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Donald Fagen: Morph the Cat

Alfred Soto, Stylus, 31 March 2006

AT THE END OF 1980'S GAUCHO you'll find Steely Dan's best song — the slow fade of Johnny, the protagonist of 'Third World Man'. The denizen of a prosperous coastal city, hidden in a room which hasn't seen sunlight in months: enervated, willing himself to die, smothered as layer upon layer of guitar lines, metronomic drumming, and multi-tracked bleating settles over his corpse like silt over a crustacean. Johnny should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas; he's an outcast, his lot indistinguishable from that of the hundred thousand brown-skinned valets, gardeners, and rough trade taking the bus that morning.

Total word count of piece: 612


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