11 Tracks of Whack

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Click for availability and more information 11 Tracks of Whack, by Walter Becker

Walter Becker's 1994 release, 11 Tracks of Whack, never managed to attract as much popularity or critical acclaim as The Nightfly, by Becker's Steely Dan co-conspirator, Donald Fagen. Nevertheless, I prefer the former and listen to it more often than the Fagen solo album, partly because The Nightyfly's production is ultra-clean, almost to the point of sterility. Not so, 11 Tracks of Whack (henceforth ETOW). ETOW also seems more human in its lyrical concerns, which may reflect a particularly harrowing time for Becker, following the breakup of Steely Dan, struggles with chemical overindulgence and his removal to Hawaii. I hasten to point out this is only conjecture on my part; deriving from vague hints in interviews with the reunited Dan principals. The album is also a departure from The Nightfly and most Steely Dan records in that, with the exception of Dean Parks on guitar, studio musician A-Team players are absent. The result: an idiosyncratic blend of musical styles (rock, fusion, country, jazz, some cheesy drum machine tracks) with an oddball charm, consistently fascinating lyrics and more heart than the entire Steely Dan oeuvre, and I'm a huge SD fan. One listen to "Little Kawai", ETOW's final song, takes you to a warm fuzzy (though not saccharine) place, not encountered in any song by Becker's regular band. Caveat: Becker's singing may take some getting used to.
-David

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry published on December 2, 2005 5:14 PM.

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations was the previous entry in this blog.

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