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4.2 out of 5 stars
Circus Money
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Ok, first up, forget what you think you know about Becker just because you have 11 Tracks of Whack, that's like trying to compare WALL*E with CARS, you just cant.Fact.
So let's begin with production....if you need to find one album from the last 5 years that will kick your hifi into touch, this album is it. The production quality on this album is absolutely stunning, from the floor humping bass guitar to the spine tingling pianos thru to the chiled out but crystal clear vocal capture...it's a joy to just listen to the engineer and mixer's aural results....i cant praise the 'recording' enough...state of the art..but damn it, it's got VIBE!!,...it's got more polish than a shoe shop sales assistant but a rack full more SOUL!...how on earth they caught the beautiful sounds so well is a testament to quality mics and probably very high end pro tools HD but who cares about that, it kicks my hifi into touch and check this out...any of you with a dedicated sub woofer should check the bottom end.....Holy Sadowsky!...my neighbours love the album and they've only heard the sub bass!!..my old Rel Strata is newly imbibed with juicy kick , bass, and vocal drawl....turn this mutha up and turn this mutha out....the sound is something most modern artists should pay heed to and slap their producers (and thwow them to the gwound vewy woughly)for not achieveing this quality of sound...it brought a tear to my eye....

Enough of the technical stuff, Whats with Becker singing again?..well here is where you abandon all hope and enter into lyrical genius and better delivery than a UPS delivery boy, Becker more than matches his musical bro Mssr Fagen and to be honest?....slaps Morph with a wet NY fish and assigns it to the bargain basement in Tower on Times Square...the man can sing...but unlike the pseudo happy happy stylings of Don...Becker conveys a less than impressed slightly world weary cynical view on his mic and life is all the better for it......you can tell, he's either very intelligent or has spent the last 15 yrs honing his lyrics because as well as being very funny , very dry and very real, they are very interesting...so much to listen to...and yes...finally, we can see where the other 50% of Dan Steele has it's input...Becker's style is laid back, slighly lazy but delivered with the smooth east coast attitude that only gents of his age can truly convey and indeed, muster.

SO what about the songs?..check out the gorgeous Darkling Down....try NOT to sing along with the rifftastic chorus...it's a damn disgrace!....Downtown Canon...same thing....for an artist not known for modern pop ballad sing a long output, this album begs to be sang along to...yes it's a grower, no its not instantly known..it took me about 10 listens to really get into it and now its on repeat..the poor neighbors...aw eck...they need the education..........

The reggae sound to five of the tracks is utter genius and the playing is faultless.....such a chilled out sound.....you can put your beer on the cd and it'll have ice in it,such is the coolness of the backing vocals and riff guitar......add to the mix Keith's awesome laid back drummming and you got a piece of audio perfection...

I really cant praise this album enough, do yourselves a favour, buy it, turn it up and be prepared to have the time of your life.....altogether now...'Darling Down, it's a damned disgrace'..!!

Thanks Larry and Walt.....Grammy should be yours.....end of.
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on 1 April 2015
Not as good in my view as 11 tracks of Whack but maybe it needs a few listens
If you wanted to buy one of the 2 WB albums then go for Whack
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on 26 September 2013
Quite simply - a genius album - upside looking down - Walter is a genius
This and 11 tracks of whack are my desert island discs
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on 12 January 2015
I agree with the bbd review above. This really is as good as any of the steely dan or donald fagen albums.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2008
I'll get straight to the point and just say go to track 5 "Paging Audrey"
and press play- It is absolutely brilliant, easily as good as anything Steely Dan have ever done without a shadow of a doubt and stands out like a sore thumb in the company of Walter's latest batch of songs. Its not that the rest of the album is bad or anything, just that this track is so good that everything else pales by comparison.
The usual high production standards by anything Steely Dan are in order (courtesy this time of Larry Klein) as well as the standard lyrical cynicism that messrs Fagen and Becker are reknowned for.
The music itself is reggae (lite)- Think: SD's "Haitian Divorce" although there are one or two tunes here that do tend to ponder a little (similarly to Donald Fagen's latest "Morph The Cat") but these are generally in a minority (They'll probably get better with time).
Just simply get this for "Paging Audrey" and let the rest of it grow on you.
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on 27 February 2014
Good album, one of those which grows on you with each listening. A real must have if you are a Dan fan.
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on 4 July 2013
I'm not qualified to review music other than to say I like this one rather a lot, if not more
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2010
...people insist on breaking everything down into their component parts, you love Steely Dan, you buy all their albums, and their solo albums cos they are Steely Dans component parts, you play the albums till they fall apart, then you go out and re buy the digitally re mastered versions of the same albums all over again.
This is achieved because when you play the things, you decide you really like them, and want everybody else to know that you like them, that`s when you come here and tell everyone about how great they are. course, this procedure depends on you actually liking the stuff in the first place. We can split the songs down to individual drum beats, or guitar licks, or how many harmonies there are per track, but it all comes down to: `did your ears tell your brain that you found the stuff entertaining?, that it took your breath away?, that you will buy every solo project they produce without having listened to it first?`
As far as Steely Dan go, my answer will always be yes, cos to date they have done, and can do no wrong. They are the band I grew up with, the only band who`s albums are all still top of my playing list, solos included. In this day where there is so much chuck away rubbish out there, The Dan, and component parts will always be on my buy and play to death list, so stop your Gibber Jabber, and immerse yourself in fine, quality sounds.
One question, just while I`ve got you all here, why does `Bye Bye Dallas`, and `Sail the Waterways` never appear on any of the so called ` Best of...` albums, or has never been released on any re mastered album as extra tracks, I love both those songs, but the only copy I have is on an old 12" LP. Anyone out there know anything different?.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2008
I'll start by nailing my colours to the mast. I am a fan. I have bought every Steely Dan and related solo release, plus other spin-offs, since Can't Buy A Thrill way back in 1972, when I was still in my old school. They are, or at least once were, the best band in the world. Ever. I've also had the great pleasure of seeing them live. But by a big margin this has to be the least interesting album to emerge from the whole Dan franchise.

