Morph The Cat

  • Record Label: Reprise
  • Release Date: Mar 14, 2006
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. 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.
  2. It is some of Fagen's finest work to date.
  3. Blender
    70
    The unhurried, full-retail rock arrangements are splashed with lite-R&B syncopations and snazzy-jazz harmonies. [Apr 2006, p.111]
  4. Ultimately, it's hard to shake the feeling that something is missing.
  5. Entertainment Weekly
    83
    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]
  6. Los Angeles Times
    75
    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]
  7. Mojo
    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]
  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. Q Magazine
    70
    Smart, sophisticated, noodly--what else would you expect? [Apr 2006, p.113]
  11. Contains his catchiest, most immediate compositions in decades.
  12. Morph the Cat is too complacent, too enamored with its own lacquered contours.
  13. 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.
  14. The album is imbued with a post-9/11 dread, which deters Fagen from recycling the nostalgia and Lynchian fantasy of his previous albums.
  15. Uncut
    100
    Morph... sounds utterly of a piece with Aja. [Apr 2006, p.104]
  16. Fagen's triumph of rendering post–9-11 New York most recalls how perfectly Steely Dan caught LA on 1980's 'Gaucho.'
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 3 out of 32
  1. May 28, 2017
    0
    As a Steely Dan and Donald **** fan I am extremely disappointed. This album is one of the worst that I've had to sit through, with only 2 goodAs a Steely Dan and Donald **** fan I am extremely disappointed. This album is one of the worst that I've had to sit through, with only 2 good songs and 1 mediocre song out of 9.
    In this album **** has seemed to lose his unique singing voice and taste for instrumentals and good lyrics and sticks to....... lord know what.
    H-Gang and What I do are the highlights of this album, Mary Shut the Garden Door is alright too. The rest are terrible and tasteless. Morph the Cat sounds like the theme to a crummy sitcom from the 90's, and the rest are so forgettable I can't recollect what their names even are!
    And here's the creme de la crap,**** thought Morph the Cat was so good, that he should have a reprise of it on the album. Yes, that's right, they put a reprise of the first song in the album! Who in their right minds thought that was a good idea? Maybe if this was in concert or the soundtrack to a movie it would make sense, but this isn't either of those!
    Full Review »
  2. 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 »
  3. 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 »