For a band who considered themselves "anti-rock 'n' roll," Steely Dan had a big impact on the rock world from the get-go. This platinum 1972 debut soared to #17 and produced two of their signature hits, Do It Again and Reeling in the Years . This reissue features new liner notes and digital remastering by two highly qualified individuals-Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.
Songwriters Walter Becker and Donald Fagen launched Steely Dan with a seductive, poker-faced 1972 debut as smoothly accessible in its music as it was elusive in its thematic concerns. The opening "Do It Again" snagged swift commercial success as one of the most mysterious pop hits in history, a sultry rock cha-cha that chronicled a series of harrowing catastrophes far removed from the reheated love songs and pro forma countercultural rebellion of the day. Though the core band boasted two formidable guitarists, Jeff Baxter and Denny Dias, it was the bloom of Fagen's keyboards and his reedy, smart-ass vocals that carried Thrill
light years beyond modal, blues-based rock. That said, an enduring highlight remains the furious six-string fantasia of "Reelin' in the Years," spiked by Elliot Randall's downright historic solos, at once dour and giddy in its indictment of a poser, while "Dirty Work" (featuring short-lived, nominal lead singer David Palmer) offers a decidedly adult vignette of adultery. There isn't a weak track here, astonishing, considering how much growth future Dan albums would display. --Sam Sutherland