the weak point of the tracklist.

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5

Won’t you take me by the hand?

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5

This was definitely easy listening. I have heard a lot about Steely Dan but never really taken the time to listen, I could listen to them some more.

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5

Perfect

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5

What a fantastic album. My Old School is a top 3 Steely Dan track and is a blast to hear. The whole album rocks pretty hard, and you know it’s going to right out of the gate. An absolute gem.

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5

Baby's first Steely Dan album, maybe the least satisfying from their initial run, save perhaps their debut. And yet, guess what? It's five stars from me, because it's Steely fucking Dan

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5

This is the third Steely Dan album we've had so far (their second chronologically) and I've definitely learned I really like Steely Dan. I liked them before this 1001 Albums thing, but I can't say I listened to their albums closely before - mostly just listened to best of. There's so much I like. Every time they break into an instrumental section, I know I'm going to enjoy it and the songs have such a great groove. Favorite songs on the album: "Bodhisattva" - love the guitar and keys interplay. "The Boston Rag" - the chorus is very CSNY. Great guitar solo. "Show Biz Kids" - Love the beat and the chorus. Of course, I love the repeated "Las Wages" line. Also, did they play a snippet of Reelin' in the Years after the line "They got the Steely Dan t-shirt"? "My Old School" - classic Steely Dan. Great stuff. Easy 5.

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5

This is the most solid of the Steely Dan albums that are on this list. The album has a good balance between jazz and rock never letting the rock aspect get too overtaken by the jazz. Amazing guitar work like usual and solid song-writing. I think they peaked on this album although I still enjoy their later work especially Gaucho.

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5

Nice to hear Steely Dan again. I like this album better, the songs are a bit longer, seem to be more developed. Bodhisattva Vow is one of my favorite non-radio hits of theirs, so I will always give this a high ranking. I should just break down and get all of their stuff.

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5

Loved it

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5

Nice easy listening. Could put on and relax and zone out.

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5

The great famous rock and roll.

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5

[Rubs hands together in aniticipation] Ohhhhhh man. This record. I love it. It's one of my favorite records from one of my favorite bands. Before I go any further, let me just say its a five. No question. The single "My Old School" is one of my faves from the Dan's greatest hits. But the real gem here is "King of the World" which might be my favorite song by the band. The concept of the song is great - last many on earth is king of the world. The western-style but totally weird guitar on "Razor Boy" is a highlight too. This record is the band at an early stage before everything in the studio became pristine and perfect. Still feels like a band of humans playing totally live, instead of a bunch of androids playing live like on Aja. Also want to talk about the cover art. Front cover is a really interesting water color that looks like it is water damaged, which has a cool effect on a record sleeve. Looks broken in already....ha. And the back cover photo of the band in the studio...who wouldn't want to be there!!?? I don't think this record is particularly loved so I'm optimistic that we'll see more Steely Dan on this list. All of their records (sans Pretzel Logic) deserve a place on this list.

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5

Bangers.

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5

Strangely, but I liked it

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5

Steely Dan is one of the best things to come out of this list for me. Perfect meld of Dad Rock, Yacht Rock, and Psychadelia.

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5

Two Steely Dan albums in a row! And in chronological order no less. This is where they really start to refine their sound. Not a dud in the bunch here. I see some people disparagingly calling this "dad rock" but I think that's a pretty big misnomer. Cheese this ain't.

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5

Another rock sold album from SD. A handful of legendary classics. Love it when they veer into jazz like they do on a few tracks.

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5

I've written before about how much I admire and love Steely Dan. This album, only their second studio album, contains some outstanding songs with the typical elite-level musicianship, obtuse and ironic (and often funny) lyrics, and great energy. Portends the string of albums to follow that I listen to frequently. [Yes, I know: Becker & Fagen, the songs they write, the musicians they bring in, and Fagen's voice aren't for everybody; I'm simply reporting my experience of their music, which I find in a league of its own.]

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5

Good. Fun. One of my favorites so far

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5

las wages las wages las wages las wages la- oh snap did Donald say the f word??

