Just like dog is the opposite of cat.
Years ago – don’t know why I remember – I posted about how some bands are loved, some bands are popular, even influential, without being heavily imitated. I put forth Steely Dan as a paradigm of a popular, influential band that isn’t imitated. I posited that it’s kind of hard to imitate them. (By contrast, The Velvet Underground is the band that sold a thousand records and started 10,000 bands.) That’s why I was interested when Apple Music offered, this afternoon, a playlist of “Inspired By Steely Dan” tracks. Further, the list promises to pass over “the yacht rock years” – so you can just put 10CC “I’m Not In Love” back where you found it!
Joe Jackson, Kanye West, Phoenix. When Ian Dury and the Blockheads came on I almost laughed out loud.
Here’s the list. How do you rank them? Slickeriness is not necessarily next to Danliness. Just putting an ooze of lounge jazz sleaze in there is not sufficient either, is it? (But it’s kind of hard to say. It’s kind of like trying to be influenced by British music hall tunes from the 40’s without being influenced by the Beatles. Logically, it should be possible, but, in practice, is it?)
N.E.R.D. “Run To The Sun”
Joe Jackson “Steppin’ Out”
Daft Punk “The Game of Love”
Super Furry Animals “It’s Not The End of the World?”
Kanye West “Heard ‘Em Say” (feat. Adam Levine)
Everything But The Girl “Cross My Heart”
Phoenix “If I Ever Feel Better”
Ben Folds Five “Steven’s Last Night In Town”
Ian Dury and the Blockheads “Wake Up And Make Love To Me”
The Roots “Break You Off” (feat. Musiq Soulchild)
Scritti Politti “Absolute”
The Mountain Goats “Cry For Judas”
Minutemen “The Big Stick”
Ween “Freedom of ‘76”
OK. Now that you have listened to them all: I’m 90% sure that The Minutemen were put on this list just to check that people were actually listening all the way through. They do not belong. Also, The Mountain Goats? I was very skeptical about The Roots, but the last minute of that track won me over. The 80’s stuff – Scritti Politti and Everything But The Girl? There seems to be a theory here that anyone playing up the light jazz side to a hazardous degree must be Danly. That seems a fallacy. Destroyer is a totally correct pick, however. Destroyer is a totally Danly band. They are awesome. But they also sound like The Velvet Underground. And so the circle is complete.