#169 Steely Dan – Aja (1977)


When this album was released the musical landscape was a hodgepodge of different sounds and genres. Everything from disco to hard rock to light rock and mixtures of all were charting at the same time. Along came Steely Dan’s “Aja” and their new, distinctive sound. From the time that their debut album “Can’t Buy A Thrill” was released up until the recording of “Aja” there was a musical evoultion occuring for this band. They had evolved from being a working band to being studio perfectionists that were just Walter Becker & Donald Fagan with an ever changing merry-go-round of studio musicans, although Michael MacDonald would still be involved with helping with backing vocals.. The result was a spectactular mix of jazz,blues & rock and a unique sound that was Steely Dan. The first single released was “Peg”, with a beautiful horn indroduction and thumping bass line, a song about an aspiring hollywood starlet. “Peg” would be the albums biggest hit, although my favorite Steely Dan song “Deacon Blue”  would be the second cut to be released as a single. “Deacon Blue” is a lyrical masterpiece held up by the “new” Steely Dan sound. With lyrical interludes like “i drink scotch whiskey all night long and die behind the wheel” & “they gotta name for the winners in the world, i wanna name when i lose…they call Alabama the Crimson Tide…call me Deacon Blue”…..iconic and classic. There would be a 3rd song released from”Aja”, “Josie”  would also become an FM radio staple, with a bluesy guitar strum layered with jazz drums and bass.

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