Janie Runaway

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"Janie Runaway"
Single by Steely Dan
from the album Two Against Nature
Released2000
Format5" CD single
GenreRock
Length4:09
LabelGiant
Songwriter(s)Walter Becker, Donald Fagen
Producer(s)Walter Becker, Donald Fagen
Steely Dan singles chronology
"Jack of Speed"
(2000)
"Janie Runaway"
(2000)
"The Last Mall"
(2003)

"Janie Runaway" is the fourth single from Steely Dan's 2000 album Two Against Nature.

The song (sung in character by Donald Fagen) concerns a young runaway female who has fled her Tampa Bay home when her father becomes enraged after finding out about her involvement with the narrator, an older, affluent New York City man It begins with the narrator extolling the virtues of his new fashionably-attractive, young mistress ("the wonderwaif of Gramercy Park").

The chorus has the man jocularly mocking his young inamorata's naïveté and enchantment with New York City with phrases such as "Who makes the morning fabulous / Who says today's a fun day" and "Who makes the traffic interesting" with words and cadence of these lines spoken in juvenile syllables common to young American females. It also implies him feeling young,revived and vigorous again "Why do I feel like sailing/ painting again"

In the middle verse - which name-checks upmarket grocery store Dean & Deluca - the couple gets some cheap alcohol ("A hearty gulping wine") and the narrator indulges his fantasy evidently acting out a role-playing scenario in which the narrator imagines himself to be Frank Sinatra in 1959, with Janie as a showgirl that Sinatra seduces.

The final verses take on a darker tone - the narrator suggests that they go for a weekend away to his friend Binky's "sugar shack" in Pennsylvania though he also hints that "Janie" may in fact be underage ("Or would that be a federal case?"). The final verse reveals that the runaway intends to bring along another female for a menage a trois or escapade ("Who has a friend named Melanie, who's not afraid to try new things?") The song ends with the final chorus ("Who gets to spend her birthday in Spain? Possibly you - Janie Runaway.") implying the contemplation of the narrator having to leave the country with Janie due to his illegal misconduct and relationship with the under aged girl.

Personnel[edit]