Sound — 10
The sound on "Aja" was very progressive sounding when it came out in 1977. It still sounds very fresh because of the great engineering and how Fagen and Becker (the leaders of Steely Dan) wanted everything near perfection. The instruments create very lush soundscapes like the middle section of "Aja" with the clear sounding guitar of Denny Dias, the jazzy saxophone sound of Wayne Shorter, and the incredible drums of Steve Gadd. This is the album where Fagen and Becker perfect their jazz-rock style and with combining elements of pop, blues, jazz, R&B, and rock. Each song on the album is crafted very well and this makes an album that you will want to listen to many times again.
Lyrics — 10
Fagen and Becker have always made very detailed lyrics, that will make you relate to the song in your own way. This album has so much emotion especially in the song "Deacon Blues" where Fagen gives probably his best singing performance. The lyrics go so well with the music such as the wonderous lyrics that go well with the song "Aja" which is the highlight song of all the Steely Dan albums. The lyrics in "Home At Last" are very bluesy and talk about being homesick. Donald Fagen who is the lead singer and keyboardist has a very unique voice that fits with the music so well. The only weak song on the album, if there is one, is "I Got The News" and I think with some more work it could have been very good. Overall though the lyrics are very original.
Overall Impression — 10
This album I would consider just as good as other great rock albums like Dark Side of the Moon, Sgt. Pepper's, or Who's Next. While this album is not as popular as the albums I mentioned, it certainly deserves as much credit. This is the album that defines jazz-rock and every song is impressive especially "Aja", "Deacon Blues", and "Josie." I love this album because the songs are so well done and the sound is excellent. The only thing I hate about this album is that it isn't long enough and only runs about 40 minutes. If it were lost I would definately buy it again!