Friday, July 10, 2015

"New Frontier" by Donald Fagen

Song#:  1323
Date:  01/29/1983
Debut:  86
Peak:  70
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Soft Rock, Jazz-Rock

Pop Bits:  Fagen's first post-Steely Dan solo album, "The Nightfly," was a solid hit going platinum and reaching #11. It was boosted by the #26 single "I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)." This second single got a little airplay, but it wasn't enough to really move it up the chart and it stalled at #70. It did a little better at AC reaching #34.

ReduxReview:  Just like Steely Dan, Fagen's solo work wasn't necessarily made for the pop chart. His sophisticated jazz-rock tunes were not going to attract the new MTV generation. However, that didn't really matter. Critics and fans of Steely Dan were enamored and that was plenty enough to sell some discs. I think "I.G.Y." did better than expected, which probably brought on board some new fans. But there was no surefire follow-up single on the conceptual album. This song was probably the only viable candidate. It didn't get much support and I'm not surprised. It chugs along well, but with no real chorus and long instrumental passages, it was kind of doomed from the beginning. I'm not a big fan of Steely Dan or Fagen's nerd-pop, but I kinda like this song. It's just not a good single.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  In the early 80s, most music was still being recorded in an analog manner. The concept of recording digitally was in its early stages and only a minor few albums were recorded in that fashion. Fagen's "The Nightfly" was one of the first albums to be digitally recorded. It's also still considered by many sound engineers to be one of the best examples of digital recording. It is still used as test material in studios and in setting up live performances in concert venues.


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