Donald Fagen

Band members                             Related acts

- Donald Fagen -- vocals, keyboards, melodica


  backing musicians (2013)

- Ed Cook Jr. -- drums

- Jon Herington -- rhythm guitar

- Carolyne Leonhart -- backing vocals

- Jamie Leonhart -- backing vocals

- Michael Leonhart -- keyboards, percussion, viibraphone, 

  backing vocals

- Kurt Rosenwinkel -- lead guitar

- Lincoln Schliefer -- bass




- Steely Dan





Genre: pop

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Sunken Condos

Company: Reprise

Catalog: 5327728-2

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: CD format

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: --


I've grown to deal with the fact being a Donald Fagen / Steely Dan Fan isn't a particularly stance in this day and age.  My family refers to Fagen (and Becker) as "lounge act", complaining about their limited singing abilities, and their MOR-ish jazzy arrangements.   In other words, they hate everything I love about Fagen and Steely Dan.   Anyhow, the upside is that if I want to clear a room out, a Fagen song achieves the intent within a couple of minutes,   


So 2013's "Sunken Condos" isn't going to appeal to a broad, new audience, but his existing fan base should find it a return to prime form.   Fagen doesn't exactly stretch his artistic boundaries on this one - no collaboration with this week's hot rapper, or pimply faced dj.   Tracks like '', '' and '' reflect an instantly recognizable Fagen sound - super smooth, hyper-produced jazzy moves coupled with lyrics that are enigmatic and frequently ominous and slightly disturbing.  I suspect lots of folks would give it one spin and walk away put off by the jazzy vibe and what they hear as sterlie production.   Don't.  Give it a chance.


"Sunken Condos" track listing:
1.) Slinky Thing   (Donald Fagen) - 

Fagen may be able to capture the triumphs and embarrassments of aging better than anyone in popular music and 'Slinky Thing' does a great job of capturing how tough life must be for an aging rocker lusting for hot, young groupies.  not a lot of that going on in my line of work.    Musically this was an instantly recognizable slice of late-inning Fagen/Steely Dan jazz-rock with special kudos to Lincoln Schliefer's acoustic, upright bass.    rating: *** stars

2.) I'm Not the Same without You   (Donald Fagen) - 

One of the better melodies he's written in a couple of years, the downbeat title was offset by a bouncy, up-tempo arrangement with Fagen showcasing his technical skills on the melodica.  Apparently about rebirth after the end of a nasty relationship, in typical Dan fashion, I half expected the main character to walk into a closet and slash his wrists.   rating: **** stars

3.) Memorabilia   (Donald Fagen) - 

No idea what it's about, but 'Memorabilia' was built on a slinky little groove with a funky '50s feel - would have fit well on "The Nightfly".  One of the album's "growers" ...   I've found myself humming it at unexpected times.   rating: **** stars

4.) Weather In My Head   (Donald Fagen) - 

Kicked along by some tasty Kurt Rosenwinkel  lead guitar, 'Weather In My Head' was the album's most Steely Dan-esque tune.  Tuneful and ominous, the song had kind of a "Taxi Driver" vibe going on.   Nobody can create that dark and disturbing feel as well as Fagen.  For anyone interested, YouTube has a clip of Fagen performing the song on David Letterman:  rating: **** stars

5.) The New Breed   (Donald Fagen) - 

Another track with a "The Nightfly" '50s beat-jazz vibe.   Ah, relationship paranoia runs deep through his veins.  rating: *** stars

6.) Out of the Ghetto   (Isaac Hayes) - 

Fagen doesn't do a lot of covers so seeing him do a cover of Isaac Hayes' 'Out of the Ghetto' was a real surprise.   Fagen's arrangement maintains some of the original's funky edge, but gives the song a Steely Dan-ish feel which will probably be lost on Hayes fans.  I've got mixed feelings about it, though it was way different than your average Fagen song.   rating: *** stars

