Steely Dan Sunday, “This Moody Bastard” (1994)

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*** STEELY DAN SUNDAY INDEX ***

Back during the time that 11 Tracks Of Whack was new, I’d pop that CD out of the player after “Girlfriend” most of the time; I thought that most of this album’s filler were loaded up on the back end. Even when I’d occasionally return to this record, I would hit the highlights and then put it away again. Thus, I hadn’t really heard “This Moody Bastard” in almost twenty years and now is a good time to take another gander at it and find out if I like it better with the passage of time.

The answer is “yes” and “no.” Yes, I do like the melody better this time. The drab verses still plod a bit but open up to a hopeful chorus, and his singing reveals more nuance than I gave him credit for earlier. It would have been comfortable on China Crisis’ Flaunt The Imperfection, an album Becker had produced in the 80s. I guess that’s a compliment, since I like Flaunt The Imperfection.

No, the overall production has dated badly. I know, I know, I’ve bitched about the production on about half the songs on this album already, but it’s particularly frustrating here because this song’s got potential. Imagine “This Moody Bastard” getting the classic Steely Dan treatment, with a Wurlitzer electric piano instead of these Casio keyboard sounds, a lusher bank of female backup singers, a horn chart and real drums. I’ll bet this song would slay it. Or at the least, give me a compelling reason to go past “Girlfriend” every time. But, belatedly, it’s a grower.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon 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. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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