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5

Great

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5

I REALLY love this album! I probably have heard a few of the songs before, but they all felt new to me and I didn’t immediately recognize any of them. “Bhodhisattva” sets things off on a perfect, quasi-religious tone! Really awesome start to the album. ‘And I'll be there to shine in your Japan To sparkle in your China, yes, I'll be there.’ There’s a great guitar ending to “The Boston Rag” that I loved. “Show Biz Kids” is really good. Could there be a more perfect Steely Dan song than “My Old School”? I REALLY love this song! “Pearl of the Quarter” and “King of the World” are also awesome. These guys have super talent, incredible wit, and a cynicism enveloping smooth, jazzy songs that you only think are going down easy. The world and I are both in a place where this seems to be the perfect tone. How interesting that it comes from a 50 year old album.

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5

It's interesting that there were no hit singles from this album. There were no songs that I had known from it. However, I have always loved Steely Dan, and despite being wary of the unknown, I loved this whole album. I understand that there wasn't a standout song, but that also strengthened the idea that the whole thing was consistently wicked-good.

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5

Incredible blend of rock and jazz

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5

Classic Steely Dan

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5

Very good, remember that from my youth (i'm not 60)

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5

Just sublime piece of West Coast Rock - and the lyrics...

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5

Vraiment nice, de bins jams, bonne tounes, tres musicale. Je me tanne pas decouter ce style de musique. Cest 4.95 mIs pour la note

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5

A unique sounding album with some fantastic guitar playing. My favorite songs were “My Old School” ( both of my friends who went to hard transferred out) and “The Boston Rag” which really wowed me in its arrangement.

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5

I love this album. Really strong opening track -- Bodhisttva. For years I thought they were saying Old Disciple! My Old School is a classic as is Show Biz Kids. Still this isn't my favorite Steely Dan album, The Royal Scam is. I was shocked when I checked the index that that one didn't even make the list. It should!

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5

The jazz elements start to appear on Steely Dan's second album. Less poppier than their debut, they rock harder on this disc that they do at any time in their career. The cryptic lyrics are present, which are better suited for Donald Fagen than David Palmer (who left after the Countdown to Ecstasy) Bodhisattva is a stunning opening track and the band is running on all cylinders. This is also the last Steely Dan band album. The Fagen/Becker studio-craft took over after this. Steely Dan would continue to morph throughput the 70s, but always maintained a very high level.

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5

Absolute genius.

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5

This grew on me so much in the past year. Must be because I got the Steely Dan T-shirt. 10/10

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5

9/10. I really like Steely Dan, but it was a long time before I liked this album, and even now it is not my favorite. Most of the songs on this album have grown on me, but few of them need to be nearly as long as they are, which can make the album feel rather boring. Still, My Old School and King of the World do a lot of work to carry this album.

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5

Excellent. I'm a convert.

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5

My previous exposure to Steely Dan had only been through classic rock radio stations. It always felt too busy with so many layers it seemed like such a mess. What a difference listening with a pair of headphones made for me. I'm excited to check out the rest of their work.

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5

Steely Dan being one of my all time favorites, I will give this a great Friday 5 star. I had this on 8 track....

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5

Always been a fan. I love their style and sound. It’s very unique.

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5

Love it!

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5

Belter! I didn't know about the MDGAF track sample so a joy

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5

I’m a massive Dan fan. After waiting over 30 years for them to tour Australia, I saw them in Sydney and in Canberra in 2007 and was not disappointed. I love this, their 2nd album. I love the photo of the band in the studio. Becker looking cool with the sunnies, Fagen looking like a rabbit in the headlights, having finally been lumbered with lead vocals on all 8 tracks, and Skunk Baxter with his feet all over the mixing desk, looking like he has no doubts about his own ability on the guitar. The opening two songs on each side of this lp are outstanding. The album’s opener, Bodhisattva, is unique in their catalogue - breakneck rock’n’roll, with Baxter & Denny Dias ripping it up with some dual guitar harmonies. It’s followed by Razor Boy, once described as based on a bruised bossa nova groove, featuring the vibraphone of Victor Feldman & Baxter’s pedal steel. Side two begins with the funky Show Biz Kids, featuring the outstanding slide of Rick Derringer’ and the very soulful My Old School, with 4 saxes & a terrific Baxter guitar solo. There are no dull spots on this album and, as usual, the lyrics are often a mystery, but compelling nonetheless. Not my favourite Steely Dan album but easily 5 stars here.

