Steely Dan – Two Against Nature

Steely Dan - Two Against NatureEvery once in a while, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen pick up the hint that it took Jeff Lynne 15 years to pick up, and resurrect the band that everyone remembers them belonging to. Namely, in Fagen & Becker’s case, that would be Steely Dan.

The only catch here, however, is that Fagen’s solo projects over the past 20 years have sounded more like Steely Dan than what now passes for Steely Dan. I have a bit of a problem with that. In many places, Two Against Nature sounds like Steely Dan; in a couple of places, it’s good Steely Dan, with “Almost Gothic” taking its place in the quasi-group’s pantheon of memorable, hummable tunes with literate, ironic lyrics. “Jack Of Speed” doesn’t quite live up lyrically, while “What A Shame About Me” stacks up lyrically but not musically. It’s almost as if they needed some more time – there are the beginnings of some really good songs on here, but it’s almost like the label told the musicians to wrap it up, because we’ve got to get Product on the store shelves.

I’m not going to dwell on this too long, but I’m not a big fan of the song “Cousin Dupree”. I know they’re trying to play it for laughs, but incest just isn’t funny. End of story. In this part of the country, in my line of work, I see 2 out of 4far too much disturbing stuff in our own news along these lines. I’ve also known a handful of families and friends whose lives have been forever changed by it. It’s not pop song material.

I wish I could give this a higher recommendation. I really do like Steely Dan, and really looked forward to this new effort…but it just has the feel of something which wasn’t ready for prime time.

Order this CD

  1. Gaslighting Abbie (5:56)
  2. What A Shame About Me (5:17)
  3. Two Against Nature (6:17)
  4. Janie Runaway (4:13)
  5. Almost Gothic (4:11)
  6. Jack Of Speed (6:21)
  7. Cousin Dupree (5:30)
  8. Negative Girl (5:35)
  9. West Of Hollywood (8:28)

Released by: Warner Bros.
Release date: 2000
Total running time: 51:51