Lord, help me. I’m going through my Steely Dan phase
It is medical fact that there comes a point in every adult male lifetime when things in your body begin to change irreparably.
This change is known to be both physiological and also psychosomatic, representing a redefinition of the entire human oeuvre, and marking the transition from regular, normal, good adulthood, and into the muddy and undefined waters of middle age.
One minute, you’re standing at the front barrier at a festival for Gang Of Youths in the blistering heat of the Australian mid-afternoon, sweat-stained, cathartic and vital.
Then you start to sweat for different reasons.
The rat-tat-tatting of time’s teasing arrow sends you spinning in concentric circles toward an unbridled passion for unexpected things like craft beer and Kangol hats (I'm pretty sure you can only legally purchase one of these if you are already going bald).
I’ve seen it too many times. And, truth be told, it always starts the same way.
How? Two words:
If you’re not aware of who they are, good. It is not yet your time to experience Steely Dan, and you need to do everything you can to bat away the freeform-jazz tetherball of Donald Fagan and Walter Becker for as long as you humanly can. Eventually, one day, you’ll be walking home from work and it’ll hit you square between the ears like a freeform jazz tetherball: ‘are Steely Dan good? I better find out.’
RELATED: In Defence of Yacht Rock
If you happen to find yourself in my shoes – an ardent fan of punk rock and hip hop for your whole life – I have good news, and also bad news.
The bad news is that this might be it for you. Sorry. I think it’s just probably going to be safer for you to throw away all your hopes and dreams for future happiness that don’t revolve around brewing your own craft beer (bonus points if it is an IPA), or finding a particularly snug Kangol.
The good news?
Steely Dan rule, and I am so happy that now we get to talk about it.
Let’s go here first of all: how cooked is it that two cockamamie white dudes named Donald and Walter can write and play rock’n’roll songs this good? Jesus Christ. It’s like, total subterfuge, too, because it sounds so much like rock’n’roll, but these twisted-up dudes are actually tricking you into listening to jazz. What’s more, they’re not even telling you.
This is jazz if I ever heard it. You can’t trick me, Walter. That little chord change that feels so fun-and-good at the end of the chorus of ‘Dirty Work’? That’s some serious flat seven stepping up to the major resolving jazz bullshit. I see you.
Oh, ‘Peg’ is a funky party track about a hot pinup? Yeah, sure, but let’s talk about all those six-over-nine-triads with leading descending bass notes, too. I’m getting all steamy just thinking about it.
Yep. If you’re as hot under the collar as I am right now, the likely medical diagnosis is that you, like me, have probably succumbed to the tenuous grasp of early-onset Danopause. Look it up.
Maybe you’ve even developed a full-on addiction to Dannabis.
And your Dancreas? Reel-insulin The Years. It’s a big problem.
Concerned for my own welfare, I texted the one man who I knew would assuage my fears of middle age.
It went about as well as I had hoped:
Anyway, if anyone's looking for me, I'm out buying a Kangol. Brb.