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Pretzel Logic (Reissue)

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iTunes Review

Steely Dan's third album, Pretzel Logic is a transporting work of dazzling accomplishment, which is another way of saying it's really fun to listen to. From the opening notes of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" to the closing blues funk of "Monkey In Your Soul", this is a brilliant band's best album, more fully realized than anything they'd done up to this point, and not quite as over-produced as the albums that would come later. It's here that Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, still living as paupers in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon in the early '70s, came up with the perfect hybrid of brainy jazz-pop and exhilarating melodies.

Customer Reviews

Steely Dan's most accessible album

Their third effort, 1974's Pretzel Logic will offer its listeners much more than the radio hit "Rikki". Casual fans consider Logic Steely Dan's best album but true Dan Fans know that it's good but not the best. Night by Night is an upbeat funk tune complete with wah wah guitars and thick horn section, dig Fagen's nasaly vocals, very underrated song. Any Major Dude is a nice acoustic straighforward pop tune, we hear throughout the whole album Fagen becoming more comfortable with his voice and this is a nice example. Barrytown was written by Fagen without the help of his buddy Walt, it's a nice, choppy song with an unusual melody and nice bridge. East St. Louis is a Duke Ellington instrumental filled with solos, that's Fagen playing the piano and saxophone, the only time he was ever recorded on the horn, dig the talk box guitar pretending to be a trumpet and the rhythm section provided by a banjo of all things. Parkers' Band is their tribute to the Bird, nice use of two drum sets (one in the right speaker, one in the left), pulsing rhythm plus good sax work and droning organ, they still haven't set up their jazzy sound but this song gives us a glimpse into the future. Through With Buzz is the only filler song The Dan ever recorded, cheesy strings and Fagen singing in his lowest register ever recorded. The Title Track is an eery minor blues with nice electric piano and guitar work throughout, it's about time travel people! listen to the lyrics. With A Gun sounds like the opening to an Indiana Jones movie but in a good way, nice story with acoustic guitars carrying the rhythm. Charlie Freak is an unbelievably beautiful piece of music, wonderful piano work with a very simple arrangement, just piano, drums, and bass until the eery guitar effect comes in, sounds like a synthesized violin almost, the lyrics tell a great story. The closer Monkey in Your Soul is a funky blues tune with fuzz box bass droning throughout, dig Fagen's heartfelt vocals, "ah fear da monkay in ya so wull".... wonderful. Overall, the most accessible Steely Dan album, casual music fans will find a lot to like in this album, mostly straight ahead progressive rock filled with interesting surprises.

The best they ever did

While every one i've ever met seems to think that aja or goucho or can't buy a thrill is steely dan's best album i have to completely disagree. this is the best for the simple reason that it has an incredible number of great songs. Rikki, Night by night, any major dude, pretzel logic, barrytown, etc. its got all you could ever ask for from steely dan

For Your Consideration...

Fans will argue without resolution over Steely Dan's greatest, or most entertaining, or most important album, and with good reason. "Aja" and "Countdown to Ecstasy" deserve consideration, and there are great songs on any album that isn't touted as the group's finest. While it's not necessary to choose only one effort in their catalog, it's easy to argue that no single album provides a broader view of Steely Dan than "Pretzel Logic". For all their impressive jazz ambitions, no other album can match the twin pedigree of "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" and "Parker's Band". As far as their overplayed pop hits are concerned, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", with its groovy intro, is not only tolerable, it's the lone oversaturated hit and conveniently opens the album, allowing the rest to unfold less comparatively. "Night by Night" is fusion at its best, "Pretzel Logic" rocks as hard as anything they've recorded, and "With a Gun" may be as close as they cared to explore country-based sounds. No matter which Steely Dan album is ultimately deemed "The Best", it's hard to deny the wide-ranging pleasures of "Pretzel Logic" as a contender.


Formed: 1972 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Most rock & roll bands are a tightly wound unit that developed their music through years of playing in garages and clubs around their hometown. Steely Dan never subscribed to that aesthetic. As the vehicle for the songwriting of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, Steely Dan defied all rock & roll conventions. Becker and Fagen never truly enjoyed rock -- with their ironic humor and cryptic lyrics, their eclectic body of work shows some debt to Bob Dylan -- preferring jazz, traditional pop, blues, and...
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