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Top 5 Steely Dan Songs About L.A.

Look At These Fucking Hipsters
Look At These Fucking Hipsters

See also: Steely Dan Fans Are Assholes

I've long considered Steely Dan the ultimate Los Angeles band. Proof? They're not actually from here, like almost half the city. Like the best Angelenos, they have a healthy hatred for the entertainment industry. And, like all transplants, their memories of the cold, bitter realities of the northeast give them a special appreciation of Los Angeles' climate natives lack. The Dan sometimes took the time to write about Los Angeles. Here are five L.A. anthems by the world's finest studio perfectionists.

"Glamour Profession"

It doesn't matter if you're living on the Boulevard in a doorway, a high-powered celeb out on the town or the drug dealer who keeps them both going: "Living hard will take its toll." Like many of The Dan's best, the true meaning of this song lies hidden beneath a catchy funk riff and a soul hook. It's about an unnamed Hollywood drug dealer, catering to the stars of sports and screen. You thought the "Glamour Profession" in question was acting or modeling? Get with it, son. This is the world of The Dan. The heroes are never America's sweethearts, they're the unsung urban gutter dwellers living fast and free.

"Show Biz Kids"

In Hollywood, there's the film industry. In the Valley, there's the other film industry. While the hardworking people of Pacoima and San Fernando are settling down for a night's sleep, the fast and furious stars of the "other" film industry are reaching for an eight ball and all the tequila they can drink. How long will they be able to hack it? They don't know and they don't care. "Show biz kids / Makin' movies of themselves / You know they don't give a fuck / About anybody else." The Dan knew this before most people in America knew there was porn.

"Babylon Sisters"

The meaning of this song is controversial among Danfans. Here's my take: This cat is having a midlife crisis, see? He ends up indulging himself by dipping his wick in some nubile young black prostitutes. He doesn't want to just ball them, though. He wants to feel loved, to feel wanted. His closest friends know, and their main concern is that, like heroin, this isn't the kind of thing you just dabble in. For his own part, the man wonders if he's up to the task of satisfying more than one at a time. This is some typical aging Hollywood player bullshit. But ain't it delicious?

 

"Bad Sneakers"

Many Dan songs are "Dylanesque," kaleidoscopic and impressionistic. This is one of those songs. However, it tells the tale of existential angst all transplants go through. While it's hard to deny the splendor of the City of Angels, some things just never seem quite right. Like 80 degree days in January and people who don't use the word "fuck" to fill the space between thoughts. Here, Donald Fagen fantasizes about returning to the East Coast to laugh at the frozen rain.

"Everything You Did"

The life was getting to Steely Dan by the time The Royal Scam dropped. This is a dark track off their darkest album. There are two interpretations. Both begin with a man catching his wife being unfaithful. Either he makes his wife recount her dalliances and enjoys the tale a little too much, or he rapes her as a form of revenge. "Turn up the Eagles / The neighbors are listening."

Only in LA.

See also: Steely Dan Fans Are Assholes

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