Jes G. (jesgear) from DAVENPORT, IA Reviewed on 11/13/2013...
"What a Shame About Me"
"Two Against Nature"
"Jack of Speed"
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Finally back from the studio
S. Schwachter | Boca Raton, FL USA | 02/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Steely Dan is like an enigma. The true die hard fans have longed and yearned for anything by this dynamic duo. Finally it is here. The nine new songs in Two Against Nature deliver what any fan desires - the familiar sound with unfamiliar songs. Although they are spectacular live and we all should have the various box sets available (the best is on MCA), this recording is a must and will appeal to the fans from before as well as an entire new generation of Steely Dan fans. A must buy."
Return of the Dan
fletch_11 | Auckland, NZ | 02/29/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Steely Dan return with their 1st new studio album since 1980's 'Gaucho'. So what is it like? Well, if you've heard the Dan's vocalist/writer Donald Fagen's solo CD 'Kamakiriad' (released in 1993), you'll have a fair idea of the sound and texture of the songs, since both albums were produced by his Dan partner Walter Becker (although Fagen is co-credited with production on this one too). The songs are funky - rhythmicly driven, and with Becker on board again, have a little of that Steely Dan nasty streak in them. Songs about strange characters, some of them low-lifes. The album is harder to get into, though, and doesn't immediately 'grab' you on first listen as some of the older Dan does. I put this down to the melodies not being as strong. In an interview Fagen gave in 1993 in Keyboard magazine on the release of Kamakiriad, he states, "The only change is that I'm losing my interest in melody. I'm more interested in simplifying things in order to get more of a rhythmic effect....it used to bother me if something didn't have an interesting melody. Now I don't care that much about it.." I think that sentiment carries over onto this album.Some highlights for me include 'Almost Gothic' and 'Jack of Speed', as well as the closer 'West of Hollywood' with it's amazing Sax solo (by Chris Potter) The album only has 9 songs, which comes to just over 50 minutes - not very long for an album by today's standards. Don't get me wrong though. The album is good, but don't make any judgements by listening to it in a store. Buy it. Take it home. Let it mull a few days. It'll grow on you."
Still Steely after all these years
CLS424@AOL.com | Peoria, Illinois | 05/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My, how time flies! Its 20 years later their last studio album. The ditzy bimbo they sang about in "Hey Nineteen" is now pushing 40 and Walter Becker and Donald Fagen have finally dusted off the long-retired Steely Dan moniker, gotten themselves a brand new bunch of studio sidemen, and have released new material. And its pretty much what you'd expect from them. Steely Dan 2000 has not embraced rap-metal or alternative rock, nor have they taken the Santana approach of peppering their album with the contributions of various popular guest stars to try and appeal to a younger generation of fans. Rather, they have chosen to stay on their well-traveled path of combining jazz-fusion with obscure lyrics full of double meanings. While the words to opening track "Gaslighting Abby" can inspire many a late-night debate as to what the song is about, the tune sure does sound cool. The rest of the album, from the incestuous "Cousin Dupree" to the self-congratulatory title track sounds like . . well, like a Steely Dan album - brass galore, searing jazz guitar licks, pounding electric pianos and Fagen's signature nasally vocals. Of course, doing their own thing has always been at the core of the Becker/Fagen collaboration. During their 1971-80 heyday, the "Dan" sound was at odds with disco, prog rock, heavy metal, punk, and virtually anything else played on the radio. This still holds true today as they come up against the likes of Kid Rock and the Backstreet Boys. Becker and Fagen are not hung up on embracing new trends - they do what they do very well and continue to stick with it. "Two Against Nature" really isn't as much a comeback for Steely Dan as it is a continuation, as well as an affirmation of the band's reputation for being ahead of its time -whether that time was 20 years ago or today. There sure isn't anything on the radio in 2000 that remotely sounds like Steely Dan either. It can be comforting to know that some things don't change. Conrad L. Stinnett"
Kamakiriad Part Two
Dave | Tucson, AZ | 03/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My first reaction when I finally listened to the long-awaited Steely Dan release was that it sounds a lot like Kamakiriad, Donald Fagen's 1993 solo album. If you are expecting to hear songs that sound like old Steely Dan material such as "Deacon Blues," "Do It Again," and "King of the World," you will be a little disappointed. However, if you are looking for an album, and group, with a distinctly unique sound you will love it. In their evolution as a group Steely Dan has moved away from songs with impressive melodies and mesmerizing solos and have begun to focus more on lyrics and storytelling. In a recent interview with NPR Donald Fagen said that he thinks of a song as a chance to tell a story. You can easily see that Fagen began to experiment with this notion in Kamakiriad and continued with it in Two Against Nature. Each one of the nine tracks on this new album is a wonderful story in the Steely Dan genre. However, don't focus too much on the lyrics and neglect to pay attention to the melodies. In these new songs, as in all Steely Dan songs, the lyrics and the melodies blend together and often become indistinguishable. Overall this is a great new album. If you liked Kamakiriad you'll like this one, and vice versa."