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Can't Buy a Thrill

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iTunes Review

Steely Dan’s debut album gave the world three staples of classic rock radio: the hypnotic “Do It Again,” the wistful “Dirty Work,” and the rollicking “Reelin’ in the Years.” The album owes some of its rock-oriented edge to Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, and the songs here share something with Baxter’s other band, the Doobie Brothers. In addition to Baxter’s contributions, Denny Dias provides the quicksilver guitar in “Reelin’ in the Years,” which Jimmy Page once called his favorite solo ever. Despite its shifting vocals and at times undecided vision, Can’t Buy a Thrill exhibits several of the trademarks that would make Donald Fagen and Walter Becker cult heroes in the years to come. The arrangements are immaculate, the instrumentation is meticulous, and the lyrics contain an inimitable mix of acerbic wit and sinister implication. “With a cough I shake it off,” Fagen sings on “Fire in the Hole.” “And work around my yellow stripe. Should I hide and eat my pride or wait until it's good and ripe?”

Customer Reviews

Like gods amongst mere mortals...

This has to be the greatest album I own. I own the CD. I own the Tape. I own the Vinyl. You're not getting older, todays music is getting worse. And I'm only 15. For a glimpse of the glory mankind once possessed, buy this album. Buy every album the band has. Like me. I'm very happy in my little world of Steely Dan-saturated joy. Truly a moving experience when I first heard this album. 10 stars. 4 tumbs up. Perfect. You MUST check out "Pretzel Logic" if you are to experience contentedness. You have not heard music untill you have heard Steely Dan. 'Nuff said. --There is no shrimp.

Amazing Debut

After working as staff writers and backing musicians, Becker and Fagen finally got their chance to record an album with their own band in '72 and they didn't let us down. Do It Again features amazing vocal texture from Fagen along with his amazing organ solo plus guitarist Denny Dias adding a nice electric sitar solo in the middle. Dirty Work is considered by most true Dan Fans as the worst Steely Dan song ever, David Palmer on lead vocals. Kings is a brilliant work with choppy piano and a great guitar solo by visiting guitarist Elliot Randall. Midnight Cruiser is sung by drummer Jimmy Hodder and proves that Don and Walt can write fairly straightforward pop songs. Only a Fool is a nice latin feeling groove again with strong vocals by Fagen. Everyone knows Reelin in the Years, amazing guitar work by Randall again. Fire in the Hole is either about dodging the draft or STD's, I can't figure it out, either way, amazing piano solos by Fagen. Brooklyn kind of drags on, vocals by Palmer again. Change of the Gaurd might be the best true rock song on the album, thumping bass, nice electric piano chords, great lead guitar by Skunk Baxter. Turn that Heartbeat Over Again is an interesting, choppy song with Becker, Fagen, and Palmer sharing lead vocals in a kind of chorusy feel, last time we hear Becker's voice until the Everything Must Go album. Overall a great album, especially for the debut, for never singing before Fagen's voice sounds amazing and his keyboard work is untouchably unique, the album is also swimming in great guitar work. What lacks is the jazzy feel that Steely Dan will come to be known by but still an amazing album.

Heck Yes!

Holy Chocolate Starfish! I adore this album! and everyone like it. It is the perfect example of the brilliance of this band. They're more than a band they're a lifestyle. I have to agree with "Jesus" 4 thumbs up! I love love LOVE it.


Formed: 1972 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Most rock & roll bands are a tightly wound unit that developed their music through years of playing in garages and clubs around their hometown. Steely Dan never subscribed to that aesthetic. As the vehicle for the songwriting of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, Steely Dan defied all rock & roll conventions. Becker and Fagen never truly enjoyed rock -- with their ironic humor and cryptic lyrics, their eclectic body of work shows some debt to Bob Dylan -- preferring jazz, traditional pop, blues, and...
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