My Top 10 Albums: #4 – Donald Fagen – The Nightfly

This post is part of a ten-part series showcasing my top 10 albums. Certain obvious legends (Beatles, Queen, Rolling Stones, etc.) are not in the list, these are albums not everyone knows or picks.

Okay, now all the pop music snobs can back off. It’s time for Donald Fagen. The Nightfly (1982) is a masterpiece. One of the first compact discs I bought when the format got started, I paid $22+ for it. Worth every dime to hear a pristine audio landscape of one of the greatest albums of all time.

Every song on this album is essential to the experience. The songs stand on their own, each as strong as the next. Together, they paint a picture of a young man in the 1950s with big dreams and imagination. Fagen says this in the liner notes and every song delivers a little story from his mind. The lyrical imagery puts you right there. Fagen plays radio jock taking calls (“respect the 7-second delay”) in the title track. “New Frontier” presents a hormonal teenager using the family bomb shelter as a makeout spot. The track was an MTV staple, a top-10 standout no one alive in 1982 could forget.

If you haven’t heard this album, you haven’t lived. Find it immediately, listen to it and I’ll tell you in advance that you’re going to hear what heaven sounds like.

Track listing

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1.I.G.Y. 6:03
2.“Green Flower Street” 3:42
3.Ruby BabyJerry LeiberMike Stoller; arranged by Fagen5:38
4.“Maxine” 3:50
No.TitleLength
5.New Frontier6:23
6.“The Nightfly”5:47
7.“The Goodbye Look”4:50
8.“Walk Between Raindrops”2:38

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