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Steely Dan - Aja CD (album) cover

AJA

Steely Dan

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.08 | 184 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Draith
4 stars 4.5; Steely Dan's crowning achievement!

Steely Dan has been a band I've always enjoyed since hearing some of their hits on radio when I was a little kid. Their music is great classic/soft/jazz/pop/? rock with an obvious uniqueness to it, evident from the fact it's hard to describe in precise language. So when I started downloading music (legally) a few years ago, I got a compilation of their and the band really grew on me from then on. About a year ago one of my best friends (in fact, the one who really introduced me to prog) let me borrow some of their full albums, this one included. I found this one to be my favorite of their discography, so I bought it last Christmas. And man, is it amazing!

The music here is pretty soft and steady, like most of their music, but this album in particular incorporates a more intellectual and artful (thus, prog) writing style. Something about this album is just hits the spot, I can't even really put my finger on it. It is the only album of their's I'd consider (just barely) full blown prog, especially the epics Aja and Deacon Blues (or at least epic for Steely Dan's usual song length). It's also quite relaxing, not really moving or developing very fast, but structured in such a delightful, interesting, and comfortable way. The groovy percussion, the jazzy saxophones, the proggy keyboard, the funky, energetic bass lines, the soothing vocals, the brilliant lyrics, everything just molds together so ingeniously! Even the solos are genus, and their usually the weakest part of the band's music.

This album has only a few flaws that keep it from being a complete masterpiece. One is the song I Got the News, the one spoiler mediocre track that can occasionally scar masterpieces. I don't really particularly care for the song, but even it is quite well organized and thought out. Also, it isn't exactly the proggiest albums around, and Steely Dan's inclusion in Crossover prog rather than prog-related is a subtle reflection of peoples' standards as to what can be considered prog. But this is definitely the band's proggiest and most carefully composed album, followed closely by The Royal Scam in both respects, another album I'd recommend to the more progressive minded listener.

This album was the piece of art in which everything just came together for Steely Dan. Songs Black Cow, the two already mentioned epics, and Peg are absolute classics, with Home at Last and Josie being almost as breathtaking and just as artistic. Highly recommended to anyone, especially fans of such jazzy pop rock artists like Supertramp. One of my favorite albums, and certainly my favorite album by this great band!

Draith | 4/5 |

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