Aja (1977) is my favorite Steely Dan album. I believe I have called it their magnum opus before.
While I love the entire album, there’s one song that has become my theme song, especially in the last year.
Keep in mind, my Dad was the Steely Dan aficionado. But I too am a huge fan.
Deacon Blues has become my theme song. Almost a mantra, if you will. And it’s not because it name checks the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The narrator of the song is a man who has seemingly given up on life. He had dreams, but he always seemed to be looking from the outside, in.
“It seems like only yesterday
I gazed through the glass
At ramblers, wild gamblers
That's all in the past”
But has he really given up? Has he really chosen to forget about his dreams?
“You call me a fool
You say it's a crazy scheme
This one's for real
I already bought the dream”
He has no support. He has no cheerleaders. They think he’s crazy. He wants to be a sax man, but they know he can’t play.
The life of a musician is romantic to him. Rising when the sun goes down.
But finally, he finds passion. He finds the love of what he wants he wants to do.
Bur here’s the line that got me. This is why that song means so much.
“This brother is free
I’ll be what I want to be”
Folks, this is why I’m moving. This is why I’m uprooting my life and becoming a New Yorker. This is why I have done a year of transformational work – which will continue. This is why I’m working on another novel. I want to set up the next 35-40 years of my life with power, purpose and ease.
I want to live. This brother wants to be free.
Thanks for indulging this nerdy look at one of my favorite songs. I may be doing more of this. I’m a nerd about literature, and a great song is most certainly literature.