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Steely Dan Countdown To Ecstasy Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 172 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, November 17, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 17, 1998)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B00000DI0J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,613 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alan Caylow on September 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
How bizarre it is that Steely Dan's brilliant second album, 1973's "Countdown To Ecstasy," wasn't exactly a hit upon it's initial release. Maybe it was the weird watercolor painting on the cover. Or maybe it was the first single, "Show Biz Kids," which contained the f-word (though the naughty word was edited out for single release). Or how about bad marketing on MCA Records' part...who the heck knows? Thankfully, time has proven "Countdown" to be one of Steely Dan's very best albums. Dan masterminds Walter Becker & Donald Fagen, along with guitarists Jeff "Skunk" Baxter & Denny Dias, as well as drummer Jim Hodder, totally cook on this magnificent set. Practically every single cut here is a Dan classic: the outstanding jazz/rock blowout that is "Bodhisattva," the cocktail pop of "Razor Boy," the awesome melodic rock of "The Boston Rag" (tell all your buddies that it ain't no drag!), and the salsa-esque "Your Gold Teeth." But it doesn't end there---there's also the slinky "Show Biz Kids," in which the band get into a single groove, stay there for the whole song, and jam into the heavens. This is followed by the masterful piano bopper "My Old School," the tasty, country-flavored "Pearl Of The Quarter," and the groovy finale, "King Of The World." The songs are amazing, Becker & Fagen & the gang are superb (both in their musical chemistry and studio skills), Fagen's vocals are very soulful, and the street-sensibile lyrics are intruiging. YOU will be in total ecstasy listening to Steely Dan's "Countdown To Ecstasy," one of the Dan's most supreme offerings.
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Format: Audio CD
So there are more people with high opinions on this album. I think there is no other album that I've liked so much in the last three decades. Regardless of my varying tastes (punk, new wave, industrial, disco, grunge, whatever) I've always been excited by this masterpiece. Not for sentimental reasons or to be musically correct.

I've played it more than 500 times and still it sounds fresh to me (and still I don't understand the lyrics ...)
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By A Customer on March 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
How many lonely nights did this album get me through?
How many long road trips were made shorter by this album?
How many hangovers were turned from unbearable to tolerable by this album?
Many, many, many...
It might be hard to understand for you East Coast/Left Coast types, but being a Dan fan in Montana circa 1975 was a very cool, private, exclusive thang. Oh, we were seen as weird, all right...embracing this music that was not country, not Z.Z. Top, not the Bee Gees. And whenever we tried to proselytize, the first thing we always heard was, "I don't like the singer's voice. It's weird."
So we just dug the Dan. They broke through on the radio in Great Falls, MT (!) with "Do It Again" but nobody else got too excited. For us, though, Can't Buy A Thrill provoked the same kind of aural excitement I later felt the first time I heard the Sex Pistols. This was honest-to-God NEW MUSIC. We wore out the Thrill vinyl and waited for the next release -- and, we assumed, the next radio hit.
Well, the album arrived and the hit didn't. We had no clue what this 2nd Dan album contained. We were too scared -- not to mention financially challenged -- to take a flyer on an album we hadn't heard at all.
It was Todd who finally bellied up to the bar and bought the 8-track and played it for us on his maxo-cheapo stereo. The sound was so bad, we thought the girlie backups in "Show Biz Kids" were singing "pop sweet kids."
But now we're older and more affluent...and Pop Sweet Kids is the perfect description. Countdown to Ecstasy is a perfect pop album -- years ahead of its time, for sure -- and if I ever get to hear a disc's worth of lyrics that are as memorable as this one...
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Format: Audio CD
Is it possible there is someone for whom Two Against Nature will be their first Steely Dan record? If so, this one should be their next. Before Aja, Steely Dan actually was more rock than jazz, and this album (along with Royal Scam) was the deepest into hard rock they would ever go.
I would submit "Bodhisatva" is the ultimate jazz-rock fusion number, fuzz tones and great "air guitar" lines over a truly swinging beat. They also hit their pop-rock peak with "My Old School" and their country-rock peak with "Pearl of the Quarter." "Your Gold Teeth" is a cool jazz-rock jam. "Show Biz Kids" is hard to classify, but it's got some great slide guitar.
Fast-forwarding 27 years to the smooth textures of 2 v. Nature, you can see that Steely Dan of today is not the same band it was in 1973. In fact, by the time of "Aja," just four years later, they'd abandoned this path, abolishing the fuzz tone forever. Perhaps this music has a more juvenile sound to it, rock being by definition more "childish" than jazz. But "Countdown to Ecstasy" is by no means a lesser achievement.
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