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11 Tracks of Whack

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Customer Reviews

One of my top 5, ever...

I wrote a very long review of this album, trying to explain why I feel it is one of my top 5 of all time. But when I hit 'submit' iTunes timed out and the last 30 minutes of my life have now been for naught. I will be brief then: I just love this album. I come back to it again and again and always find something new in it. Its introspective and complex - incredibly plaintive in places yet not afraid to find the humor in tragedy. Its musically involving. Lyrically sophisticated. And it sounds nothing like a Steely Dan album.

11 Tracks of That?

I don't think this album sounds like Steely Dan at all. Unless you count new Steely Dan as Steely Dan. But there's something to be said for what Becker sets out to do here on his own and he succeeds in as much as he fails. Becker's limited vocals take some getting used to, but his apathetic/quasi-depressed drawl actually suited the zeitgeist of mid 90s alternative rock quite well and he ends up sounding somewhere to the left of Jerry Cantrell and to the right of Kurt Cobain (if he had been limited to an octave). Some soulful accents are added in the backup vocals, but they feel forced, not at all graceful like they do in Fagen compositions, and generally reinforce the fact that Becker is not a singer. One can't help but wonder why it took Becker so long to release a solo album and why he chose a moment in musical history that was too static for his style. "11 Tracks of Whack" sounds fairly dated now, though at the moment, the production contained much of what was fashionable including electric drum kits with looped like lines played by live drummers and one or two gratuitous expletives to show you that Becker wasn't screwing around. The songwriting is obviously more ambitious and jazz inflected than the pop music Becker was trying to compete with/ape and one is thankful that he found room for his excellent guitar playing at a time where guitar solos were becoming obsolete to musical simplicity. But most of Becker's musical talents are relegated to nuances under the simple nature of the songs. "Down At the Bottom," "My Waterloo" and "Book of Liars" are all pleasant but unexceptional songs. On the whole, this is a very average album and those who would assign it five stars are probably more infatuated with Walter Becker's musical legacy than with the musical content here. I think this album proves what many of us have always known; that Walter Becker is a talented guitarist and producer, but without the harmonic sensibilities and lyrical craftsmanship of Donald Fagen, is just another one of many.

Released in 1994, not 2006

A correction: This album was released in 1994 (it was only added to iTunes in 2006)

Biography

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...
Full Bio
11 Tracks of Whack, Walter Becker
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  • $7.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Pop, Pop/Rock
  • Released: Sep 27, 1994

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