Two Against Nature

( 7 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
It's been nearly 20 years since their last foray into a recording studio as a team, but Donald Fagen and Walter Becker are no more in step with the musical world now than they were at their peak -- and that's a very good thing. The 21st-century edition of Steely Dan retains that inimitable ability to sprinkle danceable riffs with one hand and pull the rug out from under listeners with the other, as evidenced by the Southern-gothic funkfest "Cousin Dupree" and the creepy mind games of "Gaslighting Abby." The vibe of TWO AGAINST NATURE isn't terribly different from the pair's late-'70s output -- slick jazz-funk and burnished ballads dominate, with little room for the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
It's been nearly 20 years since their last foray into a recording studio as a team, but Donald Fagen and Walter Becker are no more in step with the musical world now than they were at their peak -- and that's a very good thing. The 21st-century edition of Steely Dan retains that inimitable ability to sprinkle danceable riffs with one hand and pull the rug out from under listeners with the other, as evidenced by the Southern-gothic funkfest "Cousin Dupree" and the creepy mind games of "Gaslighting Abby." The vibe of TWO AGAINST NATURE isn't terribly different from the pair's late-'70s output -- slick jazz-funk and burnished ballads dominate, with little room for the cerebro-rock of their earlier days. But when the sonic short stories are as perfectly executed and multi-layered as, say, the smirkingly self-mocking "What a Shame About Me," it's hard not to be reeled in.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Notorious for shunning concert performances, Steely Dan's improbable live reunion in the mid-'90s eventually turned into a full-fledged reunion album. Since Steely Dan fans went two decades without even the hope of a new record, the very prospect was a delight, but it was also a little worrying, since a botched comeback would tarnish the band's legacy. Fortunately, Two Against Nature is as seductive and alluring as the best of Steely Dan's later work, with a similar emphasis on classy atmosphere and groove. Pitched halfway between Gaucho and the immaculate production of Fagen's solo album Kamakiriad, it's a graceful, intricate record that works its subtle charms at its own pace. While that means it isn't a knockout on the first listen, it's a real grower -- a quietly addicting album that slowly works its way into the subconscious. It's also an uncannily natural extension of the duo's previous work, but surprisingly, it never sounds nostalgic or dated. It's clear that Becker and Fagen re-teamed because they simply enjoy working together: crafting the songs and arrangements, designing the production, shoehorning in-jokes into the lyrics, finding the exact performances that fit their specifications. In this sense, Two Against Nature is no different than any past Steely Dan effort; that's exactly why it's welcome, since they find nearly endless permutations within their signature sound. Lyrically, the album isn't quite as malicious as their '70s work, but they haven't lost their sharp humor, even on some mere throwaway lines. The real payoff, however, is musical. Each song gradually reveals its own identity through small, thrilling touches, giving the record depth and character, and fitting it comfortably into Steely Dan's acclaimed body of work. And that's as delightfully unexpected and peculiarly beautiful as anything else in their career.
Rolling Stone - David Wild
Two Against Nature is Dan defined. The album mixes world-class chops and jazzy, postgraduate soul sound with some wonderful, vague storytelling.
Entertainment Weekly - Chris Willman
The core elements are unchanged: white-hot chops, black humor, and a flair for the cryptic.

Two Against Nature is Dan defined. The album mixes world-class chops and jazzy, postgraduate soul sound with some wonderful, vague storytelling.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/29/2000
  • Label: Giant Records / Wea
  • UPC: 075992471923
  • Catalog Number: 24719
  • Sales rank: 12,113

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Steely Dan Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Donald Fagen Organ, Piano, fender rhodes, Wurlitzer
Walter Becker Bass, Guitar
Tom Barney Bass
Leroy Clouden Snare Drums
Vinnie Colaiuta Snare Drums
Sonny Emory Snare Drums
Lawrence Feldman Clarinet, Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Gordon Gottlieb Percussion
Mike Harvey Background Vocals
Any Helm Human Whistle
Jon Herington Acoustic Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Paul Jackson Jr. Guitar
Ricky Lawson Drums
Will Lee Percussion
Lou Marini Alto Saxophone
Hugh McCracken Guitar
Dean Parks Guitar
Chris Potter Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Jim Pugh Trombone
Roger Rosenberg Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone
Daniel Sadownick Percussion, Timbales
Steve Shapiro Vibes
David Tofani Saxophone
Michael White Drums, Snare Drums
Ted Baker Piano, fender rhodes
Jon Herrington Rhythm Guitar
Michael Leonhart Trumpet, Conductor, Wurlitzer
Carolyn Leonhart Background Vocals
Keith Carlock Snare Drums
Cynthia Calhoun Background Vocals
Amy Helm Whistle (Instrument)
Michael Hitchcock Trumpet
David Schenk Vibes
Technical Credits
Donald Fagen Arranger, Producer, Horn Arrangements
Walter Becker Arranger, Producer, Horn Arrangements
Roger Nichols Engineer
Ken Ross Engineer
Elliot Scheiner Engineer
Phil Burnett Engineer
Michael Leonhart Horn Arrangements
Scott Hull Mastering
Dave Russell Engineer
Johan Edlund Engineer
Jay A. Ryan Engineer
Peta Scriba Engineer
Anthony Gorman Engineer
Per-Christian Nielsen Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    'Dan Worth the Wait

