Donald Fagen: The Nightfly
Warner Bros. // DVD Audio // $17.95 // December 17, 2002
Review by Buzz Burgess | posted January 13, 2003
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Graphical Version

PLEASE NOTE: This is a DVD-Audio disc which is playable on most DVD players as well as all DVD-Audio players. A DVD-Audio player will make all sound options on this disc available for listening.

A Look at DVD-Audio
Great sonics, six-channel capability, and added features to your favorite music albums.

First, there were albums on vinyl, then we had CDs, and now there's something called DVD-Audio. What's the difference? A lot! DVD-A is the latest way to hear multichannel, audiophile-quality albums in your home, using your DVD or DVD-Audio player. A DVD-A can hold up to seven times the data of a normal CD, which results in added features and better sound. Also, with its sampling rate higher than that of average CDs (up to 192 kHz, whereas most CDs get 44.1 kHz), you may hear a lot of details in music on a DVD-A that you'd never discover on an average CD. And, since nearly all DVD-As are engineered for multichannel/surround-sound listening (using five or six speakers), with the right equipment, you'll be able to hear your favorite music in breathtaking surround sound.

Equipment Needed
First off, DVD-Audios will not play on normal CD players. You'll need a DVD-Audio player in order to fully capture the capabilities of these discs. A receiver with 5.1 analog inputs and five speakers (left, center, right, left surround, right surround, and a subwoofer) should also be used to capture the surround-sound capabilities of DVD-As. While pure DVD-As will not play on standard DVD players, most releases (including all the titles produced by Warner, Atlantic, and Elektra) contain a Dolby Digital surround-sound mix, making them playable on any DVD player. Though these discs are primarily audio-only, you'll be best off using them in conjunction with your TV, so you can watch the additional onscreen features (see below) and navigate the menus with ease. It's all a little complicated, but music-loving home theater enthusiasts won't be disappointed!

Improved Sound
Thanks to a higher sampling rate than that of both standard DVDs and CDs, DVD-As have an incredibly detailed sound. And, when played through a proper home-theater setup with five or six channels (speakers), you'll get to hear your favorite music in a whole new light--in surround sound. Depending on the remastering, the effect of surround sound on your favorite album can be subtle or dramatic, but generally speaking, every DVD-Audio sounds better than its standard CD counterpart.

Additional Onscreen Features
The added onscreen features available on DVD-Audios vary from title to title. DVD-As often have extra unreleased tracks, photo slide shows of the artist performing, song lyrics, music videos, and interviews. But don't expect to get footage of a full concert or videos for every track; DVD-As devote the bulk of their space to high-quality audio-only music.

Donald Fagen's 1982 solo debut extends the sleek, smart funk sound of Steely Dan into the realm of the nostalgic. Evocative lyrics and instrumentation bring the future to the present in works that question life in the technological age to come. Set in the late 1950's, he romanticizes, in one of his works, a brave new world of technology in the bowels of a fallout shelter. Each song stands on its own, apart from Steely Dan, and embodies both mystery and imagination. From "Maxine" to "Ruby Baby", each one is a keeper.

1. I.G.Y.
2. Green Flower Street
3. Ruby Baby
4. Maxine
5. New Frontier
6. The Nightfly
7. The Goodbye Look
8. Walk Between Raindrops

What little that exists is clean and clear without artifacts. The format of DVD-A hasn't to this point, included a lot of video on these offerings. The same is true in this case and is really an enhanced CD with a still shot during each one of the songs. The only exception is the included music video of "New Frontier."

The album is packed with slow ballads and upbeat island beat music. The DVD-A format really makes the music shine. Beautiful separation and surround effects add to the dreaminess already present in the songs themselves. And given this format, they can really pack the sound data on the disc. My only wish is that I could play it in my car.

Non-animated menus with music.
Song Selections with photo stills
Sound Selections
- Advanced Resolution Surround Sound (48kHz/24-bit) - DVD Audio Players
- Advanced Resolution Stereo (48kHz/24-bit) - DVD Audio Players
- Dolby Digital & DTS 5.1 Surround Sound - DVD Video Players
- Lyrics - All DVD Players
- Video - All DVD Players
New Frontier Music Video

Final Thoughts
What's not to like? Wonderful stories, fantastic arrangements combined with excellent production. Maxine and New Frontier would stand alone but having the other songs as well, certainly makes this DVD-A worth owning.

Copyright 2019 Inc. All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy is a Trademark of Inc.