Steely Dan Sunday, “Green Book” (2003)

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The song “Green Book” finds Steely Dan firing on all cylinders while mining new and familiar elements. Lyrically the song addresses a future, virtual world that is somewhat similarities to the environment created on Fagan’s 1993 Kamakiriad album only this time the action seems to take place in the computer instead of the real world.

Of course the protagonist is still pursuing the time tested goals of hot chicks and cheap sex. Only in this world, he can create his object of desire. In one passage Fagen spits out the lyric, “…the torso rocks and the eyes are keepers. Now where’d we sample those legs? I’m thinking Marilyn 4.0 in the Green Book…” Not only does he create the partner of his dreams, but he lyrically ties her to a sleazy yet seductive world he doesn’t want to leave.

Walter Becker adds to the mystery musically. His five string bass floats along the track for most of the song but just as the listener’s ears focus on another element, it grabs the attention with a lick in lock step with the rhythm guitar. Becker’s bass playing on Everything Must Go is among the best on any Steely Dan album, but “Green Book” manages to both surprise and fit perfectly.

Equally amazing is the toe-to-toe solos that Becker and Fagen play. Though according the pair, Becker’s guitar solos were laid down first and Fagen synthesizer solos came weeks later, you’d never know it from the integrated sound. There are other great touches which, upon repeated listening, are discovered (Ted Baker’s supple piano, the minor keyed background vocals, Fagen’s Hammond organ), but you get the picture.

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