Eagles Flightless With new Album
By: Warner Todd Huston
The new album from The Eagles, Long Road Out of Eden, is just one long, sustained attack on the integrity of the United States and is as bad as any loud-mouthed Dixie Chicks diatribe. With songs prosaically about Global Warming and the evil American â€œempire,â€ seemingly the only one of the band who just wanted to entertain the fans was Joe Walsh, the others too puffed up with their own sense of superiority to bother. Unfortunately, what we have here just another exclamation from pampered rock stars that they are smarter, more environmentally friendly and more caring than the rest of us… but be sure and buy more albums for Christmas gifts, will ya folks!
This album should have been titled â€œLong Trip to the Bankâ€ because for much of it the band seems to be on autopilot and too much of it seems like a cynically engineered ploy to sell plastic as opposed to a solid attempt to entertain. It even seems that they consciously wrote this one to appeal to specific sectors of the radio market — the country market, adult contemporary — so much so that the album lacks freshness. The Eagles have always been on the country side of Rock-n-Roll, but several of the songs are so obviously written to have a country sound in an effort to get airplay on Americaâ€™s country stations, for instance, that itâ€™s a bit hard to get past the obvious ploy to enjoy the tunes. This cynical ploy is quite unlike their past work, where the country influence seemed more natural.
This two disc set starts out with a short, whiney little piece that is a blatant plea to appeal to those worried about global warming. â€œNo More Walks in the Wood,â€ penned on autopilot by Don Henley, from a poem by John Hollander, it ridiculously whines that his walk in the woods ainâ€™t so cool anymore because â€œThe trees have all been cut down.â€ Hollanderâ€™s poem tried to be clever with a globaloney reference, but it just ended up sounding clumsy. â€œThis is the aftermath,â€ Henley warbles, â€œOf afternoons in clover fields, where we once made loveâ€¦ where we made our own weather.â€ Naturally, we ruined it all, man! It laments that â€œnow they are gone for goodâ€ as if we could destroy all the clover fields and trees in the world. This little piece of doggerel is not very subtle, but it is thankfully a short one at two minutes.
Sometimes, I forget how preachy and boring Frey and Henley can get, but with that as a beginning, it slams the memory home and then some.
The second tune, â€œHow Long,â€ is the one we hear on the radio currently and it is not too bad, but as previously mentioned, one gets the feeling it was targeted to the country market too consciously in this version. Both â€œBusy Being Fabulousâ€ and â€œI Donâ€™t Want to Hear Any Moreâ€ are also so obviously targeted to the country market that itâ€™s hard to get past the obviousness of it. Still, this one isnâ€™t too bad, but it should be no surprise because this one isnâ€™t really a new song. Itâ€™s an old one repackaged.
Joe Walsh has a nice tune on disc one called â€œGuilty of the Crime.â€ But, I have to admit that every Walsh song that has ever appeared on an Eagles album seemed out of place to me. What Walsh was ever doing with the Eagles, Iâ€™ll never know. His style is so different from the others, both his guitar work and his vocals, that he just seems the odd man out. I love his work, though, so donâ€™t see this as a criticism, but more of a simple observation.
â€œFast Company,â€ fronted by Don Henley is another one that seems to have been written on autopilot. It almost sounds bad enough to have appeared on a cheap 1980s teensploitation movie to represent â€œrockâ€ on the soundtrack. Henleyâ€™s falsetto didnâ€™t work very well here, either, sounding strained instead of natural. Plus, the horns sounded like something I heard from a Peter Gabriel album (check out Gabriel’s tune The Barry Williams Show and you might see what I mean). It just doesnâ€™t sound like the Eaglesâ€¦ or any band that has sold millions of records.
The worst of them, though appears on Disc two. Three songs almost in a row, â€œLong Road Out of Eden.â€ â€œSomebody,â€ and â€œFrail Grasp on the Big Pictureâ€ all go for scolding America, Americans, and just about everything that we are. Calling us an â€œempireâ€ and basically calling every American stupid, the Eagles paint a grim picture of the very people who they are asking to spend $12 bucks at WallMart for the privilege of being called idiots by these aging rockers.
Letâ€™s start with â€œLong Road Out of Eden,â€ the song that supplies the albumâ€™s title. Itâ€™s so painfully obvious that the preachy whiners in the Eagles donâ€™t like the action in Iraq that it seems somewhat simple-minded.
â€œMoon shining down through the palms, shadows moving on the sand.â€
Gee, what â€œsandâ€ do ya think they are on about, huh? And if that isnâ€™t obvious enough they follow that up a few lines later with, â€œBack home I was so certain, the path was very clear. But now I have to wonder: What are we doing here?â€
So, we are in Iraq and we donâ€™t know why? I am also a bit miffed that it could be imagined that the Eagles are using a soldierâ€™s voice to promulgate their anti-Iraq, anti-American propaganda. After all, WHO is â€œover thereâ€ but our soldiers, anyway?
