Few things can beat commercial cynicism, and you won’t find a better example than Steely Dan. Starting with the name meaning dildo in Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and ending with the pointless Grammy for Two Against Nature which they planned to send to Eminem (who really wanted it), they have been walking the fine line between charts and obvious drug and sex references for decades.
For me, Walter Becker is one of those rare people who can get away with slagging off “Yesterday” and being ridiculously arrogant during interviews. And that goes well with polished jazzy grooves and Donald Fagen’s (The Nightfly is seriously overrated though) smoothly playful vocals. They might sound like your granddad’s favourite band and Johnny Rotten must have hated them. But in a way – they were more punk than punk.
Can’t Buy A Thrill is in the top 10 of my favourite debut albums. Although really – that whole seven album run was terrific (they've been way too sterile this century), and was filled, among other things, with minor classics like “Charlie Freak”.