Song: On The Dunes
Artist: Donald Fagen
Kamakiriad is pianist Donald Fagen’s second solo album, released eleven years after his successful debut, 1982’s The NightFly. It’s pretty much impossible for Fagen’s projects not to sound like Steely Dan, the hugely influential 70s band he co-founded with guitarist/bassist Walter Becker - but that’s hardly a bad thing (Becker in fact toured the album with Fagen, and the two would shortly go on to rekindle their songwriting and recording partnership).
On The Dunes is imbued with the aching acuity of regretful hindsight and bittersweet nostalgia. This spacious eight-minute excursion has the vivid feel of inevitability, like the crash and roll of the surf the narrator experiences at his lonely beach house as he pensively reflects on a life of misadventure and dashed expectations. It’s bloody brilliant. Though he’s famously critical of his own artistic shortcomings, rarely does a master like Fagen make a mis-step - and this grounded, butter-smooth number is no exception.