Steely Dan should have belonged to the oughties. Their particular blend of soft-rock bears so many of the hallmarks of latter-day indie royalty that one begins to wonder whether it's a coincidence at all, or if Walter Becker and Don Fagen are actually time-traveling sonic explorers sent from the far future to help guide the evolution of music. Their rampant eclecticism, barely concealed subversions (google "Steely Dan" "Burroughs"; you might be surprised), and their tendency toward not rocking all fit perfectly into the hipster jigsaw puzzle of pitchfork nation.
In all ways non-conformists, the "band" was originally envisioned as a vehicle for the songwriting of Fagen and Becker, who never really intended to be a rock band. When the jazzy, slow simmer bossa-nova of "Do it Again" catapulted the duo to the top of the charts, it no doubt came as some surprise, bearing little to no resemblance to the rest of the slick 1970s sounds that dominated the AOR charts. Nevertheless, Steely's unique blend of jazzy flourishes, traditional pop standard structures, intricate songcraft and superb musicianship took their place at the top, and are now seen as iconic and emblematic of their time - and in a way, of our own.
Saturday, June 13. Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca
Raton. Show starts at 8 p.m., tickets cost $41.50 to $111.50.
-- Nicholas L. Hall