7.) Miss Marlene   (Donald Fagen) - 

Ah, Fagen nirvana - silky smooth groove; wonderful melody, one of his best vocals and a typically enigmatic lyric that seemed to mix transgender lifestyle with bowling ...   rating: **** stars

8.) Good Stuff   (Donald Fagen) - 

Dark, scary, mysterious lyrics (prohibition era liquor smugglers ?), coupled with a funky melody.   That's always been part of the appeal for me ...  some day I'll have an idea what this one's about.   rating: **** stars

9.) Planet D'Rhonda   (Donald Fagen) - 

The album's lone disappointment, 'Planet D'Rhonda' was an addition to Fagen's ever lengthening list of troubled female characters, though this one sounded a bit like 'Pixeleen' on tranquilizers.   rating: ** stars






A pas

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.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D's My Vitamin XYZ October 16, 2012
Format:Audio CD
Donald Fagen has done it again!! "Sunken Condos" is another instant classic. As usual, it is replete with the same level of superlative musicianship, lyricism, intelligence, class and style that's come to characterize his work. There is a familiarity that, in part, stems from allusions to the older classics in his catalog. DF musically refers to I.G.Y. and Ruby Baby (The Nightfly); King of The World (Countdown To Ecstasy); Pretzel Logic (Pretzel Logic); Your Gold Teeth II (Katy Lied); The Night Belongs To Mona (Morph The Cat); Deacon Blues (Aja); Trans-Island Skyway (Kamakiriad), Hey 19 (Gaucho), etc. throughout 'Condos.' This usage is rife with irony. DF's approach to newness was, in part, to use something old--something he's never done before. If it's true that creativity stops around age 50, no one told Donald, for the invention and experimentation in Condos makes that assertion ludicrous. His brilliant remake of Isaac Hayes' "Out of the Ghetto" alone negates the contention that he broke no new ground on this record. He also employed Upright Bass, Vibraphone and solo Violin, instruments he's rarely if ever used before, but that's not the only reason it sounds so fresh. There is an underlying sense of fun and joy in these songs. Only an artist of Donald's caliber and mindset can make a narrative about a bowler's untimely death (Miss Marlene) sound mellifluous. Condos is the work of an artist who is comfortable with life and himself. There is a brightness that shines through the track with even the darkest theme. Humor has always played a prominent role in SD/DF/WB oeuvre, but these songs are laugh-out-loud funny. ("Four old hippies/Drivin' in the rain/I asked for a lift--they said/Get used to the pain."--Weather In My Head) There is such heart, honesty, humor, self-awareness and warmth in these tracks that it's almost palpable. Like all Fagen/Becker compositions, Condos will take hold of your soul and won't let go. Rather than regale you with my personal opinions on each track, I'll say this: I have listened to it on a continuous loop for a week now and I just can't get over it. This will live in my ipod for the next 9 months at least.

Before Sunken Condos, Michael Leonhart and the Avramina 7's Seahorse And The Storyteller lived on a constant loop in my playlist (It comes highly recommended, as well). A big congrats goes out to the multi-talented Leonhart who co-produced with Fagen and played drums on every track. He also contributed a plethora of other instrumentation throughout the album (guitar, keys, clavinet, vibes, trumpet, voice, etc.) Donald was looking for a laid-back feel that was reminiscent of drummers from the '30s and '40s and Michael was an audacious choice who delivered. As a long-time Leonhart fan as well, I'm glad to see him get his well-deserved turn in the spotlight. I predict he will become a highly in-demand producer following this stellar effort. I also predict Sunken Condos will garner lots of acclaim and award nominations come 2013-14. (I'd love to see DF inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a soloist) Well, I'm off to take another dose of Vitamin D(F). I don't know what pill Don has been taking, but the entire music industry needs a hefty dose, stat!



