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To call Christgau's B- a "positive review" is perhaps overstating the case. His own definition of a B- was "a competent or mildly interesting record that will usually feature at least three worthwhile cuts." These days he rarely bothers writing about anything lower than a B+, and has said on more than one occasion that, life being finite, he doesn't recommend spending time on mediocrity when excellence is always close at hand. His (as always) succinct review in its entirety:
"With Walter Becker down to composer credits and very occasional bass, Donald Fagen progresses toward the intellectual cocktail rock he's sought for almost a decade--followed, of course, by a cadre of top-drawer El Lay studio hacks, the only musicians in the world smart enough to play his shit. Even the song with Aretha in it lends credence to rumors that the LP was originally entitled Countdown to Lethargy. After half a dozen hearings, the most arcane harmonies and unlikely hooks sound comforting, like one of those electromassagers that relax the muscles with a low-voltage shock. Craftsmen this obsessive don't want to rule the world--they just want to make sure it doesn't get them. B-"
"Hacks"? "Shit"? "Lethargy"? Relgif (talk) 17:02, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Incidentally Mr. C. seems to have missed out on the fact that many of the sessionmen were East coast - Aja was the actual L.A.-played album. 22.214.171.124 (talk) 10:22, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Anyone have an idea of approximately how much time - and the patience of their musicians - they could have saved if they'd had access to a good sampler for the drumming? A few years later, Scritti Politti achieved something like the kind of drumming I imagine Steely Dan were after on the Cupid & Psyche 85 album, a record where, by Green Garthside's own admission, pretty much everything was run through samplers, especially the drums.126.96.36.199 (talk) 11:24, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Becker was to use the drum machine extensively on his 1994 solo album 11 Tracks of Whack, but am not convinced it always succeeds. Certainly for Gaucho, and other albums, B&F made a big thing about using Bernard Purdie and his trademark "shuffle". Martinevans123 (talk) 10:45, 22 December 2013 (UTC)