'Can't Buy a Thrill'

May 8, 2019

Name: “Can’t Buy a Thrill”

Artist: Steely Dan

Release date: 1972

Favorite track: “Fire In the Hole”

 

I wouldn’t consider myself knowledgeable about Steely Dan.

I like everything I’ve heard, which I didn’t think was much. But, after listening to the group’s debut album, I realized I know more than I thought.

I knew and liked the majority of this 10-track record. How ‘bout that?

MUSIC

Everyone will recognize “Do It Again.”

The saucy song is one of Steely Dan’s most well-known. It has some funk flavor and Latin flair. I’m not even a huge instrumental person, but Denny Dias’ electric sitar solo is my favorite part.

There are many cover versions of the track.

“Dirty Work” is definitely my style, and I don’t even love soft rock. Critics didn’t love its commercial sound, but I do.

David Palmer’s vocals are pleasant, and I’m sorry for being so shallow, but the chorus is catchy. I love when it comes on the radio.

The lyrics are about a woman cheating on her spouse with a man who feels he is a fool to do her dirty work.

 

Times are hard

You’re afraid to pay the fee

So you find yourself somebody

Who can do the job for free

— “Dirty Work”

 

“Kings” — as predicted — has political undertones. Many believe it pertains to the U.S. presidential election of 1972.

“Midnight Cruiser” has the same radio-geared vibes as some of the others. Again, highly catchy and perfect for cruising. It does feature jazzy undertones in the middle that allude to the group’s future.

“Only A Fool Would Say That” is a breezy tune I really enjoy. I definitely recommend it for your beach playlist. It’s relaxed, but still fun.

“Reelin’ in the Years” is the same. It reminds me of The Beach Boys. Walter Becker’s guitar work is stellar, and I’m not the only person who thinks so.

Donald Fagen’s piano work in “Fire In the Hole” is gorgeous and appropriate. It’s big and jazzy — a must listen. This is my favorite on the album, because I honestly can’t resist piano.

DESIGN

I chose this album because the cover is so bright, funky and happy. It’s such a cheery, fun note on which to start summer.
 

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