So, the nine new songs on Sunken Condos are same procedure as always? Yes. And No. Sure, Fagen does the same thing he's done on the other three albums he's released under his name - hi-gloss, ultra-cool Pop songs produced to utter perfection, devoid once again of Pop music's "achievements" from the past twenty or so years (hiphop, ...), not to forget the cynical (or rather, pessimistic?) attitude expressed in the lyrics, which unlike in the majority of Pop releases are indeed worthy of paying attention to, as they start from the fact that the listener is intelligent. As usual, fans will rejoice while the critics and fans of Indie-Rock will frown. But those who dismiss Donald Fagen's music as old-man-music are beside the point. Repeated listening (a reflex, in my case) of the nine songs (only!) reveals the new album's USP.

Fagen's music is white-eyed Soul-Pop with heavy leanings toward Jazz and Blues, expressed in the frequent basic Blues patterns and the refined improvised solos by the musicians. This sober account, however, doesn't cover the fact that nobody does it as well as Fagen, not even that other perfectionist, Sting, whose erratic output shows that, in comparison to Fagen's portfolio, rare but meticulously polished albums which contain not a single filler may sometimes be the superior strategy.

The stubbornness concerning Fagen's style of music now seems to reveal to me more than the characteristics of an aging Capricorn, but rather the brave, Don-Quijote-like tilting at windmills of a true music veteran who is disenchanted by the music industry's attitude toward genuine artistic creation, who is disenchanted by the music-buying public distracted by their smart-phones, who is disenchanted by the majority of the producers of Pop music pleased with themselves and their digital production environments, and who is disenchanted by general path the world seems to have taken.
Fagen's answer is his music, and his fine-tuning of each song (an uncool attitude, in some critics' eyes) is part of a political message. And it expresses how highly he values the artistic process.

Sunken Condos abounds with sophisticated brass charts, cool harmony vocals, precise drum and bass work, instrumental solos which are to the point (e.g. Jon Herington's heartfelt solo on Weather in my Head). And of course, there's Donald Fagen and his inimitably casual manner, and his voice, which hasn't lost any of its expressiveness and funkiness.

I'm sure I'll get over my grudges against Fagen for once again not having included a ballad. I mean, am I the only one who thinks that Third World Man was a heart-breaking ballad and the perfect way to finish Gaucho? Please, Donald, when you get ready for the next album, which will be roughly in eight years, PLEASE end it with a melancholy, endlessly fading ballad!

Initial faves include Weather in My Head, Good Stuff, and  I'm Not the Same Without You (Wow: towards the end, the song develops the drive of Lemon in the Honey; see: The Very Best of Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band!)

Sunken Condos is one of the most conspicuous aspirants to the "album-of-the-year".

PS. This happens to be my 2700th review here at RYM.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48707917]
yeda Oct 26, 2012 4.50 stars|+2
Ist das wirklich schon wieder soooo lange her seit Morph The Cat? Hätte ich auch ein reguläres Steely-Dan-Album vorgezogen, so nehme ich doch auch immer gerne ein Fagen-Album als Stellvertreter. Und es ist wirklich ein würdiger Stellvertreter.

Die Hookline, die der Kontrabaß direkt im funkigen "Slinky Thing" spielt, zieht einen unbarmherzig in dieses großartige Album, das einen dann später noch mit Mundharmonika ("I'm Not the Same Without You"), mit Blues ("Weather in my Head") überrascht, sowie einer ungeheuer druckvollen Coverversion, inklusive Geige, von Issac Hayes' "Out of the Ghetto" (was fast schon wieder problematisch ist, weil sie in ihrer Funkyness so dermaßen heraussticht, daß sie die restlichen, originären Fagenstücke ein wenig zusammenscheißt und in die Ecke stellt, um zu zeigen, wer hier auf dem Funk-Schulhof die Hosen anhat). Zum Schluß kommt dann mit "Good Stuff" noch ein Bossanova oder zumindest sowas in der Art.

