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Two Against Nature (2000)
Steely Dan

Available at Amazon.com >>

User Rating: 5 / 5 [ Add Your Rating ]


Name:  Dan Belcher <djbelc01@louisville.edu>
Rating:  5 / 5
Comments:  "Two Against Nature" bridges the gap between the 1980 "Gaucho" album and the new millenium quite well. Featuring some very complex and varied songs, there is quite a lot of wonderful Rhodes piano usage on the entire album. "What a Shame About Me" is a traditional Steely Dan modified blues in a minor key, much like you'd find in "Pretzel Logic", "Black Friday", and so forth. Donald Fagen plays a dominant Rhodes piano here, playing fairly deep on the bass notes, but venturing up higher for a delightful run leading into the major-key bridge and guitar solo. The 6/4 time signature title track shows off some of the jazz influence that creates the complexity in Steely Dan's music; likewise, it shows off a few hot Rhodes moments. Featuring both Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos, the sweet, sexy "Almost Gothic" is as close to a love song in sound as Steely Dan has ever come, in spite of cryptic, dark lyrics about a troubled relationship with an apparently loose woman ("the cleanest kitten in the city"). There's also some very cool phasing sound here, but I think it's actually the Wurlitzer getting that treatment. The Rhodes comes through with a softer, cooler sound. "Negative Girl" brings a dark, terse sound to the album, but some very cool atmospheric Rhodes piano from Ted Baker as well. This is a great album; it takes awhile for it to grow on you with its unusual patterns and complexities, but it's now one of my favorites.


Name:  Juergen Martens
Rating:  5 / 5
Comments:  Was more ho-hum about this back then. Gave it some listenings again these day (2009 that is) and find it pretty fascinating in a unique way now. It's the Dan's "Birth Of The Cool", shining like ice. Nothing that touches you emotionally, but a cool piece of art that only Don & Walt could come along with. Chris Potter's sax solos alone are worth the album - a true genius in the making.
Plus a first appearance of Keith Carlock on drums, the HUGE force behind Steely Dan's great live performances.