Morph The Cat

The stars are bright tonight
The air is sweet
Though summer’s over now
There’s a strange new music in the street

Strangely familiar music at that.
Oh wait, that’s just Donald Fagen‘s new album Morph the Cat.

What a dumb name.
That’s exactly what I thought when I was standing in line to buy the album: “What a dumb name.”

Everyone knows that the hardest part about buying an album from a performer you enjoy is trying not to compare it to their past work. By and large I’ve done pretty well at avoiding that trap though I’ll be quick to say that to this point ‘Morph the Cat’ falls far behind Fagen’s other two albums The Nightfly and Kamakiriad (my personal favorite, an album I’ve listed to hundreds of times over).

First time out of the box I listened to the entire album three or four times through before locking it onto ‘The Great Pagoda of Funn’ for about a week. Yes, one song playing over and over again as I drove around town. For a week. You know, to get the feel of the song. Don’t musicians do this?

I finally went back to listening to the entire album and am now gravitating toward ‘The Night Belongs to Mona’ as it reminds me of someone I once knew (though her name, to the best of my knowledge, was not ‘Mona’)…

Cause the night belongs to Mona
When she’s dancing all alone
Forty floors above the city
CDs spinnin’
AC hummin’
Feelin’ pretty

I know that my perception of the album will mature over time, but I’ll hazard a guess and say that this is my third favorite Donald Fagen album of all time. Though I missed out on the special ‘studio tour’ that helped to kick off the ‘Morph the Cat’ release, I was happy to grab some tickets to the Steely Dan concert that’s coming into Atlanta this August. Michael McDonald is sharing the billing with Becker and Fagen, and it should be a very laid back evening.

Hipster jazz my ass.

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