I've observed over the years that many Steely Dan fans simply refuse to believe that Don and Walt are capable of serving up anything less than absolute perfection. And for a long while, that may just have been true. But the cracks have started appearing. Sadly, I just don't see where the euphoria for this new album comes from. I sense that it may be 'the Emperor's new clothes' syndrome at work.

I'd been looking forward to this new one for so long, but sadly Circus Money is just so ordinary. Whereas almost every track on Becker's first solo album 11 Tracks of Whack back in 1994 was brimful of originality, this is such a tired affair and most of the songs are so unmemorable. And on top of that, Walt sounds so disinterested. It's a largely one-paced affair, the reggae-lite arrangements are ultimately irritating (I just don't understand the comparisons with Haitian Divorce - that had verve and zip and, boy, it ROCKED) and, by and large, even the lyrics lack the Dan's normal bite. Give me "Surf and/or Die", "Cringemaker" "Hat Too Flat" "Down In the Bottom" and "Lucky Henry" over most of these cuts. I still listen to Tracks of Whack, 14 years on. I doubt that I'll be playing this new one in 14 weeks' time. Shame. Roll on the next Dan album, and hopefully a return to form.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 11 November 2008
I ordered this before it was released, determined to be first with a review. As soon as I listened to it, I knew I'd have to wait a while or risk rushing to a judgement I might regret. It needs a lot of listening over a reasonable period and, in my view, the uncomplimentary reviews here are a little harsh.

Initially, there's nothing "obvious" - it's a lazy-sounding, laid-back affair with about half of it following a pretty steady reggae groove. Once the tunes start to take shape and the subtle rhythms dig in, it's quite a hypnotic and satisfying experience with a mature, consistent very well-crafted feel, knitted together with the typical Becker creepy storybook lyrics; quite suited to that late-night dimly-lit chill-out.

However, musically, it's nowhere near the extrovert variety to be found in his first offering, the superb Eleven Tracks of Whack, boasting the bizarre funk-groove of "Girlfriend" (featuring berserk sax solo and Bugs Bunny exchange), the clever key-changes and beautiful keyboard phrases of "Moody Bastard" and the brilliantly knockabout "Hat Too Flat" with its Dr. Zeus-style references. Gone too are the slicing, glassy chords of "Surf and/or Die"; the angular, off-key guitar solos of "Junkie Girl"; the gorgeous discordant dual-tracked guitar and off-beat percussion of "Lucky Henry"; and the squelchy wah-wah reggae of "My Waterloo. Yes I did like that album!

If you're considering buying Circus Money, a comparison to Steely Dan is what you might be interested in. Well, if you liked the pop/soul of Everything Must Go, you'll be ok with this one. If you preferred the jazz/funk of Two Against Nature, then I think you'll be a little disappointed but it really depends on how wide your taste spectrum goes. Instrumentally it's much sparser, depending predominantly on keyboards, percussion and gentle rhythm guitar, with the odd bit of sax or Becker guitar solo. Vocally, well - obviously - it's different, but Becker's drawly, casual style does fit perfectly here and the female backing vocals are pretty much as you'd expect, if a bit baby-doll at times. For me, it's a different album for a different mood and certainly not a Dan album in disguise.
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