Two Against Nature

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Two Against Nature
Steelydan-twoagainstnature.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 29, 2000
Recorded1997–99
Genre
Length51:25
LabelGiant
Producer
Steely Dan chronology
Alive in America
(1995)
Two Against Nature
(2000)
Plush TV Jazz-Rock Party
(2000)
Singles from Two Against Nature
  1. "Cousin Dupree"
    Released: 1999
  2. "Jack of Speed"
    Released: 2000
  3. "Janie Runaway"
    Released: 2000

Two Against Nature is the eighth studio album by American rock band Steely Dan. Their first studio album in 20 years, it was recorded from 1997 to 1999[1] and released on February 29, 2000, by Warner Bros. Records.[2]

A critical success, Two Against Nature won the group four Grammy Awards: Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Engineered Album – Non-Classical, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (for the single "Cousin Dupree"). Commercially, it peaked at number six on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and sold more than one million copies,[3] earning a Platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America.[4]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic77/100[2]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[5]
Entertainment WeeklyA[6]
The Guardian3/5 stars[7]
Los Angeles Times4/4 stars[8]
NME7/10[9]
Pitchfork1.6/10[10]
Q4/5 stars[11]
Robert ChristgauA[12]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[13]
Uncut5/5 stars[14]

Two Against Nature was met with both commercial and critical success.[15] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from professional critics, the album received an average score of 77, based on 13 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[2] Writing in March 2000 for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau applauded the music as an excellent "rock comeback" and a "jumpier and snappier, sourer and trickier and less soothing" iteration of the jazz pop featured on Steely Dan's 1977 album Aja, describing it as "postfunk". Thematically, he found it unified by fictitious yet revelatory accounts of "dirty old men" seeking "validation" and "excitement" in their sex lives, which are "full of heady infatuations and random acts of cruelty, self-interest and self-hate, vicious cycles blowing hot and cold", all conveying "the urgency of attraction".[16] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic appreciated the "sharp humor" in the lyrics, but was especially impressed by the music's "depth and character", as he observed "nearly endless permutations within their signature sound".[5] A dissenting view came from Pitchfork reviewer Brent DiCrescenzo, who dismissed the songs as "lengthy, indistinguishable" and "glossy bop-pop" while suggesting Steely Dan lack "soul".[10]

At the 2001 Grammy Awards, Two Against Nature earned Steely Dan wins in the categories of Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Engineered Album – Non-Classical, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (for the single "Cousin Dupree"). For these awards, the band was in competition with younger, more popular recording acts such as NSYNC, Britney Spears, Radiohead, Beck, and Eminem. According to Stereogum writer Zach Schonfeld, Steely Dan's success at the Grammys represented a "revenge of the [baby] boomers" and contributed to resentment among younger listeners toward the band: "[T]he sight of two smug jazz-rock nerds collecting their Grammy from Stevie Wonder as Radiohead and Beck went home nearly empty-handed—helps explain why so many Gen X-ers and old millennials grew up loathing both Steely Dan and the Grammys in equal measure. Needless to say, Steely Dan's elliptical character studies set to yacht rock sleaze didn't speak to disaffected American youth the way, say, The Marshall Mathers LP did."[17]

Steely Dan's supporting tour of North America, Europe, and Japan was equally successful, encouraging them to record the 2003 album Everything Must Go.[15]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.

No.TitleLength
1."Gaslighting Abbie"5:53
2."What a Shame About Me"5:17
3."Two Against Nature"6:17
4."Janie Runaway"4:09
5."Almost Gothic"4:09
6."Jack of Speed"6:17
7."Cousin Dupree"5:28
8."Negative Girl"5:34
9."West of Hollywood"8:21

Personnel[edit]

Steely Dan[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Producers: Walter Becker, Donald Fagen
  • Executive engineer: Roger Nichols
  • Engineers: Phil Burnett, Per-Christian Nielsen, Johan Edlund, Anthony Gorman, Roger Nichols, Ken Ross, Dave Russell, Jay A. Ryan, Elliot Scheiner, Peter Scriba
  • Mixing: Roger Nichols, Dave Russell
  • Mastering: Scott Hull
  • Assistants: Suzy Barrows, Reaann Zschokke
  • Technician: Roger Nichols
  • Editing: Jan Folkson
  • Horn arrangements: Walter Becker (1), Donald Fagen (1, 2, 4-6), Michael Leonhart (1, 3)
  • Project manager: Jill Dell'Abate
  • Project coordinator: Suzana Haugh
  • Consultant: Michael Leonhart
  • Piano tuner: Sam Berd
  • Electric piano technician: Edd Kolakowski
  • Design: Carol Bobolts
  • Photography: Michael Northrup/Jason Fulford
  • Copyist: Michael Leonhart

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[33] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[4] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Awards[edit]

2001 Grammy Awards

Winner Category
"Cousin Dupree" Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
Two Against Nature Album of the Year
Two Against Nature Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical
Two Against Nature Best Pop Vocal Album

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tingen, Paul (August 2003). "Steely Dan – Recording Everything Must Go". Sound on Sound. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Reviews for Two Against Nature by Steely Dan". Metacritic. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  3. ^ "'Two Against Nature,' Steely Dan". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. January 15, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "American album certifications – Steely Dan – Two Against Nature". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 30, 2020. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  5. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Two Against Nature – Steely Dan". AllMusic. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  6. ^ Willman, Chris (March 6, 2000). "Two Against Nature". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on June 3, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  7. ^ Cox, Tom (February 25, 2000). "Steely Dan: Two Against Nature (Giant)". The Guardian. London.
  8. ^ Cromelin, Richard (February 27, 2000). "Rested Steely Dan Reels in '70s on 'Nature'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 28, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  9. ^ Mulvey, John (March 2, 2000). "Steely Dan – Two Against Nature". NME. Archived from the original on June 15, 2000. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  10. ^ a b DiCrescenzo, Brent (February 29, 2000). "Steely Dan: Two Against Nature". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  11. ^ Blake, Mark (April 2000). "Steely Dan: Two Against Nature". Q. No. 163. p. 94. Archived from the original on December 3, 2000. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Steely Dan: Two Against Nature". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  13. ^ Wild, David (March 16, 2000). "Two Against Nature". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  14. ^ MacDonald, Ian (March 2000). "Steely Dan: Two Against Nature". Uncut. No. 34. p. 90.
  15. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (2011). "Steely Dan". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857125958.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 14, 2000). "Doing It Again". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved June 7, 2020 – via robertchristgau.com.
  17. ^ Schonfeld, Zach (February 28, 2020). "Two Against Nature Turns 20". Stereogum. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  18. ^ Kent, David (2006). Australian Chart Book (1993–2005). Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-45889-2.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Steely Dan – Two Against Nature" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 9752". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  21. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Steely Dan – Two Against Nature" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  22. ^ "Steely Dan: Two Against Nature" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  23. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Steely Dan – Two Against Nature" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  24. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Steely Dan". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  25. ^ "トゥ・アゲインスト・ネイチャー スティーリー・ダン" (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on June 25, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  26. ^ "Charts.nz – Steely Dan – Two Against Nature". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  27. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Steely Dan – Two Against Nature". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  28. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  29. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Steely Dan – Two Against Nature". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  30. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  31. ^ "Steely Dan Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  32. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2000". Billboard. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  33. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Steely Dan – Two Against Nature". Music Canada. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  34. ^ "British album certifications – Steely Dan – Two Against Nature". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 30, 2020. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Two Against Nature in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]