Tag: Donald Fagen

Road Trip! — Ten Songs Inspired by Real Places

Road Trip! — Ten Songs Inspired by Real Places

Featured Posts, Listcruft, Music
Many people are inspired by their favorite songs about places to visit the locations that inspired them. But don't bother looking for 22 Acacia Avenue or Xanadu on Google Maps -- they don't exist anywhere but in their songwriters' minds. Elsewhere, however, there are plenty of songs that were inspired by real places. Here are ten of them, should you feel the urge to make a pilgrimage. (You can also check out this list on my Spotify playlist.) #1. "Lakeside Park" -- Rush Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ontario and spent many youthful summers on the village's most popular beach -- Lakeside Park. Peart paid tribute in an atypically nostalgic song on Rush's third album, 1975's Caress of Steel. Peart later reminisced about his Lakeside Park experience
So fresh — 10 Steely Dan songs that will never get old

So fresh — 10 Steely Dan songs that will never get old

Music
Steely Dan is one of those bands that evokes an instant response from people -- usually a big, goofy grin or wretching noises of some sort. There really seems to be no middle ground for people once they've been exposed to the unique and acerbic brand of jazz-rock practiced by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. Like a lot of others, I figured that the Dan was all about "Reelin' in the Years" and "Black Cow," and not much else. Boy how wrong was I! Here's ten shining examples of what this great band has to offer beyond the classic rock radio staples, if only you'll come along for the ride. 1 -- "Fire in the Hole" (from Can't Buy a Thrill, 1972) No need to go any further than the band's debut LP to find evidence of their greatness. And if you're ever going to appreciate Fagen's earnes...
My favorite music: 1972

My favorite music: 1972

Music
If there's one thing the internet lacks, it's pointless music lists. So to fill that void, here's a sampling of my favorite albums from some random year. Let's say, 1972. Fleetwood Mac, Bare Trees -- Oh sure, I love Rumours as much as the next person. But there's something about this particular, pre-Buckingham/Nicks incarnation of the band that speaks to me. Bare Trees is a bit uneven in spots but I keep coming back to it just the same. That said, the original version of Bob Welch's "Sentimental Lady" found on this record is far superior to the 1977 hit single version. Steely Dan, Can't Buy a Thrill -- I don't care if Donald Fagen and Walter Becker want to disown this record, I love it and I know a ton of Dan fans love it. Like all classic Steely Dan records, the hits are only part o...
Album cover of the week: Aja

Album cover of the week: Aja

Album Cover of the Week
(March 2011 update — Greetings Reddit users! Feel free to stick around, just remember to use a coaster.) Steely Dan consistently suffered from some of the ugliest artwork of the '70s, but pulled it together for their 1977 hit album, Aja.  This brilliantly simple image belied the alluringly complex music contained within. The songs on Aja (pronounced Asia) have been dissected and examined countless times over the last 30 years, so I'm giving this great artwork its due.  According to Wikipedia, the name Aja belonged to the Korean wife of Donald Fagen's friend's brother.  I'm not sure if that's true but it sounds plausible, so I'll pretend it is. Credit for the cover image goes to Hideki Fujii, who took this striking photo of model/actress Sayoko Yamaguchi.
The best (at least in terms of my iPod)

The best (at least in terms of my iPod)

Music
Creating and maintaining an iPod playlist with my favorite songs has been an interesting experience for me. I call the playlist "The Best" not because I really think these are the best songs ever, but because they are the ones that resonate the most with me. As the playlist has grown (it's now at 46 songs) some items of note have emerged. The first is that two of my all-time favorite bands, Kiss and Rush, are not represented once on the list. The second is that although I'm a pretty upbeat guy most of the time, I seem to respond the most to songs that are more subdued or melancholy. The third is that if a song has strong vocal harmonies it automatically wins points with me.So with that, here is the current list of The Best, with some commentary. As a side note, at least a few of these c...