Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

Steely Dan Sans Sarcasm

Sam Sutherland, High Fidelity, November 1977

STEELY DAN has been insinuating their mordant, pop-noir sensibility into the American musical mainstream for over five years now, and from the outset they've smartly chosen to conceal their weapons rather than brandish them foolishly. They conceive their darkly comic vignettes and edgy, oblique confessions as pop songs with snappy choruses, crisp instrumental hooks, and ensemble settings that integrate bebop, Chuck Berry, and Ellingtonia seamlessly, without disrupting the flow of the music or its sleek aural finish. Eclecticism, both verbal and musical never impedes the sheer momentum of their songs.

Total word count of piece: 2808


Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.