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4

More I hear of this band the more I love. Yacht rock on warm spring days by the beach... perfecto!

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4

A classic. Great jazz notes and they nailed down the lead singer (Donald Fagen) in this album. Really dig it.

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4

Really liked this jazza rock album. Fav track is probably King of the World

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4

Groovy, rock/pop, varierende, lækre hooks, Chicago-vibes

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4

i like steely dan they show a nice mix of styles that you dont see anywhere else, only lacking a real 'hit'

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4

It was really good. The guitar riffs were excellent - a classic rock album in every respect.

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4

Great, clean, sparkly fun.

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4

You got the Dan man?

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4

Good outing. Steely Dan’s vibe is perfect for a Friday.

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4

Ok, no can’t buy a thrill

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4

'Bodhisattva' by itself is enough to give this album 3 stars, but the rest of the album was really enjoyable, too. I definitely prefer this album to 'Can't Buy a Thrill'

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4

I had fun with this album.

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4

Some very cool tracks on here, all of them well crafted.

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4

Твёрдое четыре с плюсом:)

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4

Good album

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4

Why was this album so fun? Steely Dan rules so hard

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4

Nice as

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4

Pretty great. Definitely some hidden gems on this album.

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4

This is pretty good and clearly Steely Dan but lacks a bit of standout hit. Would probably grown on me but as is, probably more elevator music. Listened again, it’s pretty darn solid if not amazing. Could see how it’s got staying power

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4

Steely Dan is cool and I love 'em. Don't often choose to put 'em on, but am always delighted when I hear 'em. This album was a very chill listen and the end of a stressful day and will definitely be going into my rotation. I also like the face of the guy in the bottom right corner.

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4

Auf die Gefahr hin das dritte Album schon wieder etwas zu tief zu bewerten, wollte ich hart sein und doch wieder Abstand zur Konzession nehmen. Denn „Aja“ driftet immer mal wieder auf meiner Oberfläche; ob‘s dieser erneut muckerige „Countdown to Ecstasy“ vermag, bezweifle ich beim Ersthören. Aber ich glaube, dass mich 1001 auf eine scheue Art zum lebenslangen Fan dieser lustigen Dödel gemacht hat. Bonus Punkt: sehe Super Furry Animals’ B-Seite „The man don’t give a fuck“ verkifft durch „Show Biz Kids“ hindurch grinsen. Und wer mit „King of the World“ ein Album abschließt, hat was drauf. Still growin‘ 4.3

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4

Not afraid to say that I love Steely Dan. This was no Aja but damn did it still jam. "My Old School," was the standout for me on this one. I'm not gonna lie I'm writing 10 reviews at once for albums I listened to over the past week, so all I'm going to say is Steely Dan rules and fuck the haters.

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4

Liked this much more than I expected, I didn't realize what a smooth sound these guys have, much less abrasive then I expected. Goes to show you don't know what you think you do sometimes. Might return to it again in the future.

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4

Really enjoyed this album. Interesting to read this album was didnt sell well but was loved by critics; I love me some Steely Dan, but this is more Solid than Spectacular, 4 stars with My Old School being the standout

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4

Great album. I wasn't familiar with all the tunes, but it was solid, top to bottom.

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4

Track 1: "Is this the Allman Brothers or Steely Dan? Ah, yes Steely Dan there it is." Show me the sparkle of yer 'gina. I think I've listened to this album once, maybe twice before. Really digging track two, loving this weird Hawaiian slide guitar? Powerful start to track 3. I think Donald Fagen has some of the most easily-recognizable vocal stylings of all time. I was thinking the instrumentation feels a bit more straightforward (or at least less wild) than other albums and then read that this was the only album Steely Dan wrote for a live band. This is an absolutely delightful sunny day album. Could definitely play rock bocce with a beer in hand while grooving to this. It doesn't quite stand up to other Steely albums, but who gives a shit? I'm grooving in Guillaume's old chair and having a great afternoon.