Dabei nörgelt Fagen mal wieder an den Frauen rum, immer noch sein Lieblingsthema: Frauen, die viel zu jung für ihn sind. Die viel zu quirlig für ihn sind. Deren Macken er nicht mehr ertragen kann. Und immer der klagende Unterton: Ich bin jetzt ein alter Sack, was soll ich halt machen? (Daß das eine Art Kunstfigur geworden ist, die er schon zu Steely-Dan-Zeiten erschaffen hat, und die in der Realität so nicht existiert, ist allerdings stark anzunehmen.) Jedenfalls nicht in Ruhestand gehen, Alter.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48468488]
PROGROCKASAURUS May 19, 2013 3.00 stars|
Donald Fagan continues making music that sound's like the late 70's never ended....and that's fine by me. Even if he isn't all that consistent or inspired, he still manages to crank out a few good tracks in a variation of the old latter-day "Steely Dan" sound. In fact ( me at least..) the last vinyl side here (...or the last 3 tracks on the CD..) could easily pass for what the first side of an imagined disc 2 of "Gaucho" might have sounded like if that record was a double Lp....very nice.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating53205769]
damnated Apr 03, 2013 2.50 stars|
Tipikus sophist-pop: tetszik ahogy indít aztán közepe táján elmúlik a sárm, ahhoz hogy az utolsó harmad unalmas legyen. Ezt mondjuk egy hallgatás után már untam, szóval ez gyengébb dolog is.
Nem tudom miért kényszerítem magam folyton ilyen albumokra.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating52212438]
Janzon Feb 27, 2013 3.50 stars|
Headphones, my friends. I feel so stupid for not realizing sooner that Fagen/Steely Dan really requires headphones. Oh well. Those old Steely records needed revisiting anyway.
Track ratings
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating51425359]
Communique Feb 03, 2013 4.00 stars|
Donald Fagen wurde mit  Steely Dan Anfang der siebziger Jahre berühmt, hat sein letztes relevantes Album mit dieser Band im Jahre 1980 veröffentlicht, und ist mittlerweile 65 Jahre alt. Seither hat er einige wenige Soloalben gemacht und ist zusammen mit seinem musical pal Walter Becker auch gelegentlich wieder als Steely Dan aktiv geworden.

Wie soll man nun seine neueste Musik bewerten, die exakt genauso klingt wie vor 30, 35 und mehr Jahren? Und Texte, in denen es bevorzugt immer noch sein Lieblingsthema, nämlich Verhältnisse mit sehr jungen Frauen geht?

Die besten Antworten auf die gestellten Fragen geben das deutsche Grundgesetz ('Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar'), Fagens eigene Homepage ('Donald Fagen is so old that the Wall Street Journal thinks he's cool') und last but not least sein aktuelles Album Sunken Condos.

Gleich der erste Song "Slinky Thing" handelt von einer 'little young beauty', die er an einem Oktobermorgen traf und sich in sie verknallte. Er ging mit ihr auf eine Party, wo alle dachten: Was macht dieses Mädchen mit so einem alten Hippie-Clown? Junge Männer grinsten ihn an, und irgend ein junger Punk sagte: 'Opa, pass auf, dass du das aufreizende Ding gut festhältst'.

Ist das nicht deprimierend? Ja, das ist es, aber Donald Fagen, der Grandseigneur des sophisticated Jazz-Pop, steht dazu und macht das Altern und den Verfall so öffentlich, wie es öffentlicher nicht möglich ist.

In "The New Breed" geht es, leicht abgewandelt, um das gleiche Thema: Der alte Sack verliert seine Freundin an einen jungen Typen. Textauszug: 'I get it - you look at me and think he's ready for Jurassic Park' und: 'You the new breed alright / I guess you're what she wants now / You're young and strong and you own the night / Good luck to you both, I'll get along somehow'. Das tut verdammt weh, aber Fagen überspielt die hinter den Zeilen lauernde Verzweiflung mit nonchalanter Ironie und schafft es, trotzdem irgendwie as cool as fuck zu bleiben - zumindest musikalisch.

