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4.8 out of 5 stars43
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 25 April 2000
Pretzel Logic was the first Steely Dan album I ever heard and I didn't hear it till about three years after its release. By then I was twenty-two and had reached the conclusion that no pop music was ever going to interest me the way the Beatles and Stones had done when I was nine or ten.
At first hearing it sounded good. Unlike everything else it just kept on improving with every subsequent hearing. These guys were playing every kind of music with tremendous panache and style: bebop, a superlative Ellington cover, heavyish rock, funky things, even a touch of country music. Yet all the melodies were just so interesting and distinctive. The lyrics were weird but engaging. The singer's rasping, nasal, but tuneful voice was just right for the rather biting nature of the material. The arrangements were stunning and the solo work was just without any flab at all, straight to the point with consummate skill every time. After a few hearings I was hooked and I still am twenty-three years later.
If you like good music of any kind and have never heard Steely Dan, do yourself a big favour and listen to this one. It's a good introduction from their mid-career. It's not even their best but it is great! Once hooked you can go forwards and backwards through their ever-strong repertoire. This group have never produced anything sub-standard. Enjoy. I envy you the opportunity of a new discovery.
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on 9 February 2012
Well strike me dead, there I was thinking this was accepted as their best and biggest. Regardless, it's a great album and I love it dearly. During the days when I found it hard to listen to anything but Eminem and Gorillaz, my parents started putting this on in the car, and after hating it I gradually came to accept it, finding myself singing along, and coming to love the characters, the grooves, the rhythms, the melodies, the solos. I even read into it too deeply, thinking of it as a concept album.

"East St. Louis Toodle-Oo", which I never liked (I think it's the guitar tone) aside, the album is fantastic: the deathless "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" with its beautiful piano and lyric that I insist is about love of some sort; the energetic, catchy "Parker's Band" with its incredible soloing; and the cool, oh so smooth title track.

Years on, now a punk lover, I rediscovered it and just couldn't stop listening, and just writing about it now makes me want to hear it again. I'd rate it above Can't Buy A Thrill, but can't say if it's their best - all I can say is that it's brilliant. Highly recommended.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 10 August 2012
After the sun-flecked Californian ebullience of Can`t Buy a Thrill and the languid immaculacy of Countdown to Ecstasy, this enigmatically titled beauty is a more edgy, urban affair, with the incisive guitar of Jeff "Skunk" Baxter still mercifully present but more part of the whole mix than previously - though hear his eloquent soloing on the magnificent opener, Rikki Don`t Lose That Number, one of THE great Dan tracks.
Some of the songs on this impeccable album are brief and to-the-point. They`re all played with a succinct sparkle which would tell even the most cursory listener that here is a band that can really play! There is more of a jazz vibe (man) on this one, though in all the Dan`s music there`s a jazz sensibility not far away.
Steely Dan aren`t really a rock band - any more than Van Morrison or, say, Tim Buckley are rock singers. They straddle styles in the same way as The Band, Crowded House and Squeeze do, all bands that play what they have to play and let the labels look after themselves. I think this is simply great music, perfectly played.
They even include a Duke Ellington tune as a kind of `interlude` midway through the album. It`s a dandy tribute from one world to another, and let`s not forget the Duke had died that year (1974).
Parker`s Band - another jazz reference, one assumes; the Dan`s lyrics give little away - is a short, quite frantic song, followed by the 1-and-a-half mins of Through With Buzz, one of their strangest, most oblique songs, over in a regretful flash. It`s a song that, in a better world, might have been a top ten hit - it has the same catchy immediacy of the almost equally brief Box Tops` 60s hit The Letter. Next up is the much longer title track, a wonderful harmony-driven song with a nice mellow solo from the Skunk.
The final three tracks are a suitably riddling trio of unnerving charmers, all angular melodies and jumpy rhythms - though the two-minute With A Gun is almost Beatles-ish, like one of those songs near the end of Rubber Soul, such as The Wait or The Word. Great stuff.
This is one of the Dan`s most musically ambitious and impressive records, and I find myself wanting to play it more and more, even though I`ve lived with it for about 35 years. But I haven`t lived with it in all its glorious remastered sound. If ever a band benefited from the digital age, S Dan are that band. The whole kaboodle sounds terrific.

You won`t believe what the boys are blowing
You got to come on man
And take a piece of Mister Parker`s band
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VINE VOICEon 9 July 2003
I can't hear East St Louis Toodle-oo without remembering the immortal Annie Nightingale Sunday afternoon show on Radio 1 in the mid-late 70s. Those of a certain age will recognise the track as Annie's closing theme tune, and a damn fine charismatic tune it is to this day. Not only that, but Annie got me into Steely Dan in a big way. She would often play Do It Again and Rikki Don't Lose That Number.
Consequently, I've had a cherished vinyl copy of Pretzel Logic since way back when, and still think to this day that each song is a minor gem, honed and crafted with the scrupulous attention to detail imparted by Messrs Fagen and Becker, but best appreciated as an ensemble - the whole is undoubtedly greater than the sum of the parts.
If I had to pick a weakest number, it would probably be the title track (Donald's Napoleon syndrome probably explains a lot!), but the finer characteristics of this album win out. Pretzl Logic, the album, leaves me with a smile on my face - nearly 30 years since its launch. Not a bad record (pun intended!)
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on 6 November 2012
I look at all my Dan cd's lined up on the shelf and this is the one that gets played the most. I do love all their music but the lyric to the title track Pretzel Logic fills me with the warm and fuzzies every time.

"I have never met Napoleon, but I plan to find the time... Cos he looks so fine upon that hill, they tell me he was lonely, he's lonlier still... Those days are gone forever, over a long time ago..."

I wish I could write lyrics like these.....
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Even after forty years and more still discovering new facets to the songs on Pretzel Logic. Any Major Dude is one of my all time favourite numbers of anyone, and Barrytown never fails to lift my spirits. This purchase makes it (by my reckoning) two vinyl discs and three CDs - a lot of plays to wear out that number of discs. I can only recommend this to anyone who is new to Steely Dan, it's probably the most accessible of all the albums, the songs tighter and with a "Power-Pop" vibe, that was the 1970s freshest sound to my hearing. Wonderful!
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on 11 November 1999
In my top five albums of all time, this Steely Dan masterpiece is timeless in content, melody and production. No two tracks are even closely similar - just press the repeat button and listen to the album again and again.
The work moves from the easy going and listenable pieces of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "With A Gun" to the potent comments on society of "Barrytown", "Charlie Freak" and "Any Major Dude".
The album of the millenium and beyond - if its your only purchase this year - do it now!!!
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on 9 November 2014
The fact that "Cavern 19" gave only 4 stars prior to having his/her ears syringed means this is permanently listed as four-and-a-half stars. If ever there was a nailed-on 5 star album, this is it. New to the Dan? Look no further.
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on 19 August 2011
I bought this album on cd, despite owning the original on vinyl, after hearing the Silver Sun cover of "Barrytown" on the "OldSkoolHooligans" t-shirt website. Classic rock, well delivered. Lovely stuff.
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on 3 October 2014
Not my favourite Steely Dan album but certainly worth checking out. The radio hit 'Rikki don't lose that number" is track 1 and the title track "Pretzel logic" is a classic that fans adore.
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