Morph The Cat

  • Record Label: Reprise
  • Release Date: Mar 14, 2006
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 43
  2. Negative: 5 out of 43

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  1. RH
    Mar 17, 2006
    0
    Most of these reviews are from runofthemill publications.......hence why the rating is so high. Maybe if you are only listening to mainstream filth, you'll find this refreshing. Otherwise, ignore it like you would Steely Dan.
  2. FrankK
    Mar 21, 2006
    4
    Just like Dan, Fagen is at his best as a three and a half minute pop song performer. H-Gang, What I Do and the title tracks highlight an effort that otherwise embodies the overindulgent aspects of Aja & Goucho. Aside from these four songs, the rest is merely background music.
  3. S
    Mar 15, 2006
    10
    A Groove Supreme.
  4. RobertD
    Mar 16, 2006
    10
    Enough with the super psycho-bubble review crap that keeps bring up the Steely dan of yester years. Move on and grow-up because life is not static. This album epitomizes the genius and evolution of Donald Fagen at his finest. If this album sounds like the Steely Dan of the 70's I will not definitely buy this thing, but because its unique in it's own simple way and a product of Enough with the super psycho-bubble review crap that keeps bring up the Steely dan of yester years. Move on and grow-up because life is not static. This album epitomizes the genius and evolution of Donald Fagen at his finest. If this album sounds like the Steely Dan of the 70's I will not definitely buy this thing, but because its unique in it's own simple way and a product of Don's real-time analysis of the things that's happening around us with the accompaniment of excellent music this is surely a gem. H Gang rules and What I do is awesome and I also like The Great Pagoda of Funn plus The Night Belongs to Mona and the Brite Nitegown. The title track grows a lot in me a lot each passing day. After all is said and done this album is as unique as Donald Fagen's voice and like a wine it tastes a lot more better as it age. I'll buy 2 of this album for safe-keeping to posterity. Expand
  5. CDumler
    Mar 18, 2006
    10
    The best album that Steely Dan/Becker/Fagen have put out since the Nightfly. Topical lyrics, masterful musicianship, and one hell of a groove. Here's to more of the same!
  6. pds6
    Mar 18, 2006
    9
    I would rate the album a 8.5 (solid "B"). I don't understand how your E! Online Rating (C+) tranlates to a "58" in your rating system? A "C+" is a "78" when I was in school! The album has more guitar work than Fegan's other solo albums. A number of songs have an old Steely Dan feel to them. Wiorth a buy and more than one listen!
  7. Rick
    Mar 18, 2006
    8
    It took 3 listens before I realized the genius of it. I subtracted a couple o' points for letting Brite Nitegown go on way too long, but the rest of this is a pure ten. Highly recommended if you like Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, Rock or Jazz.
  8. SteveM
    Mar 18, 2006
    10
    This will suffice until the next Steely Dan album. It misses the lyrical cynicism Walter Becker provides but the music is in the groove. Its been a great decade so far for the Dan.
  9. BrandonC
    Mar 18, 2006
    8
    The return of Donald Fagen is welcome, after so long an absence. This album is best played in the dark, on noice-canceling heaphpones via the iPod. The rhythms bounce, and there is a funky, heavy bass laid throughout. Fagen's voice and lyricism is in high gear as he comments about "terrorism" and "lattes". Welcome back Mr. Fagen!
  10. davidg
    Mar 20, 2006
    10
    Well worth the 12 year wait. Mary, Shut The Garden Door .... Wow ! Fagen doesn't pretend to be someone he's not ... completely genuine
  11. VinceT.
    Mar 23, 2006
    10
    Life and love in the post 9/11 era - a magnificent album by Donald Fagen, and well worth the wait. Give the album multiple listens and let it sink in - you'll dig it...
  12. JackC
    Mar 26, 2006
    10
    Magnificent in every regard - on par and perhaps surpassing Nightfly, Gaucho and Aja. Donald Fagen is a wonderful, masterful musician - so generous, and the Claude Debussy of our time.
  13. JohnN
    Apr 9, 2006
    10
    Simply fantastic music with great lyrics!
  14. EricS
    Apr 15, 2006
    9
    At a first listening you think: nice, 2nd listening: ok! Further listening: It's in your soul feorever and won't leave you anymore. Like any Steely Dan album since Aya, it has to grow steadily while listening. This is Donald Fagen's best solo album. Great album. Eric / The Netherlands
  15. glennw
    Apr 17, 2006
    9
    Those who rated under 60, you missed this gem. Keep em' comin' Donald! Saw him perform in L.A. 4/06, still awesome after all these year. Heard 2-3 of the new cuts live. Superb! "Brite Nitegown", "Mary...." rocked.
