Katy Lied

Steely Dan

MCA, 1975

http://www.steelydan.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/13/2006

Katy Lied has the honor of being the only Steely Dan album without a personality.

It's not a bad listen, but it's not a fulfilling one either. This time around, the cynicism seems forced, the lyrics don't bite as hard as usual, the stories are weak and the songs aren't as memorable. Granted, with any Steely Dan album, there is bound to be excellent musicianship, but on the whole my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Katy Lied fails to fully entertain.

At this point, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were relying on professional studio musicians and not touring, so this album sounds perfect. Not one note out of place, not one solo with heart in it, not one song that goes above and beyond standard Steely Dan fare. Even the harder songs don't rock as they have before, and the subdued jazz numbers aren't as meaningful as they used to be.

Sonically, the album is an extension of Pretzel Logic. There is a semi-rock song in "Black Friday," which lacks real punch, and "Chain Lightning" is the closest to blues the Dan ever got, though without soul it means little.

"Daddy Don't Live In New York City No More" has the best hook on here and a great cynical vocal by Fagen, over top of some understated keyboard work that subtly enhances the song. "Doctor Wu," a tale about addiction, has the most lyrical resonance and could have fit nicely on Aja. The guys also try a bit of calypso with "Everyone's Gone To The Movies," but the song falls apart in the chorus.

"Your Gold Teeth II" doesn't capture the spirit of the original, while "Bad Sneakers" and "Any World (That I'm Welcome To)" are just average. "Rose Darling" is occasionally good, as is the closer "Throw Back The Little Ones," a decent jazz/pop piece ruined by Fagen's singing.

Clearly, after two subpar albums, Steely Dan was in need of a different direction, one which would come soon enough. Katy Lied, though, is the weakest Steely Dan album to date and one least essential for seeking out.

Rating: C-

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