Turn That Pep Talk Heartbeat Over Again

Stacey tried
I was halfway crucified
I was high upon the uprights
Of no tomorrow
You zapped in
And my life began again
Saved me from another weekend
Of football-free sorrow
All day long
We would sing that old fight song
And every word we sang
I knew was true

Are you with me, Doctor Lou?
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew?
Are you crazy? Are you high?
Or just an ordinary guy?
Have you done all you can do?
Are you with me, Doctor?

Don’t seem right
I’ve been strung out here all night
I’ve been waiting for the hits
You said you’d bring to me
An edit bay
Where the football highlights play all day
I went searching for the words
You used to say to me

Wendi lies
You could see it in her eyes
But imagine my surprise
When I saw you

Are you with me, Doctor Lou?
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew?
The money’s lovely, your bosses sly
And you’re an ordinary guy
Have they finally got to you?
Can you hear me, Doctor?
Are you with me, Doctor?

(Thanks to Awful Announcing and Saturday Sound-Offs for the first video, and apologies to Fagen and Becker.)

Vinyl Fetish: Steely Dan.

Editors’ note: every so often, I will continue to justify my musical fixations by writing about them here. I understand this installment, like the last one, is kind of old-school — eventually, I’ll get to newer stuff.

In the song “Deacon Blues,” off 1977’s Aja, Donald Fagen sings about an average fellow looking to be a star on the jazz bandstand, romanticizing the life of a hip musician to great extent, wanting to learn to “work” the saxophone, playing just what he feels, drinking all night and dying behind the wheel, anything to escape the mundane life. This is possibly as autobiographical as Steely Dan would get, as Fagen and Walter Becker were both jazz and blues fetishists, college-educated, looking to make it as songwriters in a Brill Building era that was on its way out in the wake of the Beatles and Bob Dylan, never mind that their own songs were way too idiosyncratic for anyone else to sing. It’s that identification that probably gives Becker and Fagen their large cult of fans to this day: what amazes me is that I met a lot of 18 and 19-year old Dan fans in college (in 2000), and these were the same people listening to and playing the latest strain of indie rock, power pop, or what have you.

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