True story: I once received a Christmas present from a co-worker who knew I was a music fan. The album that he bought me was the Eagles Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975.
I was gracious; I thanked him for the gift and referred to the record’s huge appeal. Privately, I thought it was a little shortsighted. I mean, I was sure that I had let on about a few bands that I like and I am absolutely positive that the Eagles never once entered into the conversation. Perhaps this is the record that people turn to whenever they’re faced with addressing someone who is a bit of a music fan; because, fuck, so many people bought Greatest Hits that it must mean that everyone who likes music loves that album.
I left the gift in its shrink rap and traded in on something more aligned with my own musical taste.
So maybe I’m not the best choice to review the new Eagles album and maybe the idea itself is a bit presumptuous. It’s not as if anything I say is going to make jack shit of a difference to the band’s core audience, an audience that’s likely to include my own Father.
Whatever. I’m going for it.
The first thing you’ll hear from critics and fans is how much Eden sounds like the “old” Eagles. Yes, the harmonies are enviable, the production is immaculate, and the performances are what you’d expect from a band that holds the record for most albums ever sold. There’s nothing in the Eagles double-set to alienate a single soul out of those twenty-eight million customers that bought Greatest Hits.
The very notion that this album even exists angers me. There’s not a shred of evidence that these guys genuinely felt the need to work together again. There’s no unfinished business to address or any creative urge to explore. Eden sounds like it was conceived with the help of accountants who ran profit illustrations long before rehearsals were even scheduled. Guaranteed: if it appeared that not enough profit would have been generated from a new studio album, we wouldn’t even be talking about a new Eagles album. It’s safe to say that the tie-in with Wal-Mart addresses exactly that and helps ensure that the band gets paid even when the industry is in peril.
Speaking of Wal-Mart: the hypocritical notion of preaching about “Business As Usual” while offering their product exclusively at perhaps the most unethical retail in the country demonstrates the complete lack of moral code that the band possesses. It also speaks volumes on how the Eagles view their own fans. To them, their core audience consists entirely of blue-collar shoppers who are too stupid to shop anywhere but Wal-Mart and who’ve yet to grasp the concept of downloading. In the Eagles’ eyes, they probably think that pricing the album below $12 is doing us morons a favor.
They may have indeed found a way to reach the majority of their core audience, but they certainly haven’t found a way to come close to the impact that their original material had on them. In other words: the lemmings will buy Eden out of sheer obedience, but don’t count on them to replace Greatest Hits package when they’re looking for a peaceful, easy feeling.
Even Joe Walsh, perhaps the most amiable fellow in the Eagles line-up, successfully raises my blood pressure on the new album with his seven-minute long “Last Good Time In Town.” In case you hadn’t gathered by its “clever” title, “Last Good Time” is a pathetic slice of middle-age tripe that reminisces to the good times when Joe had a little bit of trouble getting his dick hard, thanks to all the coke and booze he was abusing.
Glen Frey deserves credit for not only rewriting some of his mid-80s solo material for Eden, but also for using what sounds like the same equipment that he worked with during The Allnighter.
But the biggest douche bag would have to be Henley, who goes out of his way to provide the band with the most virtuous bullshit to work from while managing to come off as someone who’s been living in isolation ever since The Long Run.
With no new ground broken, no hints at the band’s fabled mid-70’s brilliance and no redeeming value whatsoever, Long Road Out Of Eden is just like all the other shit you don’t need at Wal-Mart. Despite all of their stubborn inclination to create something intentionally out-of-step with today’s music landscape, the Eagles may have inadvertently made the perfect snapshot of what’s wrong with America today. It’s filled with self-righteousness, completely out-of-touch of touch with reality and it may qualify as the most hypocritical record ever made. Here’s hoping that Long Road Out Of Eden provides the Eagles with a quick expressway to a destination that holds them accountable for their contemptuous actions.
YouTube: Eagles – “How Long”
Previously: Billboard Boosts Eagles, Bumps Britney