9 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Steely Dan’s 2000 reunion album made such a splash that no one noticed when the duo released a follow-up three years later. As always, the playing on Everything Must Go is tight and clean, but in another way the album is Donald Fagen and Walter Becker’s loosest work date. There is less emphasis on the production process as artwork, and “The Last Mall,” “Things I Miss the Most” and “Green Book” actually sound like a group of accomplished musicians playing live in a room. In timbre and arrangement, the music is very similar to what Steely Dan has been plying since Aja, but the lyrical concerns are anything but dated. “Pixeleen” is a strange fantasy about the modern adolescent, or as Fagen puts it, “the three-times perfect ultrateen.” Meanwhile, “Godwhacker” sounds like a thinly veiled commentary on the presidency of George W. Bush. Contemporary America has given Dan plenty of grist for the mill, but the autobiographical title track sounds like a permanent sign-off: “Guess it's time for us to book it / Talk about the famous road not taken / In the end we never took it / And if somewhere on the way /We got a few good licks in / No one's ever gonna know / Cause we're goin' out of business / Everything must go.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Steely Dan’s 2000 reunion album made such a splash that no one noticed when the duo released a follow-up three years later. As always, the playing on Everything Must Go is tight and clean, but in another way the album is Donald Fagen and Walter Becker’s loosest work date. There is less emphasis on the production process as artwork, and “The Last Mall,” “Things I Miss the Most” and “Green Book” actually sound like a group of accomplished musicians playing live in a room. In timbre and arrangement, the music is very similar to what Steely Dan has been plying since Aja, but the lyrical concerns are anything but dated. “Pixeleen” is a strange fantasy about the modern adolescent, or as Fagen puts it, “the three-times perfect ultrateen.” Meanwhile, “Godwhacker” sounds like a thinly veiled commentary on the presidency of George W. Bush. Contemporary America has given Dan plenty of grist for the mill, but the autobiographical title track sounds like a permanent sign-off: “Guess it's time for us to book it / Talk about the famous road not taken / In the end we never took it / And if somewhere on the way /We got a few good licks in / No one's ever gonna know / Cause we're goin' out of business / Everything must go.”

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Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
65 Ratings

65 Ratings

GuanoBiscuits ,

If you don't totally dig this album after listening to it 3 times, you're weird :)

It's unbelievable - Both "EMG" and their last album "2 Against Nature" (which won the Album of the Year Grammy) are phenomenal albums. And I'm usually not all about the Grammy winners...These guys continue to put out ridiculous tunage. Both albums rule from start to finish.

Their art remains intricate and flowing. Their backing bands are T-I-G-H-T... TIGHT. Schweetness. Get this and 2 Against Nature. Even those Steely Dan fans that dig their older stuff that might be a little bit skeptical of checking out these newer albums will totally groove to this stuff as hard as ever.

Enjoy.

scottn59c ,

A Sheer Abomination

There was a reason Steely Dan called it quits after Gaucho; they had pushed the limits of their creativity as a studio band and they bowed out gracefully before the material got any weaker. It was a storybook ending to a wonderful legacy, and Fagen expanded his horizons in new directions with his solo work, as did Becker in a more limited sense. Then "Two Against Nature" came out some twenty years after the fact. It sounded like Steely Dan, but it was utterly soulless. After listening to it many times over and even after all the defacto Grammys had been lavished upon it (which means absolutely bupkiss as far as I'm concerned) it was clear that the bar had been severely lowered, and I hoped dearly that the boys would stop before they ran their legacy any further into the ground. But like a punch-drunk boxer, Steely Dan didn't know when to call the fight. "Everything Must Go" is a sheer abomination. There's simply no nicer way to put it accurately. Upon hearing "The Last Mall" on the radio, I wanted to ralph. This jive, formulaic and lyrically vapid track was a new nadir for Fagen and Becker, and the album only got worse. Every song had the EXACT same beat and unvarying rhythm, making them one indistinguishable pile of something terrible. Gone was the soul, the musical variance, the deliciously elusive gangster beatnik lyricism. The deepest the boys could go was to places like "The Last Mall" and "Godwhacker". Steely Dan will never reach the highs they did on "Aja" or "Katy Lied," nor is it fair for us to expect them to. But the question that remains is: "How low will they go?"

vague ,

Everything Must Go

Releasing their debut album in 1972, I have no idea how these guys can keep it up so long, and so well. Donald Fagen, and Walter Becker have outdone themselves, repetativly, and Everything Must Go, their 2003 album keeps up the tradition. From start to finish, this album fails to disapoint.

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