Steely Dan's ninth album (excluding "Best Of" and concert albums), released June 10, 2003 on Reprise. The album is available on CD, DVD-A, and in a CD/DVD combination "special edition." It was also released on vinyl in Europe only. Some retailers are selling an import CD/DVD edition at high prices; this is only the Japanese release of the CD/DVD special edition and has no material not in the US release.

Track List:

  1. the last mall
  2. things i miss the most
  3. blues beach
  4. godwhacker
  5. slang of ages
  6. green book
  7. pixeleen
  8. lunch with gina
  9. everything must go

On everything must go, Steely Dan still has the comfortable, familiar sound they left fans yearning for when they all but disappeared after the release of Gaucho in 1980, while also evoking Fagen's outstanding 1982 solo creation, The Nightfly. While some bands try to reinvent themselves with every album, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker stick with what they know works -- it's comfort music, like the comfort food we all know and love. Yet beneath the jazzy, uplifting melodies are the usual inside jokes and black humor that fans have come to expect. It's the same method they used to sneak unsavory stories onto the easy listening stations during their first run at the game, back in the 70's.

Critics might pan the new work as too similar to past music, with no innovation, especially since this is one of the most quickly-created Steely Dan albums yet -- but the new songs still sound fresh despite the familiarity, and generally revolve around feelings of loss that would expectedly be known to guys in their 50's -- but have affected just about everyone in the US since 9/11. It's like a midlife crisis that we all can identify with.

Several tracks, of course, revisit their usual theme of old men relating to young women (or trying to) -- "blues beach," "slang of ages," and "pixeleen" bring us lyrics like "Here comes Trina -- the child bride | I said hey pretty girl -- can I cop a ride" and "Pixeleen | Dream deep my three-times perfect ultrateen" -- although "pixeleen" also seems to hint at the futility of falling for an on-screen digital creation. On the other hand, "things i miss the most" and "lunch with gina" show different sides of dealing unsuccessfully with past relationships.

The title track is the most complex and impressive, and seems to be inspired by the whole dot com crash, claiming "we're goin' out of business, Everything must go." It's like "Black Friday" has finally come to pass, and we've got nothing left to lose -- and this time, the rich folks are feeling it as much as the masses. But somehow I'm convinced that Becker & Fagen will be back for another round.

The tracks in short:
the last mall
Consumerism as the world comes to an end
things i miss the most
loss -- but what hurts the most, losing the wife, the sex, or the Audi TT?
blues beach
70's style rock frustrated at growing old: "It's a stone soul picnic For the early resigned."
A new atheist anthem, or is the devil going hunting?
slang of ages
"Damn, she skipped dimensions" -- age differences are so much more pronounced these days! Also note Becker on lead vocals, which I haven't heard since he debuted "Jack of Speed" on the 1995-6 "Art Crimes" tour
green book
"The torso rocks and the eyes are keepers -- Now where'd we sample those legs?" -- jealousy, online pornography and sexual objectification in the modern age
More sexualizing of teen idols, but virtual ones
lunch with gina
Some women never take no for an answer... and in the end you don't want them too after all.
everything must go
the stocks have crashed, the company's gone under, "I move to dissolve the corporation | In a pool of margaritas."