Morph The Cat - Donald Fagen
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. The album is imbued with a post-9/11 dread, which deters Fagen from recycling the nostalgia and Lynchian fantasy of his previous albums.
  2. 100
    Morph... sounds utterly of a piece with Aja. [Apr 2006, p.104]
  3. It is some of Fagen's finest work to date.
  4. Fagen's triumph of rendering post–9-11 New York most recalls how perfectly Steely Dan caught LA on 1980's 'Gaucho.'
  5. More so than on Kamakiriad, or on the tight Everything Must Go, there is a sense of genuine band interplay on this record, which helps give it both consistency and heart -- something appropriate for an album that is Fagen's most personal song cycle since The Nightfly, and quite possibly his best album since then.
  6. With its precisely calibrated funk grooves, exquisitely tasteful playing, and general air of blissed-out languor, Morph is firmly in the smoothed-out tradition of latter-day Dan discs like Gaucho. [17 Mar 2006, p.111]
  7. There's something weirdly compelling about hearing Fagen settle into this particular rut, especially on a set of songs about growing old in an age of terror.
  8. Indeed, if you are looking for surprises then you won't find many. As well as stellar production, another Fagen trademark is his willingness, even necessity, for songs to run their natural course.
  9. Despite the craft in this music--no, because of the craft in this music--most younger fans will run from Morph like it carried the very plague. No question, this album sounds uniform and rather overpleasant--engineered to a sheen of perfection.
  10. At his best he spins these tales with a mix of literary craft and jazzman's cool, animating his narratives with vivid and colorful language. [5 Mar 2006]
  11. Contains his catchiest, most immediate compositions in decades.
  12. 70
    The unhurried, full-retail rock arrangements are splashed with lite-R&B syncopations and snazzy-jazz harmonies. [Apr 2006, p.111]
  13. Smart, sophisticated, noodly--what else would you expect? [Apr 2006, p.113]
  14. 60
    The joy of Steely Dan's early albums was that their superior playing, production and craftsmanship was vibrantly energetic, spiced with rollercoaster twists and turns, and deeply sardonic lyrics... Fagen now lacks those vital extra elements, leaving just craftsmanship with no spark. [Apr 2006, p.104]
  15. Ultimately, it's hard to shake the feeling that something is missing.
  16. Morph the Cat is too complacent, too enamored with its own lacquered contours.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 31
  2. Negative: 2 out of 31
  1. Jan 2, 2012
    10
    We all should understand that music is a totally subjective experience as is a "good wine" or a great movie. That being said, I am a bitWe all should understand that music is a totally subjective experience as is a "good wine" or a great movie. That being said, I am a bit perplexed that Mack would make such bold statements and references. Steely Dan/Donald **** and Walter Becker have truly evolved. Listen to the sound changes over the years and the past three decades have been more of a polishing of a sound that is proven, secure and dynamic. I may be a huge fan but I also appreciate the depth and soul of what I consider to be one of the most important musical influences since James Brown - "on the one beat - smile! One should comment on what they understand rather than be critical of that which they do not! Full Review »
  2. JasonK
    Jul 9, 2007
    10
    Unquestionably my favorite album in several years, it combines unparalleled musical craft with some of the most current and vital lyrics Unquestionably my favorite album in several years, it combines unparalleled musical craft with some of the most current and vital lyrics penned post 9-11. If you are lucky enough to own a decent turntable get the vinyl version. It's my "watch their jaw drop" album when I'm proving how much better records sound than CD's. This album grew and grew on me after repeated listens and if you've forgotten what great music and stunning production sounds like with all the lo-fi minimalist garbage floating around this will be the antidote. Well done Donald. Full Review »
  3. stevenj
    Apr 13, 2007
    9
    ive been listening to fegan and becker for about 4 years, and ive heard just about every thing they've done, but this album shows donald ive been listening to fegan and becker for about 4 years, and ive heard just about every thing they've done, but this album shows donald fegans true talent in that it allows him to go his own way and bring in his more serious side. i feel that what he has truely wanted to do in his music has been limited by the likes of walter becker and in this album, now thats he's gone solo i think we can enjoy his superior tastes without beckers immaturity. dont get me wrong i love their duo, but that stuff has its place, i only gave this album a 90 because i didnt understand or like "mary shut the garden door", but the rest of the tracks are magnificent. I love you Donnie Full Review »