Donald Fagen – The Nightfly (1982)

It’s got many of the same top flight jazz-rock cats as the previous two Dan records, Gary Katz behind the desk and, of course, Don Fagen singing and writing. It wasn’t going to sound like Black Flag was it? A personal concept album of sorts, with “the songs represent[ing] certain fantasies entertained by a young man growing up in the remote suburbs…in the late fifties and early sixties…of my general height, weight and build”, I’d never owned The Nightfly till it was recently thrifted in Hythe, but I remember hearing it around the time of issue and finding it antiseptic–it was one of the earliest digitally recorded and mixed pop albums. Certainly, it’s nothing if not slick and well-considered, but these days, after a couple of decades of conspicuously computer generated music, there’s personality aplenty in evidence. For me, it’s got more going for it than Gaucho, though I appreciate that that might not be a popular sentiment ’round these parts.

“I.G.Y. (International Geophysical Year)” a.k.a. “What a beautiful world this will be…”, was the semi-hit.

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Published in: on June 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. one of my favourite albums from one of my favourite musicians, so it’s perhaps a bit disappointing (but maybe inevitable) that this one is now beginning to appear in charity shop land…

    however i can console myself with the thought that it is probably only happening because most danoraks have replaced their vinyl copies with CD’s or other digital formats – this may be blasthemy for a site such as this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if both fagen and his fans (and i’m one of them) prefer his work to be appreciated in digital form rather than vinyl, as the hours and hours he logs in his quest for recorded perfection aren’t then made redundant by pop, crackle and surface noise!

  2. One of many contradiction of La Fagen is his romanticism of an imperfect past captured in recorded perfection; I suspect you may be right or, as likely, he’d like you to buy a new 180g vinyl edition each time you played it, so it sounded just so.


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