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45th Anniversary of Steely Dan's Aja

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Grumpyprogfan View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 13 2022 at 15:44
On September 23rd, 2022, Steely Dan's Aja will be 45 years old. Hard to believe that one of my favorite albums is so ancient. Some heavy players on the album... Wayne Shorter, Bernard Purdie, Larry Carlton, Paul Humphrey, Tom Scott, Steve Gadd, Steve Khan, etc.  An album of pure sonic nirvana. Nothing I've heard compares to the excellent tunes and audio that are shared on this album.

What are your thoughts about Aja and how will you celebrate?? Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Necrotica Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 13 2022 at 22:03
I'm so glad I discovered Steely Dan last year, such an amazing treasure trove of music  Big smile And in only 14-15 months, Aja has already become one of my favorite records of all time... absolute masterclass in songwriting, production, performance, and - last but not least - tracklist sequencing. 40 minutes, all-killer-no-filler, and that runtime just flies by Smile
Take me down, to the underground
Won't you take me down, to the underground
Why of why, there is no light
And if I can't sleep, can you hold my life
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Manuel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 13 2022 at 22:47
I remember when AJA came out. My best friend got a copy and we played it all afternoon long. I still love it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Saperlipopette! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 13 2022 at 23:41
Originally posted by Grumpyprogfan Grumpyprogfan wrote:

What are your thoughts about Aja and how will you celebrate?? Tongue

It's amazing. Probably the closest they ever came realizing the slick perfection they were going for. In many ways only Steely Dan gets away with a smooth product this polished (at least that's true to me). When I'm not in the mood Aja feels "overengineered". But nine out of ten times it simply sounds spectacular. It's got a lot more to offer than studio perfection in regards to depth, darkness, complexity, an incredible rhythm section etc... As an album experience took me a few spins fully embrace - a few spins and a couple of years actually. I'm gonna listen to it later today and I look forward to it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 00:41
Personally I don't find anything particularly memorable about this album. Dan were the perfect band for an upper middle class dinner party , music in the background a bit jazzy and terribly inoffensive. Yep it's certainly as slick as hell.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Awesoreno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 02:33
^Take a listen to those lyrics and, ironically enough, it's those same upper middle/upper class dinner parties they were tired of and railing against. The title track itself is a take on their experience with terribly erudite upper crust types living in the Hollywood hills.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 04:04
This was the first Steely Dan album I ever bought, the consequence of John Peel playing the title track on his radio show!  I was 15 at the time and it was like entering a very grown up world (but very unlike that of my parents!)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stressed Cheese Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 06:18
Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Dan were the perfect band for an upper middle class dinner party , music in the background a bit jazzy and terribly inoffensive.
Yes it is perfectly suitable to put on in the background, but there's so much care and attention to detail in these songs, that a statement like this is borderline offensive. This album is as clever and calculated as they come, and the instrumental arrangement is, IMO, brilliant.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 06:36
Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Personally I don't find anything particularly memorable about this album. Dan were the perfect band for an upper middle class dinner party , music in the background a bit jazzy and terribly inoffensive. Yep it's certainly as slick as hell.

I'm kind of with you there Richard. I can appreciate the skill of the playing but to be honest I prefer some of their earlier albums.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rednight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 10:14
An album that's just...there. A step down from previous efforts. Prime material for adult-oriented rock airplay. And who can forget (forgive) Peg?
"It just has none of the qualities of your work that I find interesting. Abandon [?] it." - Eno
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Saperlipopette! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 11:32
Originally posted by Rednight Rednight wrote:

An album that's just...there. A step down from previous efforts. Prime material for adult-oriented rock airplay. And who can forget (forgive) Peg?

I love Peg and have no idea what's not to like. Such a great song! But I've never experienced your american AOR-radio and hardly ever heard any the songs that you're all sick of. Most of them were never that big in Europe. So thirty-forty years later I discover your old (for you) overplayed hits by Heart, Boston, Toto, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Chicago, Journey, Christopher Cross, Eagles... and I think they're all kind of wonderful lol. It's surely better than your typical radio friendly music of the last couple of decades.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hrychu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 16:23
It's a masterpiece. It has that syrupy smooth jazz sound but with an exciting art rock edge. My personal highlights of this album: Black Cow, Deacon Blues, Aja.
I'm not Hugon Rychu. I'm Czyszy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 16:33
Been a fan of SD since Can't Buy A Thrill. Got the whole catalogue on LP. My AJA is red vinyl.
However, as some above have said it may be slick as 5hit production, but it is far from their best album. This album alone is, as @Awesoreno says, for the "upper middle/upper class dinner parties".
Thank you for supporting independently produced music
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Grumpyprogfan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 16:42
^Have you been huffing your bud that matured, JD? You need to re-read Awesoreno's comment.

...Drink your big black cow, and get outta here...
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JD View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 18:05
^Damn, you got me ! Truthfully yes I was. LOL
My 2019 Purple Kush.

I meant to say @richardh.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Grumpyprogfan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 18:32
^Purple Kush! Save me some.

Do you remember Thai Stick? Best herb ever.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Awesoreno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2022 at 22:54
Hey, to each their own. I was just merely pointing out that it's ironic that the elite will put this album on in an act of "sophistication" when they were precisely the targets of Fagan and Becker's ire.


In any case, regardless of what any of us think of the album, there is something to be said for a piece of art that can appeal to those who appreciate music in a more passive way AND to those who appreciate music in a more active way. They hit the sweet spot, where one actually gets to decide for themself if they want to pick it apart. And for that, they have my respect. (For the record, I adore the album, my dad played it a lot when I was young; I don't know if it's my favorite, but I don't think I can pick one, they have a very consistent discography to my ear, minus Everything Must Go).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2022 at 04:46
Originally posted by Grumpyprogfan Grumpyprogfan wrote:

^Purple Kush! Save me some.

Do you remember Thai Stick? Best herb ever.
YES ! Once and only once, never saw it again.
Thank you for supporting independently produced music
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote twosteves Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2022 at 07:58
Originally posted by Hrychu Hrychu wrote:

It's a masterpiece. It has that syrupy smooth jazz sound but with an exciting art rock edge. My personal highlights of this album: Black Cow, Deacon Blues, Aja.

Clap Yup! Amazing album.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Catcher10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2022 at 14:44
A brilliant record, could be a masterpiece. Each song is incredibly created and performed and rightly so, sampled by some other artists.
I've been spinning that album since it came out.....This documentary of the album is a great watch.

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