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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Home at Last/Steely Dan

The peripatetic hero of Homer's The Odyssey keeps wandering into these pages--first in Suzanne Vega's Calypso, then in Cream's Tales of Brave Ulysses. Now he turns up in Home At Last, from Steely Dan's 1977 album Aja. "The central metaphor was taken from Ulysses' big problem--you know, trying to get back home," says Donald Fagen in the Making of Aja video, describing the song as "a little blues about Ulysses." A reference to the Greek wine retsina adds some local color, and, as in the Cream song, there is an allusion to the Siren episode of The Odyssey, in which the hero has himself tied to the ship's mast to resist being lured to shipwreck by the song of the Sirens: Well the danger on the rocks is surely past/Still I remain tied to the mast/Could it be that I have found my home at last/Home at last. Perhaps it should be called Homer at Last.

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