Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Big Adios

I have been swamped at the day-gig for the last few days, so I've had precious little time to write.

Steely Dan’s latest entry, “Everything Must Go” is not my favorite by a stretch. It is a downer. Song by song it is fine, with the exception of “Slang of Ages,” apparently “sung” by Walter Becker, which should have been relegated to some future boxed set as a “bonus” track, or better yet, sung by the band’s exceptionally talented and sarcastic lead singer. Taken as a whole one gets the feeling that Messrs. Becker and Fagen are none too happy with “The Dude” and are entirely pessimistic about the future of our country.

Not that they are at all known for their optimism.

My favorite track on the record is “The Last Mall.” I think it sums up the selling of America to corporate interests, and to what lengths they will go to make a buck, right up until “Cancellation Day.”

The Last Mall
- By Walter Becker and Donald Fagen


Attention all shoppers
It's Cancellation Day
Yes the Big Adios
Is just a few hours away

It's last call
To do your shopping
At the Last Mall

You'll need the tools for survival
And the medicine for the blues
Sweet treats and surprises
For the little buckaroos

It's last call
To do your shopping
At the Last Mall

We've got a sweetheart Sunset Special
On all of the standard stuff
'Cause in the morning --that gospel morning
You'll have to do for yourself when the going gets tough

Roll your cart back up the aisle
Kiss the checkout girls goodbye
Ride the ramp to the freeway
Beneath the blood orange sky

It's last call
To do your shopping
At the Last Mall

11 Comments:

Blogger XTCfan said...

>Becker and Fagen are none too happy with “The Dude” and are entirely pessimistic about the future of our country.<

Al, I just got a call from the Coen Brothers and Jeff Bridges, and they are demanding an immediate apology from you on the association of this phrase with anything having to do with George W. Bush. Just thought I'd let you know.

4:01 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Fan,

Read the lyrics to "Godwhacker" from the same album to understand the reference.

Al

4:12 PM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

Sorry, they don't care. They told me to tell you -- and Becker and Fagen -- that "the Dude abides."

4:47 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

>Al, I just got a call from the Coen Brothers and Jeff Bridges, and they are demanding an immediate apology <

>Sorry, they don't care. <

Tell them they can kiss my big lebowski - and while your at it, tell Jeff Bridges he couldn't act scared in a plane crash.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

Well I for one am just happy and surprised to hear they're still alive! Of course, judging from the lyrics, not for long...

2:24 AM  
Blogger jemison said...

I liked the title song. Got to see that tour (twice by happenstance) but agree with you about the overall quality of the album. I love my SD, but it seems Fagan's voice is getting drowned out in these later efforts, as compared to say AJA or Katy Lied. Disappointing, especially because of their reputation for such a clean sound.

As for Becker, I enjoyed 11 Tracks of Whack but really think he should let Fagan do the singing. Becker sang Haitian Divorce during the last tour.

8:49 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

I saw them that tour as well. I enjoyed it, but you are right - Fagen's voice has not aged well. Still, the essence is there.

And I *love* the title track...

On the other hand, I think "Two Against Nature"is a great album - up there with their best from the 70's. "Jack of Speed" and "What a Shame About Me" rank among their finest songs. Most die-hard fans disagree, but I think it is more because *we* are different based on all the years that have passed. I actually like it better than "Gaucho."

10:01 AM  
Blogger cali said...

I have "Two Against Nature" and like both those songs as well.

Any song written about shopping in a mall is depressing.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous daveminnj said...

hmmm.. credit where credit is due-
steely dan was a lifesaver for
me all through the 70s and their
hiatus hurt worse than the loss
of the clash.
but..i find 2 against nature literally unlistenable. the sound
of it forced my hand to the mute button like a physical compulsion.
how are those live recordings they did?

11:03 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

i find 2 against nature literally unlistenable. the sound
of it forced my hand to the mute button like a physical compulsion.
how are those live recordings they did?



The live album is ok, but I'm not sure my opinion is relevant, because of the stark differences between our feelings toward "Two Against Nature."

Try skipping to "Jack of Speed" or "Janie Runaway" or "Cousin Dupree."

I think unless you are a jam band like The Allman Brothers, live albums are not usually worth it. Steely Dan is a studio band, and while their concerts are great, a recording of their concerts comes across as superfluous.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Branden Keil said...

It''s quite impressive.

1:57 PM  

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