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This is Donald Fagen's first album in six years and, no, it's not about condo owners underwater on their mortgages. It is another Steely Dan (minus Walter Becker) easy-listening mix of smooth jazz shot through with blues, rock, and funk.

Eight of the nine new tracks are original, but they still sound familiar with Fagen’s impeccable studio production values and signature synthesized beats. This is an album you play as background music if you're having a dinner party for trendy baby boomers that still fit into skinny jeans. Or if you are a smooth FM radio programmer, you’ll play the opening song, "Slinky Thing," about an old guy trying to keep up with a young babe, right before or after a Sade staple. Never mind that, with “Slinky Thing,” Fagen has repackaged one of his greatest hits, "Hey Nineteen" (my favorite Steely Dan song from the past). He probably was having a “senior moment” while writing it.

Two fresher songs are "Memorabilia" and "Miss Marlene," both adding harmonies with female backup vocals to Fagen's laidback voice. The album gets stale, however, with his cover of the Issac Hayes's "Out of the Ghetto." Lines such as "I took you out of the ghetto, but I couldn't get the ghetto out of you," sung by an old white guy, are, in today's world of lyrically raw hip-hop, LOL.

  • Album: Sunken Condos
  • Artist: Donald Fagen
  • Label: Warners/Reprise
  • Songs: (1) Slinky Thing (2) I'm Not the Same (3) Memorabilia (4) Weather In My Head (5) The New Breed (6) Out of the Ghetto (7) Miss Marlene (8) Good Stuff (9) Planet D'Rhonda
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Comments

islander9 Feb. 4, 2013 @ 2:07 a.m.

Ha! You showed that old guy, didn't you. Nothing new to hear on this release. Slinky is just Hey 19, and not a song that has more fresh ideas about harmony than anything else we'll hear this year. And Ghetto? Of COURSE he's singing about the sisters (dirty old man) and not, given his penchant for time and space travel, a ghetto of another era. (Big hint: The Klezmer music was a clue.)

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Alan Segal Feb. 7, 2013 @ 7:01 p.m.

Hey islander9, I'm a bit older then Fagen, but musically for me it was same old same old, Steely Dan sound. But that is what is so great about music, just like art, it is subjective. I appreciate your feedback and surely you heard stuff, I didn't. Thanks for the comment.

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zerochops Feb. 5, 2013 @ 11:24 p.m.

Probably going to end up liking it mre than Morph.

WTF D'rhonda chord changes.

Hip hop opening number not expected.

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Alan Segal Feb. 7, 2013 @ 7:03 p.m.

Thanks for the feedback zerochops. I haven't stopped listening to it.

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