Everything this reclusive studio duo-Donald Fagen and Walter Becker-ever released on their seven platinum-selling albums, plus the hit single FM , two B-sides ( Here at the Western World and a live Bodhisattva ) and a previously unreleased demo of Everyone's Gone to the Movies . Big booklet, too!
As should be expected, Steely Dan's four-disc box set isn't like all the other rectangular pop-music retrospectives/tombstones. Not for Messrs. Walter Becker
and Donald Fagen
the typically bloated, ego-jacking crate padded out with childhood recordings, suspect cassette demos, and broken-down session takes, annotated by candid snapshots purloined from some distant relative. Nope, this is simply Dan Mach 1's complete oeuvre, from the craft-conscious pop of Can't Buy a Thrill
to the jazzy torpor of Gaucho
, laid out chronologically and neatly compressed into four discs, with not even a handful of "bonus" cuts (a live recording of "Bodhisattva," a '71 demo of "Everyone's Gone to the Movies" with Flo and Eddie
on the side, "Here at the Western World," a Royal Scam
outtake, and their obligatory soundtrack cameo, "FM") to color outside the lines. The liner notes are suitably smart, even if they occasionally strain trying to stay astride of B&F's patent sardonicism. For the aspiring Steely Dan completist, a fine place to start. --Jerry McCulley