Steely Dan Sunday, “Tomorrow’s Girls” (1993)

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*** STEELY DAN SUNDAY INDEX ***

Kamakiriad got its mojo going with “Snowbound” and reached the summit at “Tomorrow’s Girls.” This song was the single spun off the album, and achieved some mild success, reaching #20 on the “Mainstream Rock Tracks” charts in 1993, but it should have done much better (with grunge grabbing all the attention at the time, that wasn’t going to happen, unfortunately). They even made a cool video of it, starring Rick Moranis.

A few weeks ago I suggested that the notion of writing a song about “alien girls preying on hapless lonely guys” isn’t up to Fagen’s usual songwriting standards, but the truth is, he could have been singing names off the freaking phone book and I would still dig this song. Coming right off of his “Rock & Soul Revue” project, he created a near-perfect rock and soul (and jazz) pop tune. A scratchy riff tailor-made for a Fender Rhodes, a soaring chorus and a creepy organ that recalls space age sounds from the 60s without getting overly cheesy about it are just some of the things so right about this tune. Even the dreamy bridge that momentarily shelves the groove doesn’t stop the song’s momentum because it’s good enough to be a song on its own.

Becker delivers one of his better guitar performances on tape, because he’s doing a good job matching the sentiment of the lyrics. Fagen coos “Soon the warm light breezes start to roll in off the sea/Yes, at lantern time that’s when you come to me,” followed by Becker snapping us back to the dark side of the extraterrestrial femme fetales with a nasty, snarling lick. A desperate moan emitted form his guitar comes after “then the laugh becomes a furious whine.” His axe becomes a second vocal, putting punctuation on Fagen’s prose. I wonder sometimes if it’s really Walter who is saying, “look out fellas, it’s shredding time.”

On an album full of ups and downs “Tomorrow’s Girls” is way up there among Donald Fagen’s best solo stuff.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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