Steely Dan - CAN'T BUY A THRILL
I used to think it was front-loaded, but not anymore. “Turn That Heartbeat Over Again” is no “Do It Again”, granted, but the general level of quality (musicianship and songwriting included) is exceptional. And Steely Dan, ever so perfect if not too perfect, is not even a band I should like.
But love it I do. I love their jazzy cynicism and the way they defied so much of what was going on around them. It took heart (to say nothing of guts) to release a record as smooth and long-winded as Aja in 1977… Even though their 70s albums were all gold, Can’t Buy A Thrill is the sort of debut you struggle to top and then fail time and time again (The Auteurs’ New Wave is another good example of that). The chorus of “Midnight Cruiser” is unimpeachable and it just doesn’t get any better than the rollicking opening seconds of “Reelin’ In The Years”.
An album I know by heart, it made sense to stop listening to it a few years ago. But then along came a classic American film (it was fantastic, even in hindsight) and the sounds of “Dirty Work” made me fall in love with it again. Pop culture can still surprise you.