Two Against Nature (Remastered) Steely Dan

Album info



Label: Warner Music Group

Genre: Pop

Subgenre: Pop Rock

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Gaslighting Abbie06:10
  • 2What A Shame About Me05:17
  • 3Two Against Nature06:17
  • 4Janie Runaway04:08
  • 5Almost Gothic04:09
  • 6Jack Of Speed06:17
  • 7Cousin Dupree05:29
  • 8Negative Girl05:35
  • 9West Of Hollywood08:23
  • Total Runtime51:45

Info for Two Against Nature (Remastered)

Sure, Steely Dan are a decade or two late in delivering Two Against Nature, their follow-up to 1980's Gaucho. But time may finally be on the side of rock's most illustrious music geeks. The old knock on Steely Dan was that they were too good for their own good — if Walter Becker and Donald Fagen had recorded a studio album during rock's extended Amateur Hour of the early Nineties, they might have been publicly flogged. Unlike their El Lay-based muso contemporaries, Steely Dan managed to mix their craft with some truly crazy shit — slick-sounding songs about perverts, assassins, divorcees and other non-strangers. We should have expected no less from a band named after a dildo, albeit a hugely literary one.

Two Against Nature is Dan defined. The album mixes world-class chops and jazzy, postgraduate soul sound with some wonderful, vague storytelling (sample simile: 'sizzling like an isotope'). As always in Steely Dan's marvelously impressionistic world, we often don't know what the hell the people in the songs are actually doing, but we're pretty damn certain that they shouldn't be doing it at all. Still, what makes Two Against Nature work isn't its cerebral ellipticity but its stunning musical clarity. That's all the more impressive because the album is less a summit of super sessioneers (... la the group's past efforts) than it is a showcase for what Steely Dan's core twosome can do — reluctant guitar god Becker remains a fluid, precise player, while Fagen covers the keyboard waterfront with a variety of jazz and R&B styles. Also shining are the assorted drummers, including Vinnie Caliuto, Ricky Lawson and particularly the great Sonny Emory.

The immediate grabber here is 'Cousin Dupree' — a bouncy midtempo charmer that has a little of the dirty-older-man magic that helped make Gaucho's 'Hey Nineteen' an enduring anthem for every Humbert Humbert wanna-be. Also memorable are 'What a Shame About Me,' which has a 'Deacon Blues'-like charm, and the more luxurious, autobiographical sounding 'West of Hollywood.'

Two Against Nature gets a little chilly here and there, but that sort of cool has long been a part of the Dan's distinctive nature. Here's hoping these two kids pick up the pace so we can get a few more albums out of them before all of us stop reelin' in the years. (David Wild, Rolling Stone Reviews)

Donald Fagan, vocals, keyboards
Walter Becker, guitars
John Herington, guitars
Ted Baker, piano
Ricky Lawson, drums
Tom Barney, bass
Cornelius Bumphus, sax
Chris Potter, sax
Michael Leonhart, trumpet
Jim Pugh, trombone
Carolyn Leonhart, backing vocals
Cynthia Calhoun, backing vocals
Victoria Cave, backing vocals

Recorded at River Sound, NYC; Clinton Sound, NYC; Hyperbolic Sound, Maui; and Electric Lady, NYC.
Executive engineer: Roger Nichols
Engineers: Phil Burnett, Roger Nichols, Elliot Scheiner, Dave Russell
Second engineers: Per Christian Nielsen, Johan Edlund, Jay Ryan, Anthony Gorman, Ken Ross, Pete Scriba, Mark Faunfelder
ProTools technician: Roger Nichols
Additional editing: Jan Folkson

TWO AGAINST NATURE won the 2001 Grammy Award for Album Of The Year
Won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album
Won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album and 'Cousin Dupree'
Won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal

Walter Becker (bass) and Donald Fagen (vocals, keyboards) were the core members of Steely Dan throughout its variety of incarnations. The two met at Bard College in New York in 1967 and began playing in bands together shortly afterward. The duo played in a number of groups -- including the Bad Rock Group, which featured future comedic actor Chevy Chase on drums -- which ranged from jazz to progressive rock. Eventually, Becker and Fagen began composing songs together, hoping to become professional songwriters in the tradition of the Brill Building. In 1970, the pair joined Jay & the Americans' backing band, performing under pseudonyms; Becker chose Gustav Mahler, while Fagen used Tristan Fabriani. They stayed with Jay & the Americans until halfway through 1971, when they recorded the soundtrack for the low-budget film You Gotta Walk It Like You Talk It, which was produced by the Americans' Kenny Vance. Following the recording of the soundtrack, Becker and Fagen attempted to start a band with Denny Dias, but the venture was unsuccessful. Barbra Streisand recorded the Fagen/Becker composition ‘I Mean to Shine’ on her album Barbra Joan Streisand, released in August 1971, and the duo met producer Gary Katz, who hired them as staff songwriters for ABC/Dunhill in Los Angeles, where he had just become a staff producer. Katz suggested that Becker and Fagen form a band as a way to record their songs, and Steely Dan -- who took their name from a dildo in William Burroughs' Naked Lunch -- was formed shortly afterward. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic)

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