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4

Not as good as Aja, Pretzel Logic or Can’t Buy a Thrill, but still a solid album. This album is tight, laboratory clean, antiseptic, jazz rock. Every song is good (Razor boy just okay). Bodishava is fun, upbeat. Boston Rag has a chefs kiss hook abd great breakdown. Show is Kids is a hit. My Old School has a chorus that makes nostalgia beat through my heart. King of the World is almost pedantic and sounds proto Phish. Good listen, their other albums better be later on the list.

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4

me like it | sounds newer than it is! great :)

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4

Honestly a great album. It has a wonderful blend of country and more synth elements that really mesh well together. I liked their melodies and energy a lot. Favorite Song: My Old School

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4

Great album. Love Razor Boy

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4

MMmmm I do love a bit of Steely Dan. Good mix of rock jazz and blue, producing this kind of wild album. It's *very* 70s

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4

opening track is amazing. the instruments, wow pourrait être une bonne musique de rock very lowkey boston rags = love the harmonies; god, le solo very cohesive work ok ils se lâchent pour les solos chaque musique est une unité avec une identité propre, c'est en quelque sorte un voyage, un cheminement avec elle et le joyau de la quête = le solo c'est marrant les 2 sons que j'ai pas directement aimés sont les plus courts... the 6 seconds of french are much appreciated 4 or 5... l'idéal serait 4,5 mais bon pas le choix

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4

Fun especially while driving

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4

Solid writing. Excellent musicianship. Really good album.

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4

Great musicianship and harmonies. The upbeat stuff is really fun, but the ballads tend to drag a bit.

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4

Rockin

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4

Not bad at all. Love Steely Dan!

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4

A lot nicer than I thought it would be. I'm probably not listening to this album again, but can't say I wasted my time checking it out

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4

The third Steely Dan album we've gotten. I think they're really good, but don't seem them as quite that monumental... still, this is very good jazzy hard rock and I enjoyed listening to the album.

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4

Another excellent Steely Dan entry. No classic tracks like Can't Buy a Thrill or Aja, but My Old School is the catchiest. As always, there's a strong jazz element fused soft rock, with this album relying heavily on electric instruments, including the synths, which makes for some interesting jazzy-electric solos. All the tracks are great but nothing extraordinary.

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4

Steely Dan and their SUPREME rota of studio musicians had such an inimitable sound across their studio albums and, while this isn't my favourite SD album (that'd be a toss up between their debut and Aja), it still yields aural treasure on every repeat listen.

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4

Not SD's best, but has some real faves like Bodhisattva and My Old School.

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4

This album was mostly enjoyable. My favourite songs are Show Biz Kids, My Old School and the closing track King Of The World. But I wasn't that big a fan of some of the other tracks. 4/5 stars.

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4

Very good, but not totally captivating. Favorite track is Bring Back the Boston Rag

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4

Of the three Steely Dan albums I’ve heard from this project, this one sits as an easy favorite. Fun, thoughtful, exciting musicianship. Too polished, but that’s always my issue with steely Dan. Boddhisattva in particular was an amazing highlight. Fuck, I don’t like how much I like it. I really have transformed into a dad.

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4

прикольная, в меру сложная, много риффов, разных мелодий, есть синтезаторы, старый теплый звучок

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4

Not the very best Steely Dan album but it’s still Steely Dan.

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4

George St Geegland vibes

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4

Love it. 4/5

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4

The best of the early Steely Dan albums. I enjoy 'Countdown To Ecstasy' so much more than 'Can't Buy A Thrill' or 'Pretzel Logic'. Their obtuse lyrics laced with their usual acerbic wit are still present coupled with their unique brand of soft rock, but the music is overtly jazzier here, more so than either of the two albums that bookend this one. Fagen and Becker were also apparently unhappy with some of the performances on the record and believed that it sold poorly because it had been recorded hastily on tour. And yet I disagree with them. For me, ‘Countdown to Ecstasy’ succeeds in-spite of and because it wasn’t quite as polished and meticulous as some of their other efforts.

