Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Steely Dan Katy Lied (1975)


This is my favorite Steely Dan album. This is a collection of immaculately-written, immaculately-performed, stinging, satirical, sarcastic compositions. There really aren’t enough stars in the world to describe how I PERSONALLY feel about this record, a mainstay in my Top 5.

“Black Friday” is a blistering bit of almost-social commentary, featuring great guitar workouts from Walter Becker; “Bad Sneakers” is a tasty pop tune with a mourning and pensive solo by, I believe, Larry Carlton, “Rose Darling” is about hiding an affair and it rules, “Daddy Don’t Live in That New York City No More” is a nasty number whose intentions are as impure as any the Dan ever concocted, “Dr. Wu” is one of those songs to journey off on a country road to and is, to me, the funnest song in their entire catalog to interpret.

My own judgment tells me the protagonist has gone to a psychologist, Dr. Wu, to examine his relationship with Katy. Rather than helping the patient, Wu absconds off somewhere with Katy and leaves the protagonist to contemplate his relationship with both parties.

The second side of the album is just a bit weaker. “Your Gold Teeth II” and the Caribbean-tinged jangly “Everyone’s Gone to the Movies” are by no means bad songs, but they don’t hold up to the quality of the rest of the album. “Chain Lightning” is a groovy blues number, but the album thankfully closes as strong as it began with the album’s strongest and most personally-identifiable hook in “Any World That I’m Welcome To” and the brilliant “Throw Back the Little Ones”, one of those songs whose lyrics are fun for their own sake. You’d probably be disappointed if you found out what they’re actually supposed to mean, if they’re actually supposed to mean anything.

A great, great album. George Starostin described it as “A dangerous, yet strangely peaceful record – then again, be warned, as ‘peaceful’ often alternates with ‘boring’.” I don’t much agree with him after the hyphen, but the first part of it hits the nail right about on the head. The album is dangerous, perhaps their most dangerous, in fact, and Steely Dan have always been a slightly dangerous band.

This aspect of them is lost on many people, but they can really say some unnerving things if you’re bothering to listen closely, and nowhere is that side of Dan more prominent than on Katy Lied.


March 26, 2013 - Posted by | Steely Dan Katy Lied |

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