Denn mit Sunken Condos gelingt dem Altmeister nach langer Zeit ein ebenso raffiniertes wie menschliches, ein ebenso eingängiges wie komplexes Werk, eingespielt mit zwar wenig bekannten, aber hervorragenden Musikern, das fast nahtlos an die atemberaubende Qualität der besten Steely Dan-Alben anschließt. Sicher, sein stets leicht näselnder Gesangsvortrag ist nicht mehr ganz so kraftvoll wie früher, aber dafür hat er endlich einmal wieder einige Songs erschaffen, die tatsächlich schöne Melodielinien haben ("Slinky Thing", "The New Breed", "I'm Not the Same Without You", "Memorabilia"). Und "Weather in My Head" mit der genialen Gitarre von Jon Herington hätte sogar auf Steely Dan-Schätzen wie The Royal Scam seinen verdienten Platz gefunden.

Die hier rezensierte Schallplatten-Ausgabe glänzt mit zwei LPs aus durchsichtigem Vinyl, einem Textblatt und wunderbarem Cover-Artwork. Auf den beiden Langspielplatten gibt es jeweils drei Songs pro Seite; eine Seite der zweiten LP blieb also unbespielt. Die Qualität des Vinyls ist hervorragend. Es gibt keinerlei Nebengeräusche oder gar Kratzer bzw. Knacker.

Das Album selbst klingt allerdings nicht ganz perfekt. Abgesehen von dem etwas mulmigen Bass hätte das gesamte Klangbild etwas kräftiger, räumlicher und transparenter ausfallen können.

Bleibt zum Schluss noch eine Frage: Warum nennt jemand sein Album Sunken Condos ('Versunkene Eigentumswohnungen'), wobei er offensichtlich auf die dramatische Immobilienkrise in den USA anspielt, und lässt das Cover-Artwork komplett darauf abstellen, um dann in keinem Song, ja mit keiner einzigen Zeile darauf einzugehen? Das bleibt rätselhaft, at least.
9362-49478-4 Vinyl LP (2012) [Rating50838532]
rickdog Dec 30, 2012 4.00 stars|
just as sophisticated yet not overly slick like previous releases
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating50095177]
King23_ Dec 24, 2012 2.50 stars|
I liked where this was going, but some of the singing is downright terrible.
Just like any Steely Dan related takes some time to grow into.  And I haven't grown into it yet. I have confidence that I will.  Slick and sophisticated as ever, but first listen was a little boring.  It'll come around.  It always does.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating49688786]
GARFIELDACRES Dec 07, 2012 3.00 stars|
It's pretty much what you would expect from a donald fagen record , it's smooth,classy jazz/funk ,supersharp lyrically,exceptionally well played and produced .

I wouldnt take it over the reformed dan's last 2 albums but it certainly has its moments... "out of the ghetto" "miss marlene" "slinky thing" "weather in my head" and best of all "im not the same without you" .

It's an enjoyable album.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48473581]
Fartwick Nov 24, 2012 4.00 stars|
Aside from a few updated pop-culture references, such as name-checking Al Gore in "Weather in My Head," this record could have been released in 1983 as the immediate successor to The Nightfly. Musically it is cut from very much the same cloth as that record and Gaucho.

In fact, "Slinky Thing" even features a talk box, which harkens to such mid '70s Steely Dan tracks as "Haitian Divorce," and lyrically it is a companion piece to "Hey Nineteen."

"I'm Not the Same Without You" sounds like a cross between "The Nightfly" and "Walk Between the Raindrops."

The first few notes of "The Weather in My Head" sound like they were lifted straight from "Turn That Heartbeat Over Again," then settles into a groove similar to that of "My Rival."

And so on. The point being that as far as this record is concerned, the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s never happened. And that's probably just as well. Fagen prudently sticks with the sound he knows, indeed the sound he spent much of the 1970s perfecting, instead of embarrassing himself and us by trying to sound like something he's not.

The lyrics are as sharp as ever, his voice is in fine form for 64, and the songwriting and arrangements are mostly in fine taste. The only missteps are "Memorabilia," which has an annoying repetitive refrain (but great lyrics), and "Out of the Ghetto," an ill-chosen cover of the Isaac Hayes tune.