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4

I like their style

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4

4/5

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4

5: Bodhisattva, My Old School, 4: Razor Boy, Your Gold Teeth, Show Biz Kids, 3: Boston Rag, Pearl of the Quarter, King of the World

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4

I've listened to "Aja" LOTS before but haven't really checked out their older stuff, besides their first release, so I was a bit surprised at how their sound in this album. It of course maintains the cynicism of Donald Fagan's voice, which is signature to the band, but it adheres more to "straightforward" pop, like their first album. Personally I like the jazzier stuff of theirs, but this is good too.

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4

Countdown to Ecstasy flew by in terms of time. Loved Bodhisattva and My Old School. Great guitars, keyboarda and vocals. Only a couple of songs I wasn't a fan of but six ones I did enjoy.

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4

So - like Chicago without the horn section? I never really listened to Steely Dan much (I'm not big into the jazz/rock/fusion stuff), but this was a really solid album. It's really well produced, the arrangements are cool, the melodies are interesting, and there are some really great guitar tones.

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4

Rock setentero con algún toque de jazz. Me ha gustado.

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4

Maybe it's just my mood but I was jiving much more to this than Can't Buy A Thrill. Really liked Your Gold Teeth. I don't think I was listening with headphones before which probably wasn't doing it any favors. Between the two albums I can give this a 4, not all exactly my thing but I see it, I see it.

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4

Drugi na liscie i drugi w dyskografii, mam nadzieje, ze rowniez nie ostatni material Steely Danow na liscie, nadal jest grane w podobnym klimacie, ale w troche innym skladzie, nie ma juz Palmera, wiec cale wokale naleza do Fagena, dodatkowo album nagrywany w trasie koncertowej, wiec nie jest az tak dopieszczony pod wzgledem masteringu jak cant buy a thrill czy kolejny plyty danowe, ale jak dla mnie najwazniejsze, ze ostal sie ten estetyzm ktory byl juz widoczny na debiutanckim materiale, polaczony z lirykami przepelnionymi sardonicznoscia, ktorej nie brakuje na tej plycie, stanowi o mnie to cos za co uwielbiam ich materialy, nawet bardziej niz perfekcjonizm brzmienia do jakiego daza w swej muzyce, glowne motywy sa zblizone do tego co mozna uslyszec na poprzednim albumie, wiec zarty na ludziach, czy to szukajacych swojej drogi zycia w ucieczce na wschod, jak na otwierajacym bodhisattva, fajnie jest pokazane jak szukanie czegos orginalnego i duchowego sprowadza sie czesto do odcinania kuponow przez kogos kto wykorzystuje taki trend, podobnie w razor boyu, ktory szuka siebie w materializmie i dobrach doczesnych, takie zestawienie obok siebie dwoch kawalkow pokazuje jak obie drogi sa beznadziejne, jest gemblingowanie zlotymi zebami, narkotyki w starej szkole, dziwkowanie w nowy orleanie, czy post apokaliptyczny survival LA, wiec duet jak zawsze nie zawodzi lirycznie i potrafi pisac kawalki ktorych da sie sluchac wielokrotnie wynajdujac w nich coraz to nowe odcienie szarosci, nigdy sie nie zastanawialem jak tym listowal ich albumy, ale sluchajac countdowna, ktory jakos nigdy nie byl mi bliski, to wiem, ze byloby to pierunsko trudne zadanie, bo skala ocen zamykalaby sie pomiedzy 4-5, na plejke dodam otwierajacego bodhisattve jako najbardziej jazzowo zinfluencjowany kawalek i your gold teeth, a calosc leci na poleczke spotifajowa

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4

Mijn ding wel mooi rustig 70 rock

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4

A pretty decent album.

