Sometimes, I am totally guilty of being utopian in my dreams. I recognize that utopianism is unrealistic, but a man can dream, can he not? And then I heard Donald Fagen's "IGY (International Geophysical Year)," and for a short time, I wondered if aspects of his vision were possible (though I am not exactly a fan of a big machine making all of the decisions). As a song, though, this is near perfection.
Little did I know that "IGY" would lead me to the album "The Nightfly," which is one of my favorite albums of all time. From one song to the next, it's just one gem after another. And I didn't know until much later (when I finally read the liner notes) that Valerie Simpson of the legendary R&B duo Ashford and Simpson was one of Fagen background singers.
However, I think that the story that Fagen tells in both the song "New Frontier" and the companion video is just a wonderful cultural piece of remembering mid 20th century Cold War culture. It is such a great song to sing out loud. By the way, I am also "mad about Brubeck," and I still haven't made up "my mind to learn design and study overseas." Maybe some day.