In short, I'd call it a fine return to form, except that Fagen has never really deviated from this form. More accurate to call it a return to the high songwriting standards of The Nightfly, after the rather lackluster Morph the Cat and Kamakiriad. Truth be told, I like it better than the post-Gaucho Steely Dan records, too. After 30 years it may seem completely unnecessary to record what amounts to the spiritual sequel to The Nightfly, but it's hardly unwelcome.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48895945]
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating49104741]
rogerdil Nov 09, 2012 4.00 stars|
A grower, taking it up from 3.5 to 4 stars.  Echoing the other reviewer, definitely better than Morph the Cat.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48829182]
Perello Nov 08, 2012 2.50 stars|
El retorno de la "bestia" se salda con tres o cuatro temas medio buenos y una producción excepcional... disco tan complejo instrumentalmente como intrascendente. Yo esperaba más.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48986178]
blastomorpha Nov 03, 2012 3.50 stars|
It's not a new The Nightfly, but at times it sounds damn good. "Miss Marlene" could be a track that for some reason didn't make it for that album thirty years ago, the same for "I'm Not the Same Without You".
Classy, catchy, very well produced as usual, but I still can't stop to call it "Sunken CondoMs".
532287-2 CD (2012) [Rating48875301]
el_borak Oct 31, 2012 4.50 stars|
This sounds like it could have been the follow-up to Gaucho laid down in 1982, instead of recorded 30 years later. Highly recommended to fans of Steely Dan.
Oh Donald, I did not expect you would have this one still in you... A major home run. And even your voice came back. So very happy I hung on!
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48823740]
kukkuru Oct 31, 2012 4.50 stars|
better than "Morph The Cat"
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48821309]
fufiski Oct 23, 2012 4.00 stars|
al primo al secondo e al terzo ascolto penso: sì è bello ma poi è uguale a tutti gli altri, nessuna novità, tutto come previsto. poi un po' mi impunto e gli ascolti proseguono fino a perderne il conto alternati a dei rapidi ripassi dei dischi precedenti e d'un tratto mi accorgo che è sì uguale ma anche diverso e per niente brutto. c.v.d.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48508983]
ijkidd Oct 21, 2012 4.00 stars|
OMG - This is GREAT fun, who'd have thought. Funky, tuneful, reasonably concise, not too cheesy / Jazzy, sounds very now but sits very nicely into his back catalogue.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48601261]
gibbo Oct 21, 2012 4.50 stars|
"Slinky Thing", "I'm Not the Same Without You" and "Miss Marlene" are fantastic, the rest ain't bad either.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48485742]
ippudo Oct 19, 2012 5.00 stars|
There's still a bit too much of the static "microfunk" of "Kamakiriad", especially in the verses ("Good Stuff") but most songs have interesting bridges and choruses and the songs are lighter and not as awkwardly complex and stretched out as on "Morph". There's more of a R&B vibe and quite a bit of variety to the grooves (do I hear Sly & Robbie circa Grace Jones on "Planet D'Rhonda"?), even if for DF standards some of the song structures and arrangements seem almost too simplistic. "Out Of The Ghetto" may feel slightly out of place, but for now I'm enjoying "Sunken Condos" even more than "The Nightfly". Overall, I'm positively surprised and very pleased DF came up with something as good this late in the game.

Edit: An absolute classic.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48560290]
marek_b Oct 19, 2012 5.00 stars|
Best album of 2012 so far?
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48551091]
okman Oct 10, 2012 4.00 stars|
Nice funky driving...
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48380074]
CW553 Oct 05, 2012 4.00 stars|
Sunken Condos Review

Note Before You Read: This review is the FINAL review in my Steely Dan "Sunken Condos" event, so if this review pops up before any Steely Dan reviews, skip it and go straight to "Can't Buy A Thrill". Unless, of course, you don't mind reading this first.