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4

Gustoso. Non so se l'avrei altrettanto apprezzato se non avessi prima sentito Aja, ma vabbè. Figo.

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4

I listened to the entire album and realized once I got to the end that I hadn't formed an opinion on it at all. Thinking critically about it, there are some great songs on here that are a joy to listen to, and it starts off great with 'Bodhisattva', but the middling parts of the album are just so middling that they left almost zero long-term impression. Great vocals; they definitely are talented, no question about that. So, in short, good vocals, good instrumentals, low remembrance.

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4

PANG-Album rätt igenom

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4

Yep. That's 41 minutes of Steely Dan, all right. I love the cover art.

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4

I was only vaguely familiar with a couple of tracks on this album. It sounded just like Steely Dan... I enjoy the jazz-infused rock. I wasn't quite over the moon with this one, but it is pleasant.

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4

3.5/5. This was good, and just about what I expected. This is not my favorite Steely Dan album I've heard, but it is definitely enjoyable.

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4

Steely Dan has so many cool harmonies and great use of keyboard in their sound. It’s relaxing but also complex. The definition of Yacht Rock which is right up my alley.

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4

Great vibes in this album. I've not listened to a ton of Steely Dan but really enjoyed this.

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4

comfort album

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4

Not quite 10/10.

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4

Through the vivid melodies and smooth grooves it's easy to overlook the darkness of these lyrics, How they navigate through the themes of drug abuse (Boston Rag), class envy (Your Gold Teeth), post-nuclear devastation (King Of The World), and Material possession (Bodhisattva) is prodigious. I’m really surprised at how much I liked this. Bodhisattva, Boston Rag , Show Biz Kids , My Old School , Pearl Of The Quarter are my personal favourites from the album.

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4

as they always do, Steely Dan do not disappoint this time

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4

listened to again jazzy grooves, i love it

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4

Exquisite

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4

Maybe their smoothest and therefore most perfect jazz-pop fusion. Maybe their most pop. Maybe their least jazz. Maybe the other way round. Maybe neither. It's impossible to say. Their career is one long "what is this?" moment. When things get impossibly smooth, they slip in a knotty something-or-other solo. When they get too abstruse, they break out a magical hook. Admittedly, some of those hooks are hardly transparent. "Can you show me Bodhisattva," say, or "She said, 'Oh no, Guadalajara won't do.'" But they're so perfectly harmonised, and so full of joy, that they sound like they make perfect sense.

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4

It's not super for me, it feels like some real old man music. And like no disrespect it just sounds pretty old.

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4

dan the mannnn

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4

Classic rock with the simple yet refreshing rock formula, no tracks stander out for me but I still enjoyed the record! I’ve got nothing against steely Dan

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4

Steely Dan are always a guarantee for good, light hearted, easy.lsitening music and this album is no difference

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4

The songs themselves aren’t as interesting as their other releases, but they are the best sounding band I have ever listened to. Worth the listen always!

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4

Really great album.

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4

6/4/2022 - ALBUM #128 Today's Album: "Countdown To Ecstasy" by Steely Dan - Steely Dan is always a name that I had heard in passing when talking about music and I know that he plays a really essential role in the evolution of soft rock, but the only song I knew by him was dirty work, which is a great track off of the album before this one. I'll save my thoughts on that song until I review that album, but suffice it to say that this album gave me everything I wanted and more out of what I had grown to expect from Steely Dan. The way the piano plays a large role in many of the tracks and the presence of brass and sax in the mix gives his music a really unique taste to it and he just has that classic sort of songwriting you heard in older outfits while bringing his own flair to it. Sprinkled throughout the album, but mostly present in the standout tracks Bodhisattva and My Old School, there are really fantastic solos all around the band. The production and mixing is top notch and each song feels really cohesive and well build, even if most of them don't keep my attention super well. The songwriting is just overall really charming and the really charismatic vocals back that up really well. I like a lot of the chorus vocals incorporated into these songs and when the band just feels really tight all around. There are plenty of shimmering highlights instrumentally and pretty much every chorus is good enough to get stuck way up in your brain. Overall, this is just a really fun pop-rock album from one of the most inventive song-writers of the era. Give this one a listen if you like soft rock or have ever heard the name Steely Dan and wondered, "Why does everyone care about this guy's music?" Highlights: Bodhisattva, Razor Boy, The Boston Rag, Show Biz Kids, My Old School, Pearl Of The Quarter, King Of The World. Score: 8/10 Effortlessly Enjoyable

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4

Rock setentero con algún toque de jazz. Me ha gustado. Un 4.

