Friday, June 8, 2007

STEELY DAN - Can`t Buy a Thrill

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were remarkable craftsmen from the start, as Steely Dan's debut, Can't Buy a Thrill, illustrates. Each song is tightly constructed, with interlocking chords and gracefully interwoven melodies, buoyed by clever, cryptic lyrics. All of these are hallmarks of Steely Dan's signature sound, but what is most remarkable about the record is the way it differs from their later albums. Of course, one of the most notable differences is the presence of vocalist David Palmer, a professional blue-eyed soul vocalist who oversings the handful of tracks where he takes the lead. Palmer's very presence signals the one major flaw with the album — in an attempt to appeal to a wide audience, Becker and Fagen tempered their wildest impulses with mainstream pop techniques. Consequently, there are very few of the jazz flourishes that came to distinguish their albums — the breakthrough single, "Do It Again," does work an impressively tight Latin jazz beat, and "Reelin' in the Years" has jazzy guitar solos and harmonies — and the production is overly polished, conforming to all the conventions of early-'70s radio. Of course, that gives these decidedly twisted songs a subversive edge, but compositionally, these aren't as innovative as their later work. Even so, the best moments ("Dirty Work," "Kings," "Midnight Cruiser," "Turn That Heartbeat Over Again") are wonderful pop songs that subvert traditional conventions and more than foreshadow the paths Steely Dan would later take.

1 Do It Again 5:56
2 Dirty Work 3:08
3 Kings 3:45
4 Midnight Cruiser 4:08
5 Only a Fool Would Say That 2:57
6 Reelin' in the Years 4:37
7 Fire in the Hole 3:28
8 Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me) 4:21
9 Change of the Guard 3:39
10 Turn That Heartbeat Over Again 4:58


Please leave a comment


Anonymous said...

Great music!


/ Mossen

Anonymous said...

Hi! This is great! Your blog is a place where I go every day!

I'm really like Steely Dan. After this, there is only one album I need to complete the collection.
Do you have Countdown to Ecstasy album from 1973?

Thanks for everything!


gordon said...

hi anonymous, could you post one of their more jazzy albums. Just leave a link in coments or something

I havent downloaded this yet [download limit is up] but Im looking forward to it.

. said...

Trust me Gordon, this is the best they did.

Anonymous said...

I will in a few days. Look here for the link.

I don't agree with .said. I think Aja is their best album by far!

gordon said...

Hey, I'm sure they are both excellent, I just want to find more good albums by this band because they are really hard to find.
I love the way they use intelligent songwriting without making it sound too complex.