Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Song #389 of 9999 - Deacon Blues by Steely Dan

Song #389 of 9999

Title: Deacon Blues
Artist: Steely Dan
Year: 1977
Album: Aja

Forcing myself to write a quick, short blog post tonight so I can hang out with my friend and guest blogger Erik Schlosser (see post #360). We decided to feature one of our favorite songs from Aja, the brilliant "Deacon Blues."

Rarely does a singer sing about a character this pathetic in the first person. From the outset of the song, Donald Fagen describes a gluttonous man in the most grandiose of terms:
This is the age of the expanding man
That shape is my shade, there where I used to stand.
The song continues down a dark path of gambling, drinking, sex and—worst of all—saxophone playing. The chorus separates the winners and losers of life and it's clear where this dude stands:
I'll learn to work the saxophone
I'll play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whisky all night long
And die behind the wheel
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues
In the end, Erik and I debated whether this was a celebration of the degenerate lifestyle or a suicide note(!). We couldn't decide and Fagen isn't telling. What do YOU think?

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