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4

*oh hello reference*

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4

Steely Dan just don't miss

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4

Haha, nice. I never did listen to song that The Man Don't Give A Fuck sampled. But Showbiz Kids is a cracker.

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4

Sw4g, svag 4

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4

It’s a testament to the quality of Steely Dan’s music that this is one of their weaker albums

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4

Deez nuts

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4

I’ve heard a few Steely Dan tunes and thought they were a bit so so. Listening to this through was great. I’m not a wordsmith so I’ll just say I was pleasantly surprised by this album and will be revisiting it. Great melodies and a nice chilled vibe with some quality guitar solos.

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4

Will you still have a song to sing when the razor boy comes and takes your fancy things away?

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4

adjacent to something i would really like

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4

Good jam band album.

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4

Good

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4

I’ve lamented a couple times that jazz isn’t really my thing. However when it’s fused into tightly arranged rock music, I’m down. Steely Dan have a meticulously organized sound. There are no loose ends. I have a strange album history with Steely Dan. I started with their Greatest Hits, then Alive In America, a live album. Then I bought their box set, Citizen: Steely Dan, which contains their first 7 studio albums on 4 discs plus a couple oddball tracks. I never owned any of their studio albums even though I had them all on the box set, which is strange to me at least. I’ve heard Bodhisattva hundreds of times and never realized how much I like the guitar solo leading up to the halfway point of the song. My Old School is the highlight of this album while Pear Of The Quarter is forgettable. Overall, this is one of my least favorite of Steely Dan’s first 7 albums, but it’s still enjoyable nonetheless.

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4

Rock. Años 70

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4

Funky and the solos are great

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4

I was surprised by this as I hated the last Steely Dan album I had to listen too. There is a great groove happening in a few of these songs and the overall sound of the album is never dull

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4

Nothing blew me away, but front to back it was just a good, well-produced listen.

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4

Though not as as good as ‘Aja’, this album is still a fantastic entry in Steely Dan’s catalog. It is a interesting mix of jazz, funk, and even a bit of country rock as well. They are keen absorbers of influences and genres and are able to reformulate them into something that sounds uniquely like Steely Dan.

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4

Pretty good need to listen to more.

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4

Great album, most song where to folksy for me. Album best: Pearl of the Quarter

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4

Yes, I definitely find this ecstatic. I'm someone who... enjoys instrumental fiddling. Unfortunately, the ecstasy fades away after a while. And I'm pretty it's not the post nut clarity. Not "countdown to ecstasy" but "countdown to the end of ecstasy".

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4

So crisp, so fine, so cruise on down the Highway. There are some fine tunes on here in that trademark SD style. Fagon and Becker bring the irony.

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4

What can I say except I just love Steely Dan. Maybe because I grew up listening to them, and my Dad is a big fan, but it's comfort music to me. This album is no where near as good as Aja, but it's still a solid record, with some good tunes.

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4

I Steely Dan but this might be the album I listen to the least. It never grab me as much as Aja, Pretzel logic or Royal Scam.

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4

Oké album. Had het iets steviger verwacht, maar wel van genoten

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4

T3B 1. The Boston Rag 2. King Of The World 3. Bodhisattva

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4

This one won me over as it went - Show Biz Kids was a real standout (including a sample that was used in the 90s that I never realised)

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4

Fun album

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4

This is great! Never gave Steely Dan a chance before. Really tasteful groove-lovin musak

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3

Show Biz Kids is nice. The Man Don't Give a Fuck by Super Furry Animals has taken that sample. But Donald Fagen is being an ass about it so that's -1!

