Gaucho Songs Ranked

Gaucho is the seventh studio album by the American rock band Steely Dan, released on November 21, 1980, by MCA Records. The sessions for Gaucho represent the band’s typical penchant for studio perfectionism and obsessive recording technique. To record the album, the band used at least 42 different musicians, spent over a year in the studio, and far exceeded the original monetary advance given by the record label. In 1982, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording and received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. During the two-year span in which the album was recorded, the band was plagued by a number of creative, personal, and professional problems. MCA, Warner Bros., and Steely Dan had a three-way legal battle over the rights to release the album. After it was released, jazz musician Keith Jarrett was given a co-writing credit on the title track after threatening legal action over plagiarism of Jarrett’s song “‘Long As You Know You’re Living Yours”. Gaucho marked a significant stylistic change for the band, introducing a more minimal, groove- and atmosphere-based format. The harmonically complex chord changes that were a distinctive mark of earlier Steely Dan songs are less prominent on Gaucho, with the record’s songs tending to revolve around a single rhythm or mood, although complex chord progressions were still present particularly in “Babylon Sisters” and “Glamour Profession”. Gaucho proved to be Steely Dan’s final studio album before a 20-year hiatus from the recording industry. Here are all of Gaucho’s songs ranked.

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7. Third World Man

“So slick, this album is practically a concept in idea. The winds are named Santa Ana, after a third world man. The Gaucho, a derelict from across the border who wanders the streets, is also a third world man. The intoxicants, Cuervo and Columbian are also third world. While `Glamour Profession’ brings us Barbados and Bogata, more third world connections. The lyrics on this album have far outgrown the simple ones from their first albums. These words weave a story.”

6. Glamour Profession

“`Glamour Profession’. If the first two songs describe a day in time, this one is a whole week. This tale is told from the point of view of the guy who makes all the connections, and he tells the story like he is the star of the show, as nothing could happen without him as the right hand man. The guy they call Hoops has enough green to get private deliveries, yet he overdoses on Brut? And the car, a Chrysler? Really? Is that so no one notices him? What’s wrong with a Countach? This small detail tells me we might be talking about an actual event. The last minute is a guitar solo supported by horns, framing the fade out scene of our cowboys riding off into the sunset. Crime does pay, for a while anyway.”

Steely Dan: Gaucho Album Review | Pitchfork

5. My Rival

“`My Rival’. Now he’s got detectives on the case. This is serious. He’s going to bring down this other man, the old guy with the scar. Our storyteller is standing in the rain outside the bar, watching his house. “The milk truck eased into my space, Somebody screamed somewhere” The truck is in his spot, driven by his wife’s lover. It has pulled into HIS space, be it a parking space or his wife’s lap. It is her who screamed, in delight of course. Unlike what some may say, the “tiny hand” does not refer to a child, only that she was childlike and innocent when he met her. And what is that sound we hear in the background 30 seconds in?”

See more: Steely Dan Albums Ranked

4. Hey Nineteen

“”Hey Nineteen” was the hit. A track you even hear now on soft-pop stations. Ok. Whatever the genre bean counters want to play; if they want to play one of the best bands ever in rock, I am not going to argue. Play “Hey Nineteen,” against Luther Vandross, 1980s Carly Simon, any soft rock or adult contemporary, whatever the hell the bean counterheads want to call it, and there is no comparison..”

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3. Time Out of Mind

“Time Out of Mind’ is the tune that many a rocker will tell you is where the Dan crossed the line into elevator music. It is the most pop of all the tunes here and it lacks the inventiveness that the others share. Very pristine for a Steely Dan song about heroin. I would have expected something much sleazier.”

See more: Steely Dan Songs Ranked

2. Babylon Sisters

“Babylon Sisters” creeps slowly out of the gate to open Gaucho. It is one of Steely Dan’s most quiet numbers. And if you hear the albums in order, it is off-putting. It is only after you let this work you, play it a few times that the horns seep in. As does Chuck Rainy’s amazing bass. Texture on texture moving like glaciers.”

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1. Gaucho

“The title track, depicting a gay love triangle, is exquisite beyond description with its precise construction, stately horns, and a tricky melodic vocal line that tests Fagen. But what the heck is a “Custerdome?” Fagen visualized it as a fictional skyscraper with a revolving restaurant at the top. “Third World Man,” an off-the-wall sketch of a child as terrorist in his sandbox bunker, features a sneering vocal and Larry Carlton’s acidic guitar solo. The song began as “Were You Blind That Day?” which they left of the Aja album.”