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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply a Popular Music Masterpiece., 6 Mar. 2002
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This review is from: The Nightfly (Audio CD)
As with other great composers of the past , if Donald Fagen never does anything else again before he departs this life , in 'The Nightfly' he has left his mark.Everything about this album is right, the concept of the songs centred around a late night DJ in late 50's or early 60's in a northeastern USA city tells a social history story of that period USA in itself - brilliantly brought back to life by the genius of Donald Fagens songs and the one cover song(The Drifters Ruby Baby), and what absolutely marvellous songs they are too! 'IGY'(International Geophysical Year) for instance is a fabulous opener to the album,which bounces along joyiously and builds up to wonderful finishing upbeat and uplifting crescendo! The IGY was something that actually took place in the years 1957/1958,basically,scientists from all over the world endeavoring to push the boundaries of human intellect, discovery, and technologies etc etc.But then again,without exception the rest of the album is brilliant to!Each song telling a story of life and certain'fantasies' of the future that people of that time had,hav'nt we all done that in our own lives at some point? What a great idea of Donald's to include it some marvellously constructed songs.Even the cover song sounds like a Fagen original that fits in beautifully.Included with this is the stunning musicianship of all the musicians involved,and the top notch production, it's got it all,wonderful stuff!
The album cover is also marvellous at conveying visually what 'The Nightfly' story concept is.As DF has himself stated, in the suburbia where teenagers were growing up then, there was not much to do. But they did have radio(many pirate) stations that played jazz music,that they could tune in to.The front cover shows the fictional DJ 'The Nightfly',(posed by DF himself) with a copy of the album by the saxophanist Sonny Rollins -'The Contemporary Leaders'. This visually depicts the jazz music of what 'The Nightfly' is about, and an influential artist and record of that period of American Jazz.I can envisage some artist in the future doing the same with 'The Nightfly' Album' and placing it on their album cover! The DJ's 'Chesterfield Kings' cigarettes are also shown,as namechecked in the Nightfly songtrack! The back cover shows a typical suburban house in the early hours, of that period, showing a lit bedroom/window, suggesting perhaps where the radio show and 'The Nightfly' is transmitting from,or is it a listener? You be the judge!Whilst all this is almost entirely American in it's sentiments,UK citizens can easily draw a parallel to events in the UK from the same time period. Another reviewer has stated this is the greatest album ever made!I will simply say that'The Nightfly'is a popular music masterpiece of an album , that will endure through the years, and is a benchmark on which others who follow will be judged against.
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