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 “empire,” 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 “Long Trip to the Bank” 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 America’s country stations, for instance, that it’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. “No More Walks in the Wood,” penned on autopilot by Don Henley, from a poem by John Hollander, it ridiculously whines that his walk in the woods ain’t so cool anymore because “The trees have all been cut down.” Hollander’s poem tried to be clever with a globaloney reference, but it just ended up sounding clumsy. “This is the aftermath,” Henley warbles, “Of afternoons in clover fields, where we once made love… where we made our own weather.” Naturally, we ruined it all, man! It laments that “now they are gone for good” 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, “How Long,” 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 “Busy Being Fabulous” and “I Don’t Want to Hear Any More” are also so obviously targeted to the country market that it’s hard to get past the obviousness of it. Still, this one isn’t too bad, but it should be no surprise because this one isn’t really a new song. It’s an old one repackaged.

Joe Walsh has a nice tune on disc one called “Guilty of the Crime.” 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, I’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 don’t see this as a criticism, but more of a simple observation.

“Fast Company,” 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 “rock” on the soundtrack. Henley’s falsetto didn’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 doesn’t sound like the Eagles… or any band that has sold millions of records.

The worst of them, though appears on Disc two. Three songs almost in a row, “Long Road Out of Eden.” “Somebody,” and “Frail Grasp on the Big Picture” all go for scolding America, Americans, and just about everything that we are. Calling us an “empire” 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.

Let’s start with “Long Road Out of Eden,” the song that supplies the album’s title. It’s so painfully obvious that the preachy whiners in the Eagles don’t like the action in Iraq that it seems somewhat simple-minded.

“Moon shining down through the palms, shadows moving on the sand.”

Gee, what “sand” do ya think they are on about, huh? And if that isn’t obvious enough they follow that up a few lines later with, “Back home I was so certain, the path was very clear. But now I have to wonder: What are we doing here?”

So, we are in Iraq and we don’t know why? I am also a bit miffed that it could be imagined that the Eagles are using a soldier’s voice to promulgate their anti-Iraq, anti-American propaganda. After all, WHO is “over there” but our soldiers, anyway?

Then the song attacks the rest of America.

“Music blasting from an SUV, on a bright and sunny day. Rolling down the interstate, in the good ol’ USA. Having lunch at the petroleum club, smokin’ fine cigars and swappin’ lies.”

“Lunch at the petroleum club?” Yeah, it’s all about the oil. How subtle, Eagles.

The song attacks our politicians as “captains of the old order” who are “clinging to the reins” and are “assuring us these aches inside are only growing pains.” Then basically calls us all stupid with, “Weaving down the American highway through the litter and wreckage and the cultural junk, bloated with entitlement, loaded on propaganda, and now we’re driving dazed and drunk.” Yeah, like the Eagles didn’t help us along down that road with their many albums adding to that “junk” culture? (Give me a break)

And here is the money shot:

“But 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.”

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 world’s ills once again.

Yep. It’s all us. Not a word about Islamofascists trying to blow us all up, though. Nothing about bin Laddenists cutting off people’s heads, women being stoned, young girls being murdered with “honor killings,” 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 “Somebody” that warns us over and over again that “somebody” is going to make you pay for being so “evil.” 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 “Frail Grasp on the Big Picture.”

First let me say that the little booklet with the lyrics printed in as small a type size as you can get has this song’s lyrics printed next to a photo of an oilrig in the ocean. Gosh, whaddya think their message is with that ‘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 “short memories,” that we “don’t know much of nothin’,” and that we are living in the “dark ages.”

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Eagles next attack the religious in America by saying that they are praying to the Lord who they “know is an American.” They go for all the cheap shots against the religious, conservatives and Republicans that they can pour into one verse.

“And 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 there’s money or sex involved.”

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, aren’t they? Isn’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 “Last Good Time in Town,” but that good mood is ruined with another diatribe against “all the people in denial” by Don Henley with the tune “Business as Usual.”

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 Eagles’ 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.

It’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 “empire,” that we are creating global warming, that our religion is false, and that we are all so stupid as to be falling for “propaganda.” And, all the while, they act as if we haven’t a single enemy in the world.

Yep, they’ve completely forgotten 9/11.

Take my word for this one. Settle for listening to the single “How Long” on the radio and skip this album. You don’t need the headaches.

Let’s put it this way, I spent my $12 bucks so you don’t have to!

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.