There is a welcome impenetrability to Pretzel Logic. Steely Dan’s third album, which I bought in February 1999, had pretty music and indelible choruses (“With a Gun”), pretty music and perplexing choruses (“Monkey in Your Soul”). It had a Duke Ellington cover. Its hat tip to Charlie Parker celebrated his genius and limned the dimensions of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s talents. I didn’t buy Katy Lied until a year later, after which I acquired the rest. I didn’t do much classic rock radio listening in the late nineties but “My Old School” and “Do It Again” were part of the ether; they’d always existed.

I would like to give Usher Raymond IV special thanks for sampling “Third World Man,” recognizing the precision with which the last song on the magnificent Gaucho limns soul decay.

My votes:

1. Third World Man
2. The Boston Rag
3. Deacon Blues
4. Your Gold Teeth
5. Midnight Cruiser
6. Any Major Dude Will Tell You
7. Doctor Wu
8. Kid Charlemagne
9. Gaucho
10. Showbiz Kids
11. Black Friday
12. King of the World
13. Rose Darling
14. Godwhacker
15. FM
16. Hey Nineteen
17. With a Gun
18. Home at Last
19. Dirty Work
20. Glamour Profession


1. CTE
2. Gaucho
3. PL
4. The Nightfly
6. Katy Lied
7. Aja
8. Everything Must Go
9. The Royal Scam
10. Sunken Condos