Their second release was their second straight Top 40 album-and their second album in a row with two charting singles, Show Biz Kids and My Old School . None of the album's songs charted particularly high, but if you're a Dan fan, you know that this 1973 album is maybe their best ever. Features original notes and lyrics plus new notes, remastered sound and an unbeatable price.
The only element of sophomore slump in Steely Dan's second album was the disappointing sales response upon its initial release in 1974. Musically, Countdown to Ecstasy
is even stronger than the Dan's terrific debut, pushing the musical envelope with more complex jazz harmonies and intricate time signatures, and carrying their lyrics into even more shadowy realms peppered with sci-fi imagery and street-level slang. The songs are stunning, from the opening blast of "Boddhisattva," a Zen boogie fueled by Denny Dias's and Jeff Baxter's angular, bopping guitars, to the postnuclear apocalypse of "King of the World." In between, they deliver the one-two punch of "Show Biz Kids," with its perfect snapshot of affluent decadence, and "My Old School," in which college daze is remembered through a collision of staccato guitar and blazing horns. --Sam Sutherland