Steely Dan is one of my favorite bands, it wasn’t always like that. As a teenager I despised when my Mom’s iPod played “My Old School” I though it was dated, contrived, yawn inducing.
Jumping ten years into the future 2014, I am living in Los Angeles, which has become the capital of music, and I meet a lot of music people.
One person I met who was older had an infinity for Steely Dan. Supposedly, he knew at least one of the members personally. Well having a distaste for Steely Dan, all I could think was, how could this guy enjoy this band so much!?
I loved hearing his life story, and it made me want to open my horizons to this band. I went on my music streaming service and listened to most of the songs over months. I believe I was using amazon music at the time (Side note- amazon music was trash in 2014. The songs would have skipping playback errors! And it would delete my playlists!)
I have never wrote a ranking list like this before, and thought it would be fun to do it for a band that I have listened to so many of their songs that may not be as noticed. This is a top 10 list I have written after listening to every Steely Dan Song in June/July 2020. Here we go:
Steely Dan Top Ten Songs:
- Kid Charlemagne – this is my favorite song period. it tells a story and its nonstop catchy awesomeness.
- Reelin’ In The Years – Nothing to say but epic.
- Do it Again – Classic instantly recognizable hit.
- Deacon Blues -Its so good.
- Peg -Another hit.
- The Caves Of Altamira – The more I listen the better it gets.
- Midnite Cruiser – Its a really dope song but the lyrics are fine. at the time it must have been huge.
- Bad Sneakers – This is a true Steely Dan original hit.
- Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me) – Solid. Slower song that fits perfectly in the album.
- Kings – Its a fine song however at first I feel the melody isn’t enjoyable enough, the theme and lyrics didn’t interest me. After more listens I enjoy the melody’s sharp hits. The guitar solo goes crazy, it gets better and better after repeated listening.
You may be asking, why isn’t x in your top 10, its a Steely Dan hit!. Well I left a couple of their top songs out of the running, such as Dirty Work. Well the reason is this list is my top ten, right now in 2020. I have listened to these songs so many times they have lost their luster me and that is a factor in my decision making. I have listened to Kid Charlemagne about 500 times and it just never gets old to me!
As I am writing this, Kid Charlemagne is my favorite song of all time. It hasn’t always been my favorite song, but after my studies it became my favorite. The guitar solo is my favorite. I don’t know why its my favorite sometimes but I can listen to it over and over again, ask my wife how much I annoy her by listening to the same songs on repeat! I think it’s a beautiful thing in the world of music that, somehow I still want to keep listening to this music like its comforting to my brain to go over the same song neural pathways.
I am at awe that on Spotify Kid Charlemagne is not in the top played! How is this possible? Also, how many people around the world have physical copies of Steely Dan music and love that album? It must be a huge number.
I’ve grown up listening to the music of my parents. The 60’s to the 80’s. James Taylor, Carol King, Simon and Garfunkel, Harry Chapin, these musicians shaped my musical world and is what I love to listen to today. Spotify says my favorite genre is actually “retro pop”. Which means I like modern day bands that make new music that sounds like the past, or is it something new and revised?
And why am I writing this now? why because I have the time to listen to all of this music. I have listened to a lot of music while working from home. If I am doing almost anything work or art or games or activities I want to have music on in the background.
Looking at how many of my top songs are from their first album, its interesting to see how they developed their signature sound and style from the beginning, its truly impressive, some musical acts take a moment before they find their groove where Steely Dan started with a BANG! They have stayed true to their form and deserve their spot as one of the greatest bands of all time, at least in my view! Thanks for reading!
*Disclaimer. All of my writing is for fun, as a hobby. I am not a music critic.
**Disclaimer 2. This is my Point Of View. I have generational bias because I am a Millennial, right? I am writing this at 28 years old. Steely Dan has a profound effect on music culture, so their sounds have been copied and contrived by many other acts and I have to remember that they were some of the first musical acts to innovate in rock and blues.