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3

Classic dad rock. Not their best work but there’s still some tasty riffs in there

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3

Some great songs here.

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3

Ensimmäisellä soitolla alkuun vähän tökki, mutta meni niin paljon biisejä ohi, että kuuntelin uudelleen. Toinen ja kolmas soittokerta häiriintyi ikävästi töiden takia. Neljäs ja viimeinen soittokerta kotosalla tuotti tuloksen. Tykkäsin kyllä levystä, mutta ei tuo nyt kuitenkaan mikään masterpiece ollut.

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3

helt okej grej

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3

not my fave steely dan, but still nice

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3

old pop . ok 3.5

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3

Another solid 70s rock album.

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3

I'm noticing a lot of these albums start out kinda weak but then get a lot better with each song. This is one of those albums.

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3

Pretty pretty solid

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3

This album was good. Nothing too noteworthy for me but nothing that stuck out as being bad either. A good listen for some classic rock.

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3

I do love me some Steely Dan, and this record's sound reminds me a lot of CSN&Y. Not as many hits as other Steely Dan albums though.

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3

Pretty good not my style tho

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3

Steely Dan. It’s good.

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3

i liked it but nothing too special for me

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3

It's Steely "polarizing" Dan. I still love Aja better than this one, but c'mon, it's Steely fucking Dan.

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3

Rockband classic

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3

Very skilled, good sound and vocals. Wild ride.

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3

Bisschen groovier, hab ich mir gedacht, aber auch bisschen viel more of the same. Noch nicht so geschliffen wie auf Aja, natürlich. Aber das Rhodes-Solo in Your Gold Teeth ist schon geil, King of the World fand ich auch super.

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3

I liked The Boston Rag and Show Biz Kids

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3

Not really for me, but very technical album

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3

solid psych rock, but feels very loose

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3

I mean... I hate to say it but this album was not very entertaining, which has always been an important part of Steely Dan's first album in my mind. Not that the music isn't popularly entertaining, but that the music itself has little interesting instrumental parts. the lyrics seemed pretty straightforward. there was a bit to chew on here and there. I especially liked the line 'my baby's a pearl in the quarter' in 'Pearl of the Quarter.' But in general, kinda lackluster. kinda like they formulated the sound of their first album. 3/5 for being decent, but more like a 5/10.

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3

Interesting

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3

Love the album cover art. I think that's the gateway to this album - the skeleton key to see through the perfect arrangements, pristine sound. These watercolor people in chairs are the target of the Dan's sharp satire. The "enlightened" (Bodhisattva), the complacent (Razor Boy?), the privileged (Show Biz Kids). The songs are catchy and complex. The solos don't waste a single note. The drums are air tight. After finally listening closely to the Dan (thanks 1001, and Josh) I think I've figured out the element that's always turned me off about them. They're so far above it all. They're not invested. Their lyrics drive a spear into imperfect people, but their music is perfected beyond criticism. They refuse to show their flaws while deconstructing the flaws of everyone else. It make sense in a pop-psychology sense. The most outwardly critical people are secretly the most self-critical. I asked myself, "well what about Father John MIsty, he criticizes absolutely everything that's ever existed (Pure Comedy), and you love his schtick". I answered myself, "well, good question, but he also is willing to risk his own pride and burn himself down with the terrible world" and then I stared at the middle distance for a 30 second count. I enjoyed the hell outta this record, especially King of the World. B+

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3

Kinda just sounded like a worse version of yesterday's Steely Dan. More interestingly, what are the chances of there being two consecutive albums with the same artist? Sounds like a good probability problem

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3

Hmmm. I don't know. I listened to it a lot today and it's OK. I can't see myself loving it, but it was quite good fun.

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3

Expected to like it more than I did

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3

Hanging out by the pool vibe. I like SD and this album is just ok.

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3

I liked listening to this one, some of the songs gave me an elevator music vibe. only reason I'm giving it 3 stars is it didn't stand out to me a lot

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3

Nothing special, but perfectly listenable

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