… as I struggle to find something I like today.
I am a tough sell for pure voices-and-percussion albums. And I don’t think it’s a “just me” kinda taste quirk. I know voice-and-percussion can be captivating, gripping, on stage, but the format is too hard to follow all the way though a whole album.
Next, it’s hard, lotta work, to redeem corny tunes though improvisation. If you roll out one lame-o, half-gimmick tune after another, I come to suspect you may like corny tunes. Because, I mean, there’s no question there’s an audience for them.
Everything gets better after the name.
Interesting footnote: since writing the review, I’ve discovered a couple earlier releases in the stacks that are clearly Afrobeats bands before I knew the style had a tag.
Very odd article. I would have guessed Hollywood had wretched attendance this past summer, for the reason that everybody knows: addiction to exhausted franchises and remakes. The spread of Rotten Tomatoes is nothing to cheer but I can’t get worked up about it one way or the other: nothing is forcing anyone to pay any attention to the ratings. And I agree with commenters who said some sort of comparison with Metacritic would have been a useful addition to the discussion.
My review at Arts Fuse. A must for all you “graphic novel” types. Or people who have navigated the personality currents of very offbeat workplaces.
Becker and Fagen would be first to say Steely Dan were a rock and roll future that never came to pass. The saddest aspect of their shortfall is that the more you had listened to, the more you appreciated what Steely Dan was on about. One of my greatest frustrations as a popular music critic is that I’m not happy with anything I wrote about the Dan. The only outright botch was my misguided rave for Fagen’s Kamakiriad (though it does still have its believers). And I did get it more or less right that Two Against Nature was quite an accomplishment after such a hiatus and was artistic justice. But probably the best I ever did for the band was during my first record-store job in Boston, where I convinced the owners that Aja was not just for hipsters but would be a hit and sure as hell would be more fun to play than the millionth repetition of Saturday Night Fever or (shudder) Dark Side of the Moon.
Anyway, I think this is as good as possible to do with Steely Dan and that, yeah, it does help to be from NY.
Tipped off by an ace review from Peter Margasak*, I was wowed to hear this was a rock and roll record precisely because, as Langdon Winner once said, it “comes from where no one is looking.” The forms and phrases and even licks may sound familiar — the title track is the latest fever re-dream of “Sweet Jane,” for instance — but the fresh angles and juiced emotions confirm, this is only because Perrett speaks rock and roll. Essential plus: frequent funny lines.
Seek this out.
*About 85% of the time, Peter and I are riding the exact same wave of music. The rest of the time I understand and appreciate his arguments, even if I don’t hear them.
I’m sure not gonna subscribe to the WSJ to read this article. But it does prompt me to take note of the most justified negative review I’ve read in quite a while.
Namely the Number 9 item in this Real Life Rock Top 10.
When I heard this album my response was also WTF — then I realized it had been overhyped with scarcely a claim that the performances were outstanding (and Dion barely mails them in). Instead, fabulous producer on hot streak and exciting times for music and Dion has made killer records. Fooey.