Steely Dan Sunday, “Everything Must Go” (2003)

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Becker and Fagen went for a big splash at the conclusion of Two Against Nature with Chris Potter’s never-ending sax solo to conclude “West of Hollywood.” Everything Must Go’s ending title track puts the saxophone fireworks at the beginning of the song.

A free flowing interpretation of what we later discover is the song’s bridge, Walt Weiskopf’s sackfull of soul flowing from his tenor isn’t the kind of intro you’d find anywhere else in the rock realm. Only Steely Dan.

When “Everything Must Go” proper commences with a sharp quip from Weiskopf, the band grooves as it does throughout the whole album, but this one is a slower paced, a nostalgic kind of melody that I could easily envisioning Sinatra singing. Fagen does in fact croon this one, and it’s hard to think he could nail the verses this well back in ’75. To go right along with the nostalgic musical mood, it’s a nostalgia-laden theme about the end of a business enterprise.

Anyone who’s followed Becker and Fagen long enough knows that whenever they indulge in sentimentality, irony is lurking not far behind. The hints abound in lines like “now it’s cozy down below” and “I move to dissolve this corporation in a pool of margaritas.” Going out of business has become a reason to party in celebration of failure. It’s a commentary on the post-dotcom bubble economic environment of the early 2000’s but a decade later, such themes still ring true.

A less cynical person could find a parable about making a fresh start in the lyrics, too, which is what Steely Dan did with their two remarkable comeback records. Wistfully, this song concludes the trove of new material released by Steely Dan for ten years and counting.

There’s more plenty more succulent solo material to plow through, however.

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