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Circus Money

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Album Review

Walter Becker's second solo album, Circus Money, arrives 14 years after his first, 1994's 11 Tracks of Whack — which just happens to be the span of time separating 11 Tracks and Steely Dan's Gaucho, the last album Becker cut before going solo. Apart from producing credits, he was quiet during that first 14 years but during the second Steely Dan became a going concern again, as Becker's reunion with Donald Fagen — first broached when the former produced the latter's 1993 record, Kamakiriad, a favor Fagen returned for 11 Tracks — turned into something permanent, a base that they could pivot from and release solo projects. Circus Money is about as solo as it gets for Becker, as it represents the first time he's recorded an album without the collaboration of Fagen, choosing to work with producer/writer Larry Klein instead. Not that you could tell any of this from the sound of the album, as this shares the same impeccable production and soft jazz grooves that have been the duo's stock in trade since Gaucho. Sonically speaking, this is a close blood relative to Everything Must Go, just as Fagen's 2006 solo album Morph the Cat was, but Circus Money is thematically the opposite of Morph, as it's not a concept album and it's ever so slightly less reliant on jazzy, keyboard-driven rhythms, feeling more like the work of a small-scale combo — a combo that happens to have a penchant for really relaxed reggae rhythms, a new development that is the only new wrinkle in Becker's sound and one that fits in easily with the mellow, immaculately soulful grooves. At its heart, Circus Money is a groove album — a pristine, precise groove album to be sure, but this is an album where feel is paramount, so much so that it takes a few listens to dig into the sardonic dirty jokes, satire, and vignettes that Becker serves up in each of the 12 songs. Again, this is nothing new but that doesn't mean it's unwelcome, as Becker continues to live up to his high self-imposed standards with this very fine album. Plus, hearing him here on his own, completely separate from his running partner, makes it easier to appreciate that dry wit and sly guitar, two things that have always been his calling card but resonate strongly when heard outside of Steely Dan. [Sonic360's 2008 edition included one bonus track.]

Customer Reviews


音を聞いた瞬間に、なぜ一緒に創らなかったのか不思議だった。Fagenとは明らかに同じ方向を向いている。 今作の方がより明快な印象を受けるが、目指す所は同じであろう。ではなぜSteely Danとしての新作にせず、全く二人別々に発表したのか? 磁石の同極はつねに同じ方向を向くが、近づけすぎると反発する。再結成後の二人は距離の幅が近寄りすぎたのか。今後の二人の競作がさらに楽しみになった。 Becker のボーカルは前作を遥かに凌駕する味わいのある唄声である。 

迷ってる あなた...アルバムごと買った方がいい!!

まさに聞き飽きないアルバムとは、このアルバムの事だね. :) 音の質がマジ いいね.. todas musicas sao 10!! mt show de bola!! (ポルトガル語ですごくイカしてるアルバムって意味) 


スティーリー・ダンが好きな方なら決して見過す事のできないハーモニーの宝庫のアルバム。これはまさしく”買い”です。 バンド・サウンドとしては、70〜80年代で使用していた楽器類と大差はないかもしれない。ただ、それらの楽器を漠然と鳴らしてしまえば懐古的な音の世界にもなりがちであるが、本作品ではレゲエやダブミュージックにも寄り添っていてオルタナな音にも仕上がっていて、そのバランスが絶妙だと思う。捨て曲が1つもなくアルバムをフルで通して聞ける作品に久々に出会うことができた。フェイゲンのNiteflyがフェイゲンのみならずスティーリー・ダンをも象徴する代表的な作品と位置づけられているが、Circus Moneyも間違いなく代表的な作品となるであろう。ガウチョや幻想の摩天楼などのアルバムの雰囲気にも近いように思う。


Born: February 20, 1950 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Guitarist/bassist/songwriter/producer Walter Becker hooked up with his partner Donald Fagen when both were attending Bard College in upstate New York in the late '60s. They became members of Jay and the Americans, then signed a songwriting contract with ABC Records in the early '70s. At ABC, they formed the group Steely Dan, who gradually dwindled down to just the two of them while they sold millions of records during the '70s. They split up in 1981, with Becker turning to a part-time producing career...
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Circus Money, Walter Becker
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