Steely Dan - Two Against Nature

Steely Dan
Two Against Nature

(Giant/Warner Bros.)

First Appeared at The Music Box, February 2001, Volume 8, #2

Written by John Metzger

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The announcement that Steely Dan would release an album of new material in early 2000 was met with tremendous critical enthusiasm. Why not? Two Against Nature was the groupís first studio recording in 20 years. Yet, the music on this latest release doesn't sound at all like the same radio-friendly band that ignited the FM airwaves throughout the í70s. While itís true that radio has changed significantly since Steely Danís heyday, there really isnít a track here ó with the exception of Cousin Dupree ó that fits this format.

As with 1980ís Gaucho, the songwriting duo of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker has crafted a series of sophisticated scores, and these are more akin to jazz than pop. Of course, Steely Dan always has folded these elements into its music, but with Gaucho, Fagen and Becker went off the deep end, leaving all but the most diehard fans a bit puzzled. Furthermore, for all the complexity in its arrangements, the band delivered its newer songs with a cold, calculated, and unemotional detachment, and Two Against Nature very much continues this trend.

Make no mistake, however, Two Against Nature is still a solid effort. Though it requires a tremendous amount of patience, itís still a joy to hear these masterful musicians and composers wind their way through the songs. Just remember this: Steely Dan has transformed itself into a jazz band, and it has no intention of going back. starstarstar Ĺ

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43rd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Album of the Year

43rd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group

43rd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Pop Vocal Album of the Year

43rd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Engineered Album (Non-Classical) of the Year

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Two Against Nature is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2001 The Music Box