Donald Fagen – Kamakiriad (1993)

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NICK DERISO: I was a huge Steely Dan fan, so I once bought even the individual releases, pining for those lost moments of the 1970s.

Meaning: I was ready to love Fagen’s second solo album. Bought it out of the box, hoping for “Aja” with a ’90s spin.

What I got was the same kind of boring vamps that characterized that too-obvious Motown schlock Fagen had been doing in the years after the excellent “Nightfly” album.

It seemed more and more that Fagen needed Becker, and badly.

Then, I noticed that Becker produced the thing. Oops.

A quick rundown: The drums sounded fake, the writing felt lazy, the concept was drearily antiseptic.

OK. There is, however, one distinct saving grace — and a neat precursor to their successful reunion.

Nick’s Pick was the Fagen tune that was co-written with Becker, “Snowbound” … now, that was a lot more like it. True collaboration seemed to be the key.

Glad they got back to it.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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