10 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

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?”

EDITORS’ NOTES

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?”

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