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4.7 out of 5 stars
Countdown To Ecstasy
Format: Audio CDChange
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on October 18, 2002
Walter Becker & Donald Fagen's musical creation was apparently not meant for live shows (at least during the 70s). The smooth sterility of their perfected sound could not survive many tours, which is why Becker & Fagen soon haulted any further live shows (until the 90s anyway), frustrated and disappointed with them altogether. Because it was written and recorded during and straight after their limited touring days, "Countdown To Ecstacy" possesses the band's live sound captured in the studio.
The mood, pace, and grim attack found on this album are all excellent; the duo's tasty pessimism was in full play (refer to the cynical masterpiece 'Show Biz Kids'), and the material on "Countdown To Ecstacy" reflects their frustration of the rigours of unsatisfactory live shows and the horrors of stardom. Although this album has a number of memorable fan favorites like 'My Old School' and 'The Boston Rag,' many parts of the album seem rushed and hurried, even repetitve and feverish (another fan favorite 'Bodhisattva') and sometimes uninspired ('King of the World').
"Countdown To Ecstacy" can be admired for its raving, cynical wit and a feel that's a bit more rock-oriented than jazz-oriented, but its hastiness is hard to ignore.
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on November 20, 2000
Although not a committed fan of Steely Dan, I've a soft spot for this one. When Becker & Fagen became a duo, they lost...cross-pollination. Skunk Baxter, Jimmy Hodder & Denny Dias contributed to this work in hard-to-nail-down ways, but it's the only Steely Dan album that sounds like it came from a *group* besides its predecessor. The songs sound different from each other; the arrangements are distinct. Although Fagen & Becker continued to create wonderful songs after "Countdown To Ecstasy", they created a signature sound that always blew across my mind before I ever really started to listen. I could always say, "I can't identify the song yet, or the album, but that sure sounds like Steely Dan"--and be right 95% of the time.
So, I recommend this for it's distinct jewels ("King Of The World", "My Old School", "Bodhisattva") rather than the overall aurally homogenous washes of 'Aja' (excepting "Peg") or "Katy Lied". I recommend this in the same spirit that I recommend "Roxy Music", back when there were 2 Brian/Bryans in Roxy Music band, over something as serene but undifferentitated as "Avalon". You might like later SD albums better as wholes because they don't jar your groove, but this cd has a *band*, and each track is sonically singular, far more than on succesive albums.
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on February 21, 2015
Steely Dan's best. Good purchase
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