Staff Top 10
Top Ten Obscure Steely Dan Lyrics

By: Patrick McKay
2007-07-27



Posted 07/27/2007 - 07:46:01 AM by smezzer:
 good article on a topic thats been due for a long while. I'd say a person's attitude to Steely Dan is a good marker of how good their music taste is, or at least how closely their tastes align to mine. The Dan really do tick a lot of my boxes
 
Posted 07/27/2007 - 09:49:31 AM by J_R_K_:
 the dan are the only band with a 'jazz' influenced rock sound that i enjoy. also saw a cover band "really dan" once.
 
Posted 07/27/2007 - 11:09:33 AM by jmp123:
 Brilliant! I'm very, very jealous of this article and always thought that if Stylus really wanted to go whole hog on that "Hall of Fame" shit then the Dan belong(ed) there. The highlight for me is the (all-too) brief discussion of "the Royal Scam"--my personal favorite. Indeed, to extend the Baroque comparison, check out the cover! (not ignored, I'm sure, by your film-reviewer eyes) Was there ever a better use of the chiaroscuro in seventies album artwork? a more prescient understanding of the total impoverishment at work in late capital? A better faux-reggae, cocaine-fueled parody of the seventies than "Haitian divorce", wherein the former colony becomes the playground/despair of the Western wealthy only to have the "real" of history return in the title track? Geniuses, I say.
 
Posted 07/27/2007 - 01:33:11 PM by how2know924:
 here's a question that has sparked many a lively debate among my friends: can anyone shed any light on who Dr Wu is, or what he is meant to represent?
 
Posted 07/27/2007 - 02:00:55 PM by averyisland:
 huge props for this article, who would've thunk such an analysis could be this warranted, and fun. growing up, the dan was the band all my "intellectual" friends & cousins loved to love. i just thought they were an obscure duo messing with people vis a vis their "jazzy" sound and oblique lyrics. other than ogling young girls in hey 19, and possibly spawning the likes of kenny g, becker & fagan have been a-ok in my book.
 
Posted 07/27/2007 - 03:54:29 PM by florenz6:
 This article is one of the reasons why Stylus is may fave site! Getting under surfaces. Being not deadly serious and, at the same time, giving sublime insights!But, Patrick McKay, I have to blame it on you that I´ve been now looking for the Gaucho-Cd for half an hour in my archive!:)
 
Posted 07/27/2007 - 04:06:23 PM by opticks:
 We can't forget these melancholy, lurid reflections from "Babylon Sisters": Like a Sunday in TJ It's cheap but it's not free I'm not what I used to be and love's not a game for three Or, for that matter, the cringe-inducing opening to "Hey Nineteen": Way back when, in '67 I was the dandy of Gamma Kai Sweet things from Boston, So young and willing move down to Scarsdale; where the hell am I? And the entire song "Daddy don't live in that New York City no more" contains a dizzying number of disturbing lines.
 
Posted 07/28/2007 - 06:44:09 AM by florenz6:
 Yes, optics, and all this wrapped in precise and lush arrangements, good-feel-vibes that are never cheap, and songs have so much to offer, in and between the lines! As a matter of fact, my love for some of their records came with time passing by, it never happend at first sight.
 
Posted 07/28/2007 - 01:40:08 PM by cwperry:
 These are arcane? Most of them are pretty straightforward to me.
 
Posted 07/28/2007 - 01:41:48 PM by cwperry:
 I mean, you don't have to be from Annandale to employ deductive reasoning to conclude that the person is riding a train.
 
Posted 07/28/2007 - 05:00:39 PM by opticks:
 How2Know: I've heard that Dr. Wu was modelled on the psychiatrist who treated Walter Becker for drug addiction. The song is full of references to addiction, like: "I've been strung out here all night/I've been waiting for the taste you said you'd bring to me." I'd like to know, who is Katy? We know she lies (the green insect on the cover of Katy Lied is a katydid), but what is her relationship with the Dr.? Ahh, cocaine-induced paranoia...
 
Posted 07/28/2007 - 09:59:17 PM by FHJay1:
 The quotes at the beginning remind me why Knocked Up was such a shitty movie.
 
Posted 07/30/2007 - 04:29:05 PM by krosshoff:
 nice read. thanks for shedding light on "barrytown" especially, i always just heard it as sort of a cartoon indictment of prejudice, a la "short people." for the curious, here's an analysis i wrote a while ago of a couplet from "everything you did," off the royal scam: http://mincetapes.blogspot.com/2004_08_01_archive.html "time out of mind" is so not the best song on gaucho btw. (i think it might be the worst.)
 
Posted 07/30/2007 - 04:51:59 PM by boilingboy:
 This was a fun piece to read. It cleared up some long-standing confusion of mine, too. I always wondered what they were talking about in "The Boston Rag".
 
Posted 07/30/2007 - 05:02:07 PM by Fantastic:
 I was always told Dr. Wu represented heroin, or an addiction to it; the character in the song was supposed to be a Vietnam vet bringing the addiction back. And "Pretzel Logic" is about Hitler. That's fucked up, yo.
 
Posted 07/30/2007 - 10:53:03 PM by digestion:
 like krosshoff was saying, I think Barrytown goes a bit beyond the simple cult-from-a-nearby-town meaning to be about a fear of the "other," and the average man's reluctance to accept anything different from what he's used to. thanks for the article - the Dan is definitely underappreciated these days.
 
Posted 08/12/2007 - 02:32:04 AM by girloclock:
 Quite the awkward compilation of 3rd, 4th, 5th(?) hand information, no? Haha.
 
Posted 08/13/2007 - 10:39:27 AM by pmckay:
 fuck you too.
 
Posted 08/23/2008 - 11:03:04 PM by user2008:
 Interesting article, but you mention the narrator in "Black Cow" as being in the house of the person they're singing about? In the lines prior he says "I saw you in Rudy's you were very high". A black cow is a soda fountain drink so I think the counter he's referring to that he sees the keys, etc. on is a counter in a diner called Rudy's not someone's house. This is mentioned in the making of Aja dvd.