322. Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic (1974)
1. Rikki Don't Lose That Number
2. Night By Night
3. Any Major Dude Will Tell You
5. East St Louis Toodle Oo
6. Parker's Band
7. Thru With Buzz
8. Pretzel Logic
9. With A Gun
10. Charlie Freak
11. Monkey In Your Soul
Steely Dan, even though they are a band that hasn't blown my head off like new discoveries such as Sparks or Scott Walker has shown a consistent level of very high quality in their music. And fortunately it is not only quality, it is also fun, innovation and smarts and all these together are a great thing.
This album is no exception, the way in which the music effortlessly moves from pop, to jazz to rock to ragtime some times in the same track is pure joy. This is added to a great capacity to create extremely listenable music, which is catchy and fun while hiding big depths. The thing about Steely Dan is that at first they are actually quite easy to dismiss as just another slightly tongue in cheek AOR band, like 10cc or Chicago, but repeated listenings are infinitely more rewarding than those that you get with those bands.
The Steely Dan albums that have been reviewed until now, even though they are immediately accessible, slowly seep into your mind and reveal things you'd never noticed, either it's a sentence or a particular musical shift or melody there is always something there to give you some pleasure. This type of heavy texture is hard to do without sounding too pretentious or cerebral, but Steely Dan manage. So, get this at Amazon UK or US.
1. With A Gun
3. Pretzel Logic
4. Rikki Don't Lose That Number
The album's opening song, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", became the band's biggest hit, reaching #4 on the charts soon after the release of the album. The album itself went gold, reaching #8 on the charts. The album was also highly regarded critically, appearing near the top of several end-of-year polls including the number one slot on the NME critics' poll and the number two spot on both Robert Christgau and the Village Voice end-of-year lists.
Steely Dan was still considered a true “group” at the time this, their third album, was released (in addition to core members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, guitarists Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Denny Dias as well as multi-instrumentalist Victor Feldman had appeared on both previous Steely Dan releases along with a host of session aces; all five appeared on the inside cover of the album). The tour supporting this album would be the last time any version of Steely Dan appeared live until decades later, as Becker and Fagen's disillusionment with live performance during the tour would lead both to an end to such performance and a disbanding of the Steely Dan lineup. Much of this disillusionment was due to audiences' lack of reception of more complex material. This would lead Becker and Fagen to move to being a studio duo with varied backing on following albums, still under the name Steely Dan.
Something of a compromise between the tight pop of the band's 1972 debut Can't Buy a Thrill and the extended instrumental explorations of 1973’s Countdown to Ecstasy, Pretzel Logic included some of the most sophisticated pop music ever committed to vinyl and was unlike anything else on the radio in 1974.
One of the standout tracks, "Parker's Band," was a tribute to legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker.
Initial versions of the Remastered CD issue contained an abridged version of Rikki Don't Lose That Number. This has been corrected on subsequent pressings.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 385 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
With A Gun, forgive the crappy video: