Steely Dan Sunday, “Selfish Gene” (2008)

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“Sweet little baby from the hills somewhere, here’s a pretty lovebud for your hair…”. Is this how old Manhattan producer-types start their sex raps on Manalo wearing wafs? Well, according to Walter Becker’s track, “Selfish Gene”, yes, and apparently this tactic works well.

“Selfish Gene” reminds the listener of a few Steely Dan tracks regarding the subject matter of the older man trying to get with the young hot object of his affection. Of course both Becker and his erstwhile partner Donald Fagen also have a few tracks on their respective solo albums which address this subject (wait until we get to Fagen’s Sunken Condos in a few weeks), but few do the topic justice as well as Becker’s “Selfish Gene.”

Perhaps its Becker’s slinky, drunken lead vocal which game fully spits out lines like, “hey pretty baby let’s have a little fun, the Pinot’s flowing and the nights still young…”. Maybe it’s Becker’s odd colored and appropriately lazy lead guitar and it’s contrast to Jon Herington’s energetic rhythm parts. Perhaps it’s Becker’s playful and solid bass track tightly wound around Keith Carlock’s flunked up swamp beats.

Producer/cowriter Larry Klein even calls in his wife, jazz singer Luciana Souza, to provide an angelic feel to Becker’s devilish lusty guitar growls. On the surface the songs sounds simple and earnest but you can’t but help feel the sting after repeated listening.

Luciana Souza sings ”…Selfish Gene don’t take no prisoners,” at the end of the song. Indeed he doesn’t!

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Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at
Preston Frazier
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  • Barry Bland

    Good song. Love the dark and twisted story telling.