Aja Songs Ranked

Aja is the sixth studio album by the American jazz rock band Steely Dan. It was released on September 23, 1977, by ABC Records. Recording alongside nearly 40 musicians, band leaders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker pushed Steely Dan further into experimenting with different combinations of session players while pursuing longer, more sophisticated compositions for the album. The album peaked at number three on the US charts and number five in the UK, ultimately becoming Steely Dan’s most commercially successful LP. It spawned a number of hit singles, including “Peg”, “Deacon Blues”, and “Josie”. In July 1978, Aja won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical and received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. It has since appeared frequently on professional rankings of the greatest albums, with critics and audiophiles applauding the album’s high production standards. In 2010, the Library of Congress selected the album for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant.” Here are all of Aja songs ranked.

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7. Josie

“Almost gothic sounding before warm e-piano come in and dismiss any of that notion and we get some funky guitars and the bass playing that cool riff…vocal comes in and we are definitely in funk territory…more of the typical rock thing here…love the chords are constantly shifting in the chorus…the movements makes the music sounds rather sophisticated…”

6. Deacon Blues

“Opens with some smooth descending figures…before a strumming guitar and the song starts, gorgeous e-piano backups and jazzy chord progression…I can actually hear this as a slow tempo jazz ballad would work quite well as well! Soulful backups and generally light breezy and groovy…like how the harmonies shifts…second verse and once again I am getting the vibe that its kinda broadway-ish feel to the whole thing…”

Steely Dan: Aja Album Review | Pitchfork

5. I Got the News

“Ok we have a funky blues one here…oh I love the piano playing its sweet…the vocal comes in and we get some picked notes on the guitars…the drummer is funky too…and the tempo is bit faster…I love there is dynamics in this song…the piano is playing more dissonant chords cool…I am really digging this groove…the singing is pretty straight though…I mean its nice but not really sound like cutting loose I am thinking hey James Brown would have killed on this kinda funky groove thing…the change up to the rides and we are getting some great choir vocal things going on…the horns are doing their jabs and we get a nice guitar solo…sweet…nice jazzy solo…and things goes back to the piano, the piano is quite mischievous sounding in this one I love it!!”

See more: Steely Dan Albums Ranked

4. Home at Last

“Jazzy sounding piano chords in a minor key…almost has a reggae feel to it especially the type of thing the bass is doing…then goes into a more straight beat kinda of thing…hmm really love the contrast between the two segments…this is quite catchy again…the doubling of the voice are cool…goes back to the minor-ish beat and the horns arranged to play a bit bluesy…while the guitars are a little bit crunchy playing like a nice fills…this one kinda has a bit of a swing to and I am really digging the bass groove…really reminds me of some Stevie Wonder”

Steely Dan: 10 Essential Songs - Rolling Stone

3. Black Cow

“A funky groove opens the tune…with clean guitars and some hmmm funky instrument I dunno what that is in my right ear…guitar plays kinda a soul type of sliding 6th thing…a nice soulish type of feel to it love the female voice and the backups…kinda reminds me of something that Stevie Wonder will do I guess its in a same decade….a nice feel to the song…has a kinda urban feel to it…very soulful with the backup vocals…the horns are nice too”

See more: Steely Dan Songs Ranked

2. Peg

“A funky kinda horn riff and is that some flanging going on in the background? A quirky funky little guitar figure plays on this rather uptempo and sunny song…this is more of a pop song and rather catchy…everything is generally very funky…has that kinda cute naivety like Jackson 5’s ABC but not quite as joyous…oh we got some distortion guitars playing some bluesy licks a few outside lines and we are back to the verse yeah this one is pretty poppy sounding…”

Steely Dan essential singles: Reelin' in the Years

1. Aja

“Soft piano opens with some nice descending guitars…I like the spaciousness of the sounds then goes into a more urgent beat but still retains that kinda light breeziness about it…the chords sounds nice its not too predicatable you know and I just love the way the music takes its time…actually reminds me of something Burt Bacharach will write, kinda that type of a little jazzy pop tunes that’s quite classy…a tougher over driven guitar comes in to play some rhythm while shaker are in the background and a xylophone?”