For the many Steely Dan fans out there, you would know without question who Donald Fagen is. As the co-writer and co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band, Donald is very musically talented. Morph The Cat is just his third solo album, following his successful Nightfly (1982) and Kamakiriad (1993) albums. Joining him on this album are guitarists Hugh McCracken, Wayne Krantz and Jon Herington, drummer Keith Carlock, bassist Freddy Washington, pianist Ted Baker, and saxophonist Walt Weiskopf.
Combining funk, jazz and soul, Morph The Cat is a wake-up call for the disillusioned. Underneath the smooth melodies and soulful lyrics are apocalyptic versions of love, death and homeland security. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs nothing sexier than the Apocalypse,‚ÄĚ Fagen says. In ‚ÄúMary Shut The Garden Door,‚ÄĚ Fagen explores the immediate effects of an alien invasion, which he compares to a Republican National Convention: ‚ÄúI woke up / and sensed the new condition / They won / storms raged, things changed / Forever.‚ÄĚ But his outlook isn‚Äôt that bad for the world; in the title track ‚ÄėMorph The Cat,‚ÄĚ a cat named Morph flies over Manhattan to make everyone ‚Äúwarm and cozy.‚ÄĚ
Fagen performs a conversation song between him and the ghost of Ray Charles in ‚ÄúWhat I Do.‚ÄĚ Ray was such a huge influence on him, Fagen thought the song would be a fitting tribute as Ray addressing a younger version of himself: ‚ÄúDon, don‚Äôt despair just take some time / You find your bad self, you‚Äôre gonna do just fine.‚ÄĚ He also explores relationships in ‚ÄúThe Great Pagoda of Funn‚ÄĚ (Fagen spelled it with two n‚Äôs to give it a ‚ÄúGilbert & Sullivan feel to it‚ÄĚ) — between a man and his lover — and in ‚ÄúSecurity Joan‚ÄĚ — between a female airport screener and her screenee.