They are right down into the soft oozy center of a certain kind of American pop music...Hippie Muzak.
-Joe Goldberg, Creem
Why then do I find myself not caring if I hear any of Steely Dan's music...It has to do primarily with the fact that however immaculately tasteful and intelligent it may be, I personally am able to detect not the slightest suggestion of real passion in any of it...Exemplarily well-crafted and uncommonly intelligent schlock. -John Mendelsohn, Rolling Stone
This isn't to say that there aren't abundant reasons for plucking The Dan out of the hog swill that's been glutting the airwaves these past twelve months -Mark Von Lehmden, Playboy
The new Steely Dan album is not unlike...Captain Pike (who was) a mutilated individual who possessed an intelligent brain but was without a body -Hofstra University Chronicle, 1979
Almost every character in each of these...songs is engaged in furtive behavior...by balancing verbal puzzles and moments of unequivocal clarity, Steely Dan has learned how to keep the vampires from the door.
-Wayne Robbins, 1980
These are dark, even bitter themes, and it's the special irony that their glossy musicianship should be a lick of paint upon a nest of Chinese boxes, in which moves intact a world so enigmatic and different in mood from the sunny image of hitmakers. -Anonymous
The cerebral energy, the precise rhythms, the melodies which rise like the sun on your day off, all combine to give the music of Steely Dan an unmistakable reality, which hangs like an aura around your stereo speakers.
-The Wheeling, W. Virginia News Register, 1980
This is a band that springs from everybody's underground, from every odd corner of America where twisted logic lingers in the shadows. -Merrill Shinder, Playgirl
The lithe inflections of the Becker Fagen melodies have a grace that is both sensuous and sinister, like a lazing snake coiled under the sun. Probably poisonous too. -Jay Cocks, Time Magazine, 1980
The Dan's forte is more Cha Cha than churning chomp. -Jim Isaacs, Rolling Stone
As if of natural consequence, the words have returned to the hermetic, collegiate inscrutability of "Can't Buy A Thrill". -Rolling Stone
Some may find his arcane references bewildering, but to others it is food for thought -Anonymous
"Katy Lied" is already receiving a great deal of acclaim by those who like their country sounds rocking, bright and sunny. -Gramophone
Over the course of five albums, Steely Dan have turned from being shrewd shapers of fetching hits to becoming insular craftsman of arcane concepts, a motion widely regarded as a sophisticated progression, but just as often interpreted as illusory aberration -Rolling Stone
They're too damned perfect. -Peter Rodman, Colorado Springs Sun, 1980
...Sounds like it was recorded in a hospital ward
In fact, most of the tracks on the album just don't make the grade. Later, with repeated listening, they approach average. -Disc