  16. BradyH
    Apr 17, 2006
    9
    Great groove throughout. Solid LP.
  17. Mack
    Apr 23, 2006
    2
    I just don't get it. It mystifies me how anyone could be so enamored with this vapid, smooth jazz-esque, ready-made keyboard-solo elevator music. Plus, does anyone notice how there's very little variation or perhaps evolution from album to album? If this album was created by a young indie band, it would be given terrible reviews - but slap Donald Fagen's name on it and I just don't get it. It mystifies me how anyone could be so enamored with this vapid, smooth jazz-esque, ready-made keyboard-solo elevator music. Plus, does anyone notice how there's very little variation or perhaps evolution from album to album? If this album was created by a young indie band, it would be given terrible reviews - but slap Donald Fagen's name on it and it's a masterpiece? If the lyrics are so good, how about placing them in something other than a lazy soft jazz setting? How emotional connection with this 'musac' is possible is beyond me. Plus, most artists receive poor reviews when they just keep making the same music over and over - yet once again, Donald Fagen could release this same album every year and reviewers would fawn over it as a treasure. Come on. It's a shame how many wonderful albums are rated lower than this granola background music. Since when has being a huge Donald Fagen fan given reviewers such great street cred? Expand
  18. smithsgirl
    Apr 26, 2006
    10
    Wonderful, wonderful album. Smooth and sensuous; great late night listening music. An album which on first listen belies the unsettling nature of the lyrics. Every subsequent play reveals more of the complexities of the individual songs. It is an album, which although immediately accessible, reveals more with each play. An album where even when you know every word of the songs, every Wonderful, wonderful album. Smooth and sensuous; great late night listening music. An album which on first listen belies the unsettling nature of the lyrics. Every subsequent play reveals more of the complexities of the individual songs. It is an album, which although immediately accessible, reveals more with each play. An album where even when you know every word of the songs, every guitar chord and drum sound, it still has the capacity to thrill. H Gang, Security Joan, It's What I Do, Brite Nitegown are standout tracks, but there really isn't a duff track to be heard. If you like music to move you, unsettle you, yet remain strangely comforting, buy it! Collapse
  19. MarkJ
    Apr 27, 2006
    10
    Donaold Fagen has talent oozing out of every pore of his body, and that clearly shows through on this album. They guy who gave it a 2 rating is obviously from the "Trance Music for the Underdeveloped Mind" generation that has polluted the airwaves with the tripe that is out there these days. Like many Fagen/Steely Dan albums this one requires many listenings to truly absorb the Donaold Fagen has talent oozing out of every pore of his body, and that clearly shows through on this album. They guy who gave it a 2 rating is obviously from the "Trance Music for the Underdeveloped Mind" generation that has polluted the airwaves with the tripe that is out there these days. Like many Fagen/Steely Dan albums this one requires many listenings to truly absorb the complexity, richness and sophistication of the sound. Most young people don't have that patience. Expand
  20. JustinR
    May 6, 2006
    8
    There's a big difference between 'elevator music' and the stuff Donald Fagen and Walter Becker make. Some people here are talking about how Fagen's music is anything but 'something complex, rich, and sophisticated'. This is some pretty shortsighted bullshit because if there was ever a good description of his music then it is 'complex, rich and There's a big difference between 'elevator music' and the stuff Donald Fagen and Walter Becker make. Some people here are talking about how Fagen's music is anything but 'something complex, rich, and sophisticated'. This is some pretty shortsighted bullshit because if there was ever a good description of his music then it is 'complex, rich and sophisticated'. Try to listen to it and not spill out your negativity just because [insert artist X] is making more 'adventurous' music, even though this will probably not be the case. It seems the more adventurous music sounds, the more shite it is. Don't get me wrong, I love inspired music, like Steely Dan, Coltrane, Clinton or whatever. However, I dislike music which slaps me in the face with its so called 'adventurous spirit' (weird music for the sake of being weird). Expand
  21. Jan
    Jun 24, 2006
    10
    Brilliant ! Lifts me up !
