A musician once commented to me how often pre-Pro Tools music—particularly from the late-'60s and '70s – didn't adhere to "the grid." The music was often speeding up, slowing down, subtly off beat. Steely Dan was the exception, demonstrating uncanny precision long before tech made it simple. Therein lies their beauty and their weakness. It's hard to overstate what terrific musicians they are or how keenly they craft their jazzy soft rock. Can't Buy a Thrill (1972) is one of rock's finest debuts. In time, the polish and sophistication increased to the point where, for critics, the music became somewhat slick and lifeless. But it's still a helluva catalog.