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Steely Dan – Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)

November 13, 2016

usatunesoftheworld

Unbelievable USA logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

USA Artists (so far): Aimee Mann, Marty Robbins, D’Angelo, The Modern Lovers, Bruce Springsteen, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Steely Dan

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[Album 486/1001]

Broccoli.

Despite the adults in my life being near unanimous in their praise for the dark green cruciferous vegetable, in my youth, I had no use for it whatsoever.

In fact, I thought Newman from Seinfeld said it best when he called Broccoli a “vile weed!”

But eventually, I stopped trying to hide it in my dinner table napkin.

And slowly but surely, after repeated exposure, I started to, dare I say, enjoy it.

So much so that I now devour it gladly raw or cooked, in salads, stir fries, and casseroles.

Vile weed no more!

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Steely Dan is my musical broccoli.

This is their fourth of four albums on the list.

The first, Can’t Buy a Thrill, didn’t, err, wow me. But I managed to choke it down without complaint.

My second review, Pretzel Logic, featured the line, “…I have neither dreaded nor really looked forwarsteely_dan-countdown_to_ecstacyd to repeated listens of Pretzel Logic.” As if I was inspecting a dinner plate, neutrally observing, “Oh, it’s broccoli, again.”

For round three, Aja, I had my A-ha moment: Steely Dan’s an excellent source of so many great musical components. It still doesn’t excite me, I probably still won’t seek it out, but I appreciate what it has to offer & I’ll be happy to consume it at a friend’s house.

Finally, this month’s adventure, Countdown to Ecstasy. The grownups were right all along: I’m starting to really like Steely Dan!

The songs are complex, not too sweet & maybe even a tad bitter at times.

It works in a variety of contexts, I’m starting to seek it out recreationally (not just because my mom said I should), and quite frankly, it’s usually delicious.

All this talk is making me a bit peckish; if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to help myself to another serving.

…..

Verbalize the positive

I appreciate how Wayne @ Cave of Fame has been so generous in sharing his family’s experience with Cancer over the past few years. Wayne, I hope you realize how many people you’ve helped through your writing, helping us all to understand we’re not alone on our journeys.

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From → 1970s

45 Comments
  1. Steely Dan. Grown up music.

    Jeff Woods has a bit on Legends of Classic Rock about Donald Fagan and Steely Dan.
    It’s a good listen if you can find it.

    • I quite like Legends of Classic Rock – and now that I seem to be gravitating to grown up music, I think I’d quite like that episode!

    • Too grown up for me but Goddamnit I love broccoli.

      • In my younger days, I wouldn’t have tolerated such praise for the vegetable formerly known as vile weed!

  2. Very amusing use of the broccoli metaphor. Hate to say this, but the other albums are all good too. Particularly ‘Gaucho’ and ‘Katy Lied’. It took me ages before I wrote on any Dan* – perhaps because I had too much reverence. Should have just thought about cruciferous vegetables.

    * Aja is still the only Vinyl Connection feature.

    • I’ve seen Gaucho at decent price points, that’ll likely be my next ‘Dan’ investment – and if the other albums being good is the follow up to a ‘hate to say this’ preamble, that’s a nice problem to have. Thanks Bruce!

      • I have gotten a lot of near mint Steely Dan in the thrift stores.

        Their loss I guess. At least the adult listeners keep them in nice shape.

      • That’s where I scooped my LPs too – all in good shape at good prices. The cashier even said ‘nice find!’

  3. I’ve had the exact same experience with broccoli as yourself. But have no experience of Steely Dan I’m afraid. I imagine broccoli is more nutritious?

  4. My daughter and I were chopping veggies and we were about to toss the stalk. We questioned about trying to chop them up. We tossed them into to steamer.
    They are quite good. I would say more flavourful than the floret.

  5. I like broccoli, but it doesn’t like me. For whatever reason, whenever I eat it, it makes me feel sick. Weird, and sad, because I do like it.

    As for Steely Dan, I haven’t dipped my toes at all in their stuff yet. I think I have an LP or two of theirs in the Man Cave, so eventually I’ll get to them!

    • I can assure you Aaron, no upset stomachs should result from a Man Cave Steely Dan listen!

      • Yeah, but then will I be a grown-up? ‘Cos I really don’t want a minivan.

      • Or to modify the Pursuit of Happiness tune, with the minivan, you’d be an adult now!

      • Gah! NO! I always figured that if you bought a minivan you had to turn in one of your testicles at th same time.

        Not. Happening.

  6. Geoff, I’ve nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award! You can pick it up at https://danicapiche.wordpress.com/2016/11/13/the-mystery-blogger-award/
    If you’re unable to participate please accept this as a gesture of my appreciation. 🙂

  7. Four! Yikes! That’s a fair few entries for one artist, huh? Anyhoo, I’ve seen Aja many times when I’ve been browsing the record stores and while it’s on my list to pick up / check out (on account of its status as a winner), I’ve just never gotten to it. Guess it’s knowing that from the moment I put a Steely Dan album in my collection I am officially an adult. Lordy! Never seen this one, though. Also, broccoli makes for a good addition to that album cover… could perhaps suggest it for the 45th Anniversary Deluxe edition in a few years.

    Also, I second your verbalising of the positive. I very much like this concept and I completely agree about Wayne’s sharing of his journey.

    • Haha, it’s tough to commit to being an adult – my wife & I have put off buying a family minivan for that same reason, the second we do, we’re officially adults!

      I’m curious if the band would approve of the broccoli association – surely there are some cross-marketing opportunities there!

      Cheers J!

  8. I can’t give you an unbiased opinion on either Broccoli or Steely Dan, and each are at the love/hate spectrum, but I can give you a clue as to my devotion to Steely Dan. Jeff (Skunk) Baxter, the outstanding guitarist you can hear on this album led me to retrace his steps back to a 60s band I also love…Ultimate Spinach! As it happens, push a plate of this vegetable and I’ll eat it with relish. Broccoli….meh! way overrated.

    • Ultimate Spinach, that’s fantastic! Funny how the roads led back to the dark green vegetables – who knows Geoff, Steely Dan was my broccoli, broccoli may end up being your Steely Dan!

  9. Well Geoff you got me here — I’ve never heard this album nor seen it before.

    • It was new to me this year – but at $5 for the LP, solid return on investment!

      • I should say so. Steely Dan are an interesting band. I don’t know if $5 could lead you wrong with any of their original albums!

      • I wouldn’t have always agreed but now that I’ve finally acquired the taste for them, agreed!

      • Oh for sure there is some adjustment to their vibe. But guaranteed you’re going to hear something musically interesting every time.

      • And I think a new layer of Steely Dan gets revealed each listen too

      • A fair assumption.

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