STEELY DAN — Can't Buy a Thrill (review)

STEELY DAN — Can't Buy a Thrill album cover Album · 1972 · RnB Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
seyo
STEELY DAN debut is a remarkable record because of two things at least: a sophisticated musical hybrid of rock, pop, jazz and R'n'B along with cynical, sometimes cryptic lyrics and campy cover art in the vein of LITTLE FEAT or ROXY MUSIC on one hand; and on the other the phenomenal piece of art in the shape of the opening mega tune "Do It Again". Distinguished rhythmic pattern, melodic Fagen's vocals and interplay between the solo parts of electric sitar and organ made this track one of the DAN highlights right from the start of their career.

Still, the rest of the album is not on par with the promising opener. David Palmer's vocals on "Dirty Work", "Midnight Cruiser" and "Brooklyn" are too cheesy and better suit to a crooner-type vocalists. Music is often a too straightforward rock'n'roll with an occasional blues or jazz chord that approaches a type of easy-listening soft-rock. I read somewhere that someone had assessed SD as the first "Adult-Oriented Rock" (AOR) band, even before the term was coined. Even if we agree with that, the later work of the duo would certainly overpass any categorization and would be highly evaluated among jazz, rock and soul-pop listeners alike. The hints of the better works to come are present here in the classically arranged "Kings", anti-Hippie vignette "Only a Fool Would Say That" and a fiery boogie-rocker "Reelin' In the Years".

This LP is not essential for jazz collections, but I would surely advise you take a chance and listen to it. If only more songs were done in the way of "Do It Again" (and without Palmer vocals) I would consider 4 stars...
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