9 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After reviving Steely Dan for a string of concerts in the mid-Nineties, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker officially ended their twenty-year hiatus in 2000, with the release of Two Against Nature. Unbelievably, Fagen and Becker have lost none of their taste or technical expertise. The album picks up exactly where Gaucho left off. The duo’s fusion of jazz, pop and rock is as precisely rendered and spotless as a figure of fine glassware. Even better, their lyrics have become more incisive with age. Rather than pursue a simple nostalgia trip, Two Against Nature follows a cast of characters, who, like Fagen and Becker, are reuniting and reexamining their former lives. The names alone are priceless: Bobby Dakine, Madame Erzulie, T-Bone Angie, Janie Runaway, and Anna de Siecle, to name a few. The album’s theme of love misplaced and inevitable loneliness is epitomized in “What A Shame About Me,” in which a former flame’s invitation to a hotel rendezvous is met by abdication: “I said babe you look delicious / And you're standing very close / But like this is lower Broadway / And you're talking to a ghost / Take a good look it's easy to see / What a shame about me.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

After reviving Steely Dan for a string of concerts in the mid-Nineties, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker officially ended their twenty-year hiatus in 2000, with the release of Two Against Nature. Unbelievably, Fagen and Becker have lost none of their taste or technical expertise. The album picks up exactly where Gaucho left off. The duo’s fusion of jazz, pop and rock is as precisely rendered and spotless as a figure of fine glassware. Even better, their lyrics have become more incisive with age. Rather than pursue a simple nostalgia trip, Two Against Nature follows a cast of characters, who, like Fagen and Becker, are reuniting and reexamining their former lives. The names alone are priceless: Bobby Dakine, Madame Erzulie, T-Bone Angie, Janie Runaway, and Anna de Siecle, to name a few. The album’s theme of love misplaced and inevitable loneliness is epitomized in “What A Shame About Me,” in which a former flame’s invitation to a hotel rendezvous is met by abdication: “I said babe you look delicious / And you're standing very close / But like this is lower Broadway / And you're talking to a ghost / Take a good look it's easy to see / What a shame about me.”

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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
75 Ratings
75 Ratings
Mattbluhalofan ,

Two Against Nature Come Out Victorious

Steely Dan weren't finished, they just wanted to take about twenty years off.

A brief reunion turned into a tour, and a tour turned into Steely Dan's first album in twenty years, "Two Against Nature". The title perfectly reflects The Dan's situation, as they seemed to beat the odds, come back with a great album, and after two losses win the Grammy for Album Of The Year. The production is slick, polished, and precise as ever, taking even farther the classic jazz-pop sound of Steely Dan. Gaslighting Abbie, Janie Runaway and Jack Of Speed are among the album's funkier cuts, What A Shame About Me and Cousin Dupree are on the slicker side, and West Of Hollywood and the title (and my favorite) track rock out, the latter containing a heavy Latin flavor. Unfortunately, Almost Gothic and Negative Girl seriously tow that line between "slick" and "boring"--both lack strong melodies or anything really memorable. But two sub-par tracks are nothing compared to the greatness of the other seven. A hardcore fan should already own this album, and a casual fan should definitely look into purchasing it. 8/10, 5/5.

sparkyparks ,

Some of their best!

Been following the works of Fagen and Becker since the early 70's. This album absolutely proves they are still on their A game. In fact, it may be their best work yet!!

legalmind333 ,

Love Steely Dan music

All the time

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