ARTIST: Steely Dan
TITLE: Can’t Buy a Thrill
YEAR RELEASED: 1972
CHART ACTION: #17 US, #38 UK
SINGLES: Do It Again (#6 US, #39 UK), Reelin’ in the Years (#11 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dirty Work, Kings
LINEUP: Donald Fagan, Walter Becker, David Palmer, Denny Dias, Skunk Baxter, Jim Hodder
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First album by sophisticated rock band already shows their impeccable production and somewhat ‘interesting’ songs.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While most of rock was still in the boogie-boogie-boogie throes of Grand Funk, or the wimpy-wimpy-wimpy throes of singer songwriters, here comes Steely Dan, with sophisticated melodies and chords, great production, and hooks.
Already from the first album, you can tell that Steely Dan was going to feature fantastic production. Not every rookie band with two hot shot guitarists would ask yet another guitarist to do the solo in a song because of how it sounded. The performances are spot on, the harmonies almost perfect, and the arrangements are definitely, adult, instead of what was happening out there at the time.
This record, though, has some of the weaker songs in the Steely Dan canon. That’s almost to be expected, since it’s a debut, and Walter Becker and Donald Fagan were just starting to flesh out their ideas. A few tracks are more of a lounge act than rock band. But when at its best, this is a winner.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: David Palmer was added as a vocalist on the road because Fagan was unsure of his voice, and did the lead vocal for “Dirty Work”. Also, there is an early single that the band has basically buried – it’s never been on album or collection.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A-: A great debut with a unique sound for the time (and to this day, really).