June 13, 2003

From Gerald R. Lucas


Can’t sleep thinking and worrying about things that I can’t control. Isn’t that always the way. I was going to go to Florida this weekend, but that’s out now — something about parts not there, no time because of a fence, or something that means no. I guess I could use the time to actually get some work done, but that’s the last thing on my mind right now. Teaching all week takes it out of me; I don’t want to write on the weekends. If I had any money, I'd visit Savannah. Maybe it’s time to address the mundane, though that seems like all I do these days. At least I have Homer.

Oh, I have listened, albeit cursorily, to the new Steely Dan. So far, my favorite song is “Everything Must Go”: a great metaphor, as are most of the songs on the disc, for quiet endings. When I can quote lyrics (the disc case is in my car, and I really don't want to go get it right now), I'll write more.

I feel like sleeping, but it won't come. I've been up all night and, as the Counting Crows sing, “it’s too late to get high now” to help that sleep along. And I won’t be sleeping all day.

Perhaps next weekend...

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It is a dark and stormy day. I have to teach in a bit, but I'm trying to get in some Steely Dan beforehand.

I really dig the title track from the new album: “Everything Must Go.” The song begins with about a minute of musical breakdown, almost a free jazz of drum rolls, piano falls, and saxophone wails. The music of breakup and breakdown preludes the cool organization of the songs next phase.

As is usual with SD, many of their songs contain subtle associations with sex and unusual relationships, which if you've seen Becker and Fagen, you might understand why. In this track, they present a fuck-it-all acceptance about the end of a business that slides along through a funky groove that seems atypical when compared to the rest fo the album. Cool and bit skeevy, Fagen sings about the dumb shit we sometimes pull when the end is near — things we’ll probably regret later:

Tell me can you dig it Miss Fugazy
Now it’s gone from late to later
Frankly I could use a little face time
In the service elevator
And if Dave from Acquisitions
Wants to get in on the action
With his Handicam in tow
Well we’re goin’ out of business
Everything must go

After the corporation dissolves in a “pool of margaritas,” I guess a little face time in front of the video camera isn’t too big a step. The whole song, and much of the album, addresses how we handle the end, but none are as successful as “Everything.” The business metaphor seems to suggest that much of how we view our relationships and order our reality these days is sanctioned and supported by the language of negotiation and sales, contracts and corporations. The song suggests, however, that this rhetoric is somehow not “real”: the first lines reads “It’s high time for a walk on the real side.” The “real” seems to be an acceptance of demise, but not before one final “hidey-ho face.” Is the real, then, the destruction of the end? The dissolution we’re left with?

There’s a certain glib acceptance of finality here: “does anybody get lucky twice? / Wouldn’t it be nice.”