Then the song attacks the rest of America.
â€œMusic blasting from an SUV, on a bright and sunny day. Rolling down the interstate, in the good olâ€™ USA. Having lunch at the petroleum club, smokinâ€™ fine cigars and swappinâ€™ lies.â€
â€œLunch at the petroleum club?â€ Yeah, itâ€™s all about the oil. How subtle, Eagles.
The song attacks our politicians as â€œcaptains of the old orderâ€ who are â€œclinging to the reinsâ€ and are â€œassuring us these aches inside are only growing pains.â€ Then basically calls us all stupid with, â€œWeaving down the American highway through the litter and wreckage and the cultural junk, bloated with entitlement, loaded on propaganda, and now weâ€™re driving dazed and drunk.â€ Yeah, like the Eagles didnâ€™t help us along down that road with their many albums adding to that â€œjunkâ€ culture? (Give me a break)
And here is the money shot:
â€œBut the road to empire is a bloody, stupid waste, behold the bitten apple, the power of the tools. But all the knowledge in the world is of no use to fools.â€
Yeah, right. So, our politicians are evil, our people are stupid and we are only out to create an empire. So, to a bunch of pampered, fools in the entertainment industry, the USA is to blame for all the worldâ€™s ills once again.
Yep. Itâ€™s all us. Not a word about Islamofascists trying to blow us all up, though. Nothing about bin Laddenists cutting off peopleâ€™s heads, women being stoned, young girls being murdered with â€œhonor killings,â€ or homosexuals being summarily executed from our pals the Eagles! I guess they have forgotten about 9/11 and our enemies in radical Islam like so many of their ilk.
The next one is â€œSomebodyâ€ that warns us over and over again that â€œsomebodyâ€ is going to make you pay for being so â€œevil.â€ Gosh, after the anti-American we-are-an-empire song, whaddya think the Eagles are saying here? Maybe that WE are evil and need to look over our shoulders at the bad things rushing to catch up with us? Obviously.
And the final outrage is the insipid track titled â€œFrail Grasp on the Big Picture.â€
First let me say that the little booklet with the lyrics printed in as small a type size as you can get has this songâ€™s lyrics printed next to a photo of an oilrig in the ocean. Gosh, whaddya think their message is with that â€˜un, eh?
Yeah, subtlety is not one of their strong points.
So, in this one we Americans are scolded by the smarter and more caring band members as having â€œshort memories,â€ that we â€œdonâ€™t know much of nothinâ€™,â€ and that we are living in the â€œdark ages.â€
As if that wasnâ€™t bad enough, the Eagles next attack the religious in America by saying that they are praying to the Lord who they â€œknow is an American.â€ They go for all the cheap shots against the religious, conservatives and Republicans that they can pour into one verse.
â€œAnd we pray to our Lord, who we know is American. He reigns from on high. He speaks to us through middlemen and he shepherds his flock. We sing out and we praise his name. He supports us in war; he presides over football games. And the right will prevail, all out troubles shall be resolved. We hold faith above all, unless thereâ€™s money or sex involved.â€
Again with the utter lack of subtlety here. It is obvious that they hate religion, think God is a joke and feel all Republicans are hypocrites.
But, then again, they ARE in the entertainment industry, arenâ€™t they? Isnâ€™t it just a given that people like the Eagles would look down on the very people who have made them so rich?
Fortunately, Walsh gives us another fun one with â€œLast Good Time in Town,â€ but that good mood is ruined with another diatribe against â€œall the people in denialâ€ by Don Henley with the tune â€œBusiness as Usual.â€
As the last tune ended, I found myself happy it was all over. This particular dash for the cash will not rank as some of the Eaglesâ€™ best work, sadly, and with the anti-American sentiment so liberally spread through the thing, it will have to serve as just another boring example of whiney, rich rock stars trying to act all relevant and meaningful instead of trying to entertain.
Itâ€™s just awfully annoying, though, that while they are using more oil to transport their concert equipment and flying about the country in their private jets than any American family would in a lifetime, they are telling us we are evil to have an â€œempire,â€ that we are creating global warming, that our religion is false, and that we are all so stupid as to be falling for â€œpropaganda.â€ And, all the while, they act as if we havenâ€™t a single enemy in the world.
Yep, theyâ€™ve completely forgotten 9/11.
Take my word for this one. Settle for listening to the single â€œHow Longâ€ on the radio and skip this album. You donâ€™t need the headaches.
Let’s put it this way, I spent my $12 bucks so you don’t have to!