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First Dive to Sunken Condos
on October 16, 2012
"First Dive to Visit Fagen's Sunken Condos"
I've had trouble doing anything but listen to Donald Fagen's Sunken Condos since it streamed yesterday, 10/9, one week before its official release.
I'm on eight times straight through so far.
Like fine wine, it gets better with each listen. And like most of Fagen's material, it's very complex with lots of musical intricacies. Sunken Condos is a mixture of jazz, blues, rock, and 70's funk--and Fagen has never been in better form.
Sunken Condos is Fagen's strongest solo material EVER. Better than The Nightfly--and I LOVE Nightfly.
It surpasses Steely Dan's Grammy Award winning Two Against Nature. And as good as Walter Becker is at contributing to Steely Dan, Fagen proves he is and always has been Steely Dan's driving force.
THIS IS GRAMMY AWARD MATERIAL!!
Donald made a great choice having Michael Leonhart co-produce. Michael `gets it' and his horn playing/orchestration are powerful. The recording is ideal- typical for perfectionist Fagen.
A pass at the songs-
1) Slinky Thing- funky- love the horns and xylophone- an older guy chasing or with a young chick and doubting himself.
2) I'm Not the Same Without You- love the melodica, which Donald uses more on Sunken Condos than on any other CD's and handles it like a madman--- very upbeat-- and optimistic about a break up- think the opposite of The Things I Miss the Most from Everything Must Go. Great vocals! Takes all of Steely Dan and solo efforts---shakes `em up--- and pours out one of the best songs he's ever written.
3) Memorabilia- great muted horns, sweet and soulful. More great vocals. The gals do a great job of complimenting Donald.
4) Weather in My Head- very bluesy- more outstanding horns/backing vocals- super nice guitar solo- B.B Kingish- I assume its Jon Herrington.
5) The New Breed- reminds me of Gaucho's My Rival--- organs--- freakin' great horns- and more melodica. More vocal harmonies. Donald's voice as strong as ever.
6) Out of the Ghetto (Isaac Hayes cover)- very funky--think War's Slippin' Into Darkness. "I took you out of the ghetto, but I could not get the ghetto out of you."
7) Miss Marlene- THIS SONG TOTALLY ROCKS- a little I.G.Y., a little Ruby Baby. Vocal blend is unbelievable- takes the best of SD-- gives me the chills--another totally great guitar solo by Herrington.
8) Good Stuff- TOTALLY FUNK-EEEE! Love the off key piano- more out-freakin'-ragous muted horns-- melodica-- xylophone---backing vocals--think Haitian Divorce--sounds like a Sopranos episode, both lyrical and musically--- "East Patterson"-- reprise of "There's a special satisfaction when a job comes off so right- better break out the good stuff, the boss wants to party all night."
9) Planet d'Rhonda- Jazzy- "somewhere between 19 and 38"--sweet with more outstanding vocal arrangement--AND yet more Herrington guitar. Think Chain Lightening--- stretchin' out, like Donald said "Have at it, Jon". "My friends say `Jim, you're on a deadly spree.' They just can't understand that D's my vitamin XYZ."
I guarantee the reviews will praise Sunken Condos, proving you don't get old--you get better. I don't know what's gotten into Donald, but it's ridiculously good. Sunken Condos is an epiphany for Fagen, like vintage wine that has fermented for hundreds of years, is opened, and will be enjoyed for many more.