Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Eagles - Hotel California (1976)

Like any peculiar cultural gestation this past century, I have never understood the success of The Eagles -- that is, until their new album plopped itself down atop the charts in the US and UK like a neighborhood cat who excretes in your flower bed and fritters away when it likes. Thing is, these fellows are awfully familiar, so familiar that they've made a science out of repetition in an enterprise which is otherwise heralded more for its artistic expressions than it is for its scientific -- scratch -- marketing appeal. So when I heard about how such an album, which I have no intention of listening to this century, has been lauded for its nostalgic inanities and empty tropes, I finally realized that it's not wherein the rub lies, but who puts it there; and The Eagles, purveyors of all things blasé -- especially ballads -- have engineered the most perfectly calculated comeback by crafting a monstrous double album echoing everything everyone has ever remembered about what they liked about them. But isn't that what The Eagles - Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) was supposed to do -- you know, sell over 40 million records? And therein lies the rub, all bespeckled in American green. Admittedly, I am not an Eagles fan -- is that not obvious? -- and I will never curry favor in classic rock circles to pose as an indulgent populist and render myself an advocate for their music. The fact is, they suck too much to expend such effort, even if artificial -- that and I refuse to supplant argument for sales statistics.

I forgot that I'm supposed to review Hotel California! Извините, unbelievable, mon Dieu! My sincerest apologies. I promise free draft beer next time -- I'll even serve up a pint of my own Guinness! Interestingly enough, despite my natural proclivity to criticize, I actually have some warm regard for Hotel California. In truth, if there were ever a time to utter the phrase -- every dog has its day -- this is it, for sure. What baffles me, though, is that these populist bums could have discovered the creative collectivist energy to produce such a magnificent song such as "Hotel California." As ubiquitous as it is everyone I imagine, let me just add that the two intertwined guitar solos that close the song are incredible. "Life In The Fast Lane" is a great road song with some tasty riffs. "The Last Resort" is potentially the most difficult song on the album, not so much musically, but because it skirts so dangerously to becoming campy; I feel like Don Henley means what he's singing, and that's fine by me because it's a great song. Otherwise, ho-hum, "Victim Of Love" is decent, but that's about where my generosity ends. I still find placing "Wasting Time (Reprise)" directly after "Wasting Time" to be incredibly stupid as well. Whatever, I'll be receiving angry e-mails from this anyway. Bring it on. C+

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