“Building from the jazz fusion foundation of Pretzel Logic, Steely Dan created an alluringly sophisticated album of jazzy pop with Katy Lied” (Erlewine). “Donald Fagen and Walter Becker had ditched their band by their fourth album” (Blender) and “began relying solely on studio musicians, which is evident from the immaculate sound of the album. Usually, such a studied recording method would drain the life out of each song, but that’s not the case with Katy Lied, which actually benefits from the duo’s perfectionist tendencies” (Erlewine). “They fashioned a world of gimlet-eyed sophistication” (Blender) in which “each song is given a glossy sheen, one that accentuates not only the stronger pop hooks, but also the precise technical skill of the professional musicians drafted to play the solos. Essentially, Katy Lied is a smoother version of Pretzel Logic, featuring the same cross-section of jazz-pop and blues-rock. The lack of innovations doesn’t hurt the record, since the songs are uniformly brilliant” (Erlewine).
“Less overtly cynical than previous Dan albums, the album still has its share of lyrical stingers, but what’s really notable are the melodies, from the seductive jazzy soul of Doctor Wu” (Erlewine), which “dealt with drug dealers” (Blender), “and the lazy blues of Chain Lightning to the terse Black Friday and mock calypso of Everyone's Gone to the Movies” (Erlewine), the latter “enticing teenage girls to watch porn” (Blender). It’s another excellent record in one of the most distinguished rock & roll catalogs of the ‘70s” (Erlewine).
Blender Magazine’s 100 Greatest American Albums (10/08)