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.
|Label:||Giant Records / Wea|
Performance CreditsSteely Dan 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 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 CreditsDonald 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
Dave Russell Engineer
Johan Edlund Engineer
Jay A. Ryan Engineer
Peta Scriba Engineer
Anthony Gorman Engineer
Per-Christian Nielsen Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.