Steely Dan
Pretzel Logic



by TheMoonchild USER (156 Reviews)
September 6th, 2014 | 9 replies

Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Just one more hit, and I'll be fine.

When an album is a follow-up to one of the most critically and commercially revered albums of all time (in this case, Countdown to Ecstasy), there is obviously going to be as much anticipation for it as there is hostility. Back in the early-to-mid seventies, despite some level of commercial success, Steely Dan were lucky enough to not be so majorly popular yet, and so they didn't feel the pressure to try and top said album. So instead of making the same mistake everyone does by going and spending tons of time on the album to make it perfect, the band went and gave it their honest effort of just doing what they do best, and that's exactly why Pretzel Logic is the ultimate follow-up: it's more of the band doing what they do best, and doing what their fans love them for. And though it doesn't quite reach the same level of greatness as Ecstasy, it comes damn near close.

Pretzel Logic works because it's a natural continuation of their funky jazz-rock sound with some new elements added. It also marks the last time the band had been a band in the true sense of the word, before they'd go through session musician after session musician. So, naturally, this album also works as a transition piece to the impending new era. It also shows the band getting in touch with their catchier side, whilst keeping the complexity of the music. The band waste no time getting right down to the middle of hints with "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", which begins with a lovely marimba solo before it segues into a smooth jazz jaunt with a catchy chorus. For sure, the catchy chorus of "Rikki don't lose that number, you don't wanna call nobody else/Send it off in a letter to yourself" will linger in your head long after it's over, and the guitar riffs mix in almost effortlessly with the with the piano chops that add the nice flavour to the song. Of course, it's safe to say that this sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the album: perfectly mixing the catchy bits with the slow bits, adding some nice sprinklings of riffage here and there, and delivering sweet moment after sweet moment.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Pretzel Logic such a fantastic album- there's so many good things about it. From the perfect chemistry between Becker and Fagen, to the flawless playing from the band, to even the typical sense of humour that is effectively displayed in the lyrics. "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" is ultimately the biggest highlight here- with its humourous and cynical lyrics, to it's chilled-out mid-tempo beat, and that deliciously colourful guitar riff after each chorus. The band play things soft for the most part on Pretzel Logic, and it works- production is tight as ever and musicianship couldn't be more solid. Of course there are a few moments where the band falls short- the horns in "Through With Buzz" do overpower quite a bit and their occasional murder jingle "With a Gun" is slightly below their usual blackly humourous mark- but thankfully there far and in between. The sheer amount of dedication evident in the music is what really sellis, with Fagen and Becker clearly enjoying what they do, and the music lingering in your head long after the needle has been lifted.

While the album may not be on the same level as Countdown, thankfully it's only by a hair. This is sheer brilliance from arguably one of the greatest jazz rock bands, a release showing pure dedication and amazing musicianship. In fact, you even get the sense they enjoyed making this record when you read the snippet of their essay in the 1999 remaster lining notes- as they say, they were no longer the enthusiastic amateurs from the Can't Buy a Thrill period and now were the road warriors of the Countdown period. And with their blend of excellent songwriting and brilliant musicianship, Steely Dan prove themselves to be one of the defining 1970s jazz-rock bands, and remind us of how fun their brand of rock music is. An absolute must-buy for sure.

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user ratings (357)
other reviews of this album
Brendan Schroer STAFF (4.5)
If Countdown to Ecstasy was Steely Dan's proof of concept, then Pretzel Logic is the full realizatio...

CynicalComplex (5)
Ladies and gentlemen, this is soft rock at its best: easy to sing along to, incredibly catchy, but w...

RVFR0319 (5)
The likes of Steely Dan were always a novelty in the jaded rock-dominated 70s; no other group was do...

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 6th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

Albums like this are proof of how much better known the band need to be. Brilliant stuff all around

September 6th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

lol theyre pretty well known dude you just gota remember most of sputnik are 15 so theyre still rebellin what their parents dig

great album rikki rules

September 6th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

yeah rikki is a classic, haven't heard the rest of this though

September 6th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

Which explains the seemingly unending shitcore worship on this site...

September 6th 2014


Nice one

September 6th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

nice rev, this is my favourite one of theirs

September 7th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5


September 8th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

I plan on reviewing the whole discography but as I've been a bit busy lately I'll do it when I have. A chance. I also hope to review Donald Fagen's solo stuff too

September 8th 2014


I'm Dirty Dan.

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