Steely Dan: Josie




Steely Dan


Aja (MCA 112056)

Buy Track


Donald Fagen (vocals, synthesizer), Walter Becker (guitar), Larry Carlton (guitar), Dean Parks (guitar), Chuck Rainey (bass), Jim Keltner (drums, percussion), Victor Feldman (electric piano), Timothy B. Schmit (vocals),

Chuck Findley (trumpet), Jim Horn, Plas Johnson, Jackie Kelso (saxophones, flutes), Richard “Slyde” Hyde (trombone)


Composed by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen


Recorded: Los Angeles, CA, January-July 1977


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

From the wildly successful Aja CD, "Josie" is constructed around light jazz flourishes, a horn section that keeps the group's syncopation tight as a headlock, and an infectious, celebratory energy where the cheerfully positive vibe is transparent.

Some of the band's best songs lack any real explanation of why their singer feels the way he does. "Josie" follows a pattern similar to tunes such as "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number" and "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" by avoiding an explanation of what is truly happening in the lives of the characters. While, in lead singer Donald Fagen's eyes, it is "good" that she is returning to the neighborhood because she, for some reason, is its "pride," he contradicts this by stating that it is "bad" that she has returned in her current form because, before, she was, "the best friend we never had."

Lots of emotion is voiced by the narrator when it is stated that hats, hooters, and motor scooters are going to appear during a beach party that occurs upon her arrival. Thus, the lack of further description of who Josie is still makes this a puzzle worth solving in the 21st Century and beyond.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary


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