  22. PaulEReeser
    Jun 25, 2006
    9
    The sign of a truly great album is when you listen to it all day long driving in your Camaro Z28, getting TOTALLY into its grooves, lyrics, & harmonies; then when you are laying in bed at night, you have this sudden, uncontrollable urge to run out to the Camaro Z28, pop in the CD again, and drive around in the night, just to listen to it again. Am I strange? No, just a dude that The sign of a truly great album is when you listen to it all day long driving in your Camaro Z28, getting TOTALLY into its grooves, lyrics, & harmonies; then when you are laying in bed at night, you have this sudden, uncontrollable urge to run out to the Camaro Z28, pop in the CD again, and drive around in the night, just to listen to it again. Am I strange? No, just a dude that understands something great when he hears it. - speaking of hearing greatness, is anyone else constantly hearing the EXCELLENT & FUN vocal chorus to "What I Do" over and over in their head and LOVING it?!!! Mahalo Donald! -An admirer on Maui [just a couple islands away from where you recorded it]. Expand
  23. JamesA
    Jun 29, 2006
    10
    It is what it, and it gonna do what it do, baby! Can't deny the style, virtuosity, and truth in Morph. You have no soul if you can't see the light. The bullshit takes a backseat. Don has the groove hands down. He actually has a personal point of view. It ain't mainstream commercial drivel, thank god! Thanks Don.
  24. JeffH
    Jul 21, 2006
    10
    I read all of the reviews and found no mention of the DTS 5.1 version of this album. I will say that this is an audiofiles dream. The sound alone is EAR CANDY and the music grows on you fast and steady. The people giving this a 2 rating are without a real understanding of music.
  25. JohnL
    Jul 24, 2006
    8
    This isn't "The Nightfly", but it's far better than his second solo outing, and much better than the last Steely Dan actually(though probably not up their with Two Against Nature). About half a great album, and the half that's not great, it certainly very good.
  26. NeilD
    Aug 13, 2006
    8
    To me, Fagen's music has become more subtle over the years, and it isn't really fair to compare it to early Steely Dan work. I find multiple listenings to Fagen's new stuff leading to a deepr appreciation of his gifts . It gets inside you after awhile. To those who criticize it as "elevator music," "smooth jazz,:" I could understand that point were it not for the incredible To me, Fagen's music has become more subtle over the years, and it isn't really fair to compare it to early Steely Dan work. I find multiple listenings to Fagen's new stuff leading to a deepr appreciation of his gifts . It gets inside you after awhile. To those who criticize it as "elevator music," "smooth jazz,:" I could understand that point were it not for the incredible musicianship, lyrics, and song craftmanship. Fagen is a perfectionist, and if his music seems over produced, it is only so in context of "hip" now being defined as less production. That wasn't always the case. Believe me, Fagen and Becker's music will stand the test of time more thant 99% of current indie bands. At my age, 50, I now like Frank Sinatra and swing. Who would have thunk? So young hipsters, some of you need a little seasoning before getting the Steely Dan thing. Don't get off the elevator just yet. Expand
  27. DougC
    Oct 23, 2006
    10
    Very Manhattan sound and subject matter. Great little humorous touches, too. Superb arranging, spare on solos, but tuneful and catchy throughout.
  28. ChrisL
    Apr 5, 2007
    9
    Mack, it seems this is not the music for you. Move on my young friend. But consider this: for 25 years I was neither here nor there about the SD song Josie. But then I got a kick-ass stereo and started to listen to a lot of jazz. On my return to SD, everything made sense. If you don't get the melodies and harmonies on Morph, you've either got a lot of listening ahead or Mack, it seems this is not the music for you. Move on my young friend. But consider this: for 25 years I was neither here nor there about the SD song Josie. But then I got a kick-ass stereo and started to listen to a lot of jazz. On my return to SD, everything made sense. If you don't get the melodies and harmonies on Morph, you've either got a lot of listening ahead or you're just not calibrated for this kind of music. But pay attention because a lot of discerning ears and minds are spot on with praise here. Most songwriters will never write anything like The Great Pagoda of Funn. And Fagen is a songwriter first and foremost. He's held back his drummer here, Keith Carlock, intentionally. You should see him live. Wayne Krantz does his usual fab guitar work. And of course, like everything SD/DF/WB has released this takes multiple listens - perhaps years - to fully sink in and be appreciated. Expand
  29. 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 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 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 Expand
  30. 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 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 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. Expand
  31. 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 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 isWe 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! Expand

Awards & Rankings

Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. 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]
  2. The album is imbued with a post-9/11 dread, which deters Fagen from recycling the nostalgia and Lynchian fantasy of his previous albums.
  3. 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]