The Best Steely Dan Songs, Ranked

(via uproxx) by Steven Hyden

One of the strangest (and most heartwarming) developments in recent years is the hip-ification of 1970s snarky jazz-rock institution Steely Dan. Once the butt of endless “graying ponytail” jokes by insufferable indie dweebs, Steely Dan has somehow become part of the indie dweeb canon, a turn confirmed by numerous indie music sites writing thoughtfully and enthusiastically about the band’s nine studio albums released over the course of 31 years.

Some have claimed that this embrace of The Dan is “revisionism,” but that’s not exactly right. In the ’70s, Steely Dan was widely regarded as one of the top American bands of the era. They were commercially successful and critically acclaimed. It’s just that subsequent generations for decades didn’t seek them out like they did Fleetwood Mac or even The Eagles. This was partly a function of how Steely Dan songs work — a spotless veneer of impeccable musicianship and complex music progressions act as a kind of slow release capsule for the humor and perversity that lurks inside. The whole point of this band is to grab the ear immediately, but not reveal what is actually going on until many listens, and even many decades, later. That’s not revisionism; that’s just taking a very long time to “get it.”

Read more: The Best Steely Dan Songs, Ranked (uproxx.com)

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Editorial note: While I solidly disagree with many of the the author’s choices/placings (and don’t share his understanding of what the song “The Fez” refers to) I applaud an informative and thought-provoking article on one of my favorite bands.

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See also: Songs You May Have Missed #358 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

See also: Video of the Week: Emmylou Harris Moved to Tears by First Aid Kit Singing “Emmylou” | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #676

Ramsey Lewis and Earth, Wind & Fire: “Sun Goddess” (1975)

From R&B/jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis’ gold-selling album of the same name, this 1975 single features members of Earth, Wind & Fire and was co-written by Maurice White.

Although this 45 edit of “Sun Goddess” rose to #44 in the Billboard Hot 100 (and #20 in the soul singles charts) it is a bit of a rare commodity, having never appeared on any American-release EWF album or compilation.

On a Lighter Note…

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Songs You May Have Missed #675

Graffiti6: “Under the Mask” (2014)

You’d swear this prescient pop tune was released in April of 2020 and not April of 2014:

I see your light
I see your light
No matter where you turn
Or where you hide
I see it all
Shining so bright
You say that you’re not sure
And there’s no cure
But there’s a way
To fly away

There is a light, there is a light in your heart
There is a light burning a fire in the dark
Under the mask, under the mask we’re beautiful
So let out the light, no need to hide anymore
Under the mask

There is a space
There is a space
Somewhere that you belong
It keeps you strong
It’s in my arms
‘Cause it is your space
No matter where we turn
Or where we hide
We’ll fly away
So fly away

There is a light, there is a light in your heart
There is a light burning a fire in the dark
Under the mask, under the mask we’re beautiful
So let out the light, no need to hide anymore

Don’t turn away
Don’t hide away darling
Don’t turn away
Don’t hide away
I see you under the mask
Under the mask

There is a light, there is a light in your heart
There is a light burning a fire in the dark
Under the mask, under the mask we’re beautiful
So let out the light, no need to hide anymore
Under the mask

There is a light, there is a light in your heart
There is a light burning a fire in the dark
Under the mask, under the mask we’re beautiful
So let out the light, no need to hide anymore

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #194 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

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Songs You May Have Missed #674

Venice: “The Family Tree” (1999)

Venice are the Eagles you’ve never heard of.

Comprised of two brothers and their two cousins (also brothers) from–where else–Venice California, the band have been dubbed by David Crosby “the best vocal group in America”.

The list of superstars with whom they’ve performed or recorded is considerable (deep breath): Elton John, Don Henley, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon, Sting, Heart, Phil Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Cher, Styx, Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys, Melissa Etheridge, The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Loggins, Dave Mason, Michael McDonald, Bon Jovi, Chris Isaac, Jackson Browne, Stevie Nicks, Ozzy Osbourne, David Crosby, and Billy Idol among others.

For all that, the Californis band’s biggest success has been in the Netherlands, where in 2003 they won that country’s Grammy-equivalent Edison Award for Best International Artist, besting such heavyweights as Coldplay and U2, and where they enjoy consistent radio play and sold-out tours.

Band members also contributed backing vocals on Roger Waters “The Wall Live Tour” from 2010-13.

The poignant “The Family Tree” shows off the meshing of the familial harmonies as the lyrics touch on the topic of the family surviving down the years, something this family band is certainly testament to.

See also: Video of the Week: Skunk Baxter Covers ‘Rikki Don’t Lose That Number’ | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

On a Lighter Note…

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