Yes, Donald Fagen finally released an album outside of "The Nightfly" trilogy, and I knew that it would be a great album. I was correct, and I listened to it quite a few times, and determined the rating. For me, this is the greatest Fagen album since "The Nightfly", and I shall explain.

"Slinky Thing" is the first track, and is one of many of my favorite tracks on the album. Fagen's voice is voice is strong and clear as always, and doesn't show the fact that he is getting older that much. "I'm Not The Same Without You" is the first song I listened to (before the album came out) and I still agree that this song is just as good as the first one. I really enjoy the melody. "Memorabillia" is catchy, but it is only a fine song. Nothing too special, but still keeps enough content to keep the album moving,if only a bit. "Weather In My Head" is equal to the first 2 songs, and is a bit more guitar based then most of the other songs. The lyrics are nice on that one.

"The New Breed" is easily the worst song on the album, but is still okay. The chorus is good, but the melody does bring much too much of a feel as all the other songs. "Out Of The Ghetto" has a weird feel, but is quite enjoyable. It is a cover, and the orignal song was by Isaac Hayes. "Miss Marlene" is a nice song, and I enjoy everything in it. It is yet another one of my favorite songs on the album. "Good Stuff" is quite nice, and has good lyrics. I enjoy the song's piano line. Last but not least, "Planet D'Rhonda" is an okay song, and a good feel. Some of my least favorite lyrics on the album, but the music itself saves the song.

"Sunken Condos" is an excellant addition to your collection of music, and no Donald Fagen fan should be caught without it.

Note: This is my 8th and last review for my Steely Dan "Sunken Condos" event (as mentioned eariler). I hope your enjoyed this short event.
9362-49478-7 CD (2012) [Rating48276272]
maguri Oct 03, 2012 4.00 stars|
This album has a great flow.

And, yes, Fagen plays the blues on Weather in My Head, which is my favourite song lyricwise, too:

They may fix
The weather in the world
Just like Mr Gore said
But tell me what's to be done
Lord - 'bout the weather in my head

Escapism? Egotism? I don't mind. But I really like a piece of original imagery like this.


Morph the Cat wrapped up an alleged trilogy in 2006 -- a trilogy that only became apparent when Donald Fagen's three solo albums were boxed in a set called The Nightfly Trilogy in 2007 -- and Fagen then busied himself with live performances, something he avoided at the peak of his popularity in the '70s and '80s. With Walter Becker, he took several classic Steely Dan albums on tour, he became a frequent fixture at Levon Helm's Midnight Rambles, and, in 2010, he became the ringleader of the Dukes of September, a superstar blue-eyed soul revue featuring Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs. All this high-octane rhythm can be heard on Sunken Condos, Fagen's 2012 album and easily the liveliest solo album he's released since The Nightfly in 1982. Much of that is due to a pronounced emphasis on rhythm. Sunken Condos doesn't ease on its groove, the way the otherwise excellent Morph the Cat did. Sunken Condos crackles with energy even when things are smooth; witness how "Memorabilia" and "Weather in My Head," jazzy funk numbers both, never succumb to lite comfortable grooves, as Fagen and his peerless band keep pushing at the contours of their rhythms, letting the music breathe. And that addition of space is a marked difference from much of Fagen's work since Gaucho, when he began to place an emphasis on precision over feel. Certainly, Sunken Condos boasts an immaculate production and there is not a note out of place but it is unmistakably a feel album, one where it's a pleasure to hear the band play and to hear Fagen play with his delivery, sculpting his phrases with an impish glee. That Sunken Condos also contains his sharpest songwriting in a long time -- whether they percolate like "I'm Not the Same Without You" or sweetly sigh like "Miss Marlene," the tunes are immediate the way the songs on Steely Dan's 2000 comeback, Two Against Nature, were -- is no coincidence. Long a master of obfuscation, Fagen plays it straight on Sunken Condos, tightening his songwriting and letting his music swing, and the results are an absolute joy.