Wednesday, April 14, 2021

"Century's End" by Donald Fagen

Song#:  3463
Date:  04/02/1988
Debut:  92
Peak:  83
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Soft Rock, Jazz-Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  After Steely Dan broke up, Donald Fagen moved ahead with a solo career and released the LP The Nightfly in 1982. The Grammy-nominated set would be a #11 platinum seller that contained the #26 Pop single "I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)." After that, Fagen seemed to stay quiet for most of the decade but did emerge with this soundtrack single. Fagen had been tapped to write the score for the Michael J. Fox drama flick Bright Lights, Big City. In addition, he wrote this song specifically for the movie and soundtrack album. It would be released as a single to help promote the LP, which got to #67. The song only managed a few weeks at the bottom of the Pop chart, but did better at Rock getting to #12 and AC where it got to #30.

ReduxReview:  This jazzy shuffle is a good tune that doesn't stray too far from Fagen's solo works or material with Steely Dan. It didn't really do much to advance his sound either, but it was a comfortable listen for anyone who was a fan of Fagen or Steely Dan. I was never a big fan of either, so this song kind of fell flat for me. It definitely wasn't something that was going to ride high on the Pop chart alongside Whitney, Rick Asltey, or Def Leppard. It was a little too subtle, jazzy, and arty to make any headway. The breezy track wasn't bad. It just wasn't much different from what Fagen had been doing since the early 70s.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Fagen would finally follow-up The Nightfly in 1993 with Kamakiriad. None of its single would reach the Pop chart, but "Tomorrow's Girls" would get to #20 Rock/#32 AC. Like its predecessor, it would also be nominated for an Album of the Year Grammy. The LP would get to #10 and go gold. Fagen would then come out with solo albums in 2006 and 2012. In 2000, he would reunite with Walter Becker for a new Steely Dan album titled Two Against Nature. The LP would get to #6 and go platinum. It also surprisingly won the Grammy for Album of the Year over favorites Radiohead (for Kid A) and Eminem (for The Marshall Mathers LP). It was their third time being nominated in the category. They also won two other Grammys that night. The three awards were their first Grammy wins after six previous nominations. The duo would then record 2003's Everything Must Go. It was less successful, but did get to #9. It would be their final album as Becker died in 2017.


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