1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear – Donald Fagen’s Kamakiriad


1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear
#86: Donald Fagen – Kamakiriad (1993)

Sometimes a really brilliant concept just goes off and starts to stink. MATT KELLY on what’s wrong with the Steely Dan man’s second solo LP.

Donald Fagen’s face on the cover perfectly summarizes my feelings about this record.

Are you surprised? I’m not, as unpopular an opinion as this is.

My disenchantment with Camp Dan has been on the horizon for a while. Despite how much I love their early work, since 1977’s Aja I’ve grown increasingly distant from Fagen’s painfully sophisticated, squeaky-clean jazz-pop leanings which reach an arguable nadir on his second solo album.

Kamakiriad is eight songs in 50 minutes, meaning an average length of over six minutes despite featuring on average six seconds of music. These tracks are so lifeless and repetitive, with unimaginative, minimal effort vocal melodies, drums so dry I need a glass of water and just an awful oily middle-aged self-styled cool guy vibe.

There’s some concept here about Fagen taking a road trip in a futuristic automobile, which is apt because the album will make you recall a childhood trapped in the car on lengthy journeys as your dad played Steve Winwood’s Roll With It album over and over.

If you’d like to hear an album in the style of the 1986 Big Adult Pop explosion seven years late and with no energy, Kamakiriad is here for you. Personally, I think this vehicle is out of gas.

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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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