    Steely Dan's new outing '2 Against Nature' proves beyound any doubt that Becker & Fagen are back, and better than ever. The usual ingredients are all there - superb arrangements, elegant, witty lyrics and the patented 'Dan feel that makes every track live on in your head long after the CD has ended. From the oh-so-close-to-swing of Shame About Me to the precision of Cousin Dupree this disc will delight over and over.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of their very best

    I am a devote Steely Dan fan and music lover, I would put this album right up at the top of the Steely Dan list along side Aja and The Royal Scam. I have everything that they have put out and this one really gets it. It is more Jazzy than Rock right in line with ''The Nightfly'' (one of Donalds solo albums), but has some tremendous power in many of the songs. It is a must for anyone who appreaciates fine music. It is recorded exceptionally well also, but that is nothing new for Walter and Donald.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Kudos to the Grammy voters

    The Grammy for this album just reminds me to return to this stunner and enjoy it all over again. The band's wit and musical technique provides total inspiration. Play it loud!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Clean, Tight, Smooth, and Self-Analytical as Ever

    One of the most unique bands of the 70s and 80s is back. They have the same sound, a clean, tight jazz/rock fusion. Their music has always been infectious, but their lyrics --- self-analytical, ironic, cerebral, you name it --- really set them apart. They've produced all-new tracks with that same spirit. This one is most definitely a keeper.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Old Emotions Rise Again

    I was just young the first time I heard Steely Dan- My parents were big fans and would play the records during dinner, happy hour, etc. I learned the lyrics for albums, nameless to me because it didn't matter at that point. I wasn't going to go out and buy the latest cut- I was 6. Listening to 'Two Against Nature' brings back all the same feelings of comfort & warmth and rekindles the ambiance of a relaxed Saturday evening with no-place-to-be-but-home, preparing and enjoying a home-cooked batch of pork-fried rice or a heavenly loaf of Mom's homemade bread. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the winding, funky tunes that have matured but not morphed; making for a truly enjoyable listening experience for both young (me?) and old (...Me?..) Jenny D.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    In A Class By Themselves........

    What a blessed relief to all us aging Boomers out here that Walter Becker and Donald Fagen have deigned to serve up another tasty helping of Bona Fide Steely Dan. These guys aren't just in a class by themselves in terms of craftsmanship and musical quality--they've virtually invented their own jazz-influenced sub-genre of popular music, with one practitioner: Steely Dan. The new album continues the logical stylistic evolution of W & D from AJA and GAUCHO, through Donald's second solo LP, KAMAKIRIAD, and Walter's first, ELEVEN TRACKS OF WHACK, with a whiff of jazz flutist Jeremy Steig's estimable Becker-produced 90's CD JIGSAW, to the present. Look for the familiar sophisticated jazz-chord-based melodies and progressions, internal key changes, sassy instrumental rhythms and solos, and Donald Fagen's utterly distinctive vocals. Also: if anything, the guys have grown even sharper lyrically. Wisdom of their years, I guess. In customarily hilarious black-humor style, they skewer the pomposities and conceits of their favorite targets--those of us indulging in assinine behavior--but leavening the vitriolic mockery with a surprising amount of tenderness, pathos, and empathy. These idiots (the song characters, not W & D!) really can't help themselves--they just don't get it. It's beyond their control. W & D draw their comically self-screwing characters with a sure eye. Buy the new Dan, it's fantastic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Worth the wait? You bet!

    2VN is, without a doubt, 100% Steely Dan. Although the sound is different in many ways from the old Dan there are also many similarities. Don't expect Aja revisited, but do expect the luscious textures, interesting tempos, sophisticated changes, and lyrical gymnastics that set the Dan apart from all others. This record may be a little more reminiscent of Donald Fegan's solo releases, but the return of Walter Becker's influence (a sardonic nastiness, directed at only those who deserve it) make this my pick for the best record in the last 10 years. The results of their collaboration is synergy at its best. This is not a band or record for the masses; too bad for the masses. Summary: Quite tasty!

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