Sunday, April 13, 2008

Number 509 - Eagles

Number 509

The Eagles

"The Last Resort"

buy this print @ Boredlover
On Fridays, after work, in the year 1983, when I was living on my own at the tender age of 18, I would get home from work, pop open a beer and flip the eagles Hotel California album on side 2, crank it, sit and watch the sun set in the horizon. Yes ... Bliss, a pure and utter feeling of bliss. You just can't buy that shit (feeling) anymore. But the burning question your really asking is .... Why side 2 ? Because side 2 is euphoric. It is a journey right from the start & right to the very end. I am hoping Alan Heller from the site "The All Time Top 1000 Albums" can explain it better one day. Mind you, Alan hasn't written anything since January. Get a move along son! Actually its quite distressing that two of my favourite writers are AWOL at the moment, Peter Rayner from the Perilous Pierre website is also busy too. Maybe I should start an email petition to get them back to their keyboards! We need writers like this on the net, their intellectual thoughts are a must to Bohemians like me. Its like waking up in the morning and finding your newspaper with no words in it. Mind boggling.
eagles have landed
The Eagles took 18 months between their fourth and fifth albums, reportedly spending eight months in the studio recording Hotel California. The album was also their first to be made without Bernie Leadon, who had given the band much of its country flavor, and with rock guitarist Joe Walsh. As a result, the album marks a major leap for the Eagles from their earlier work, as well as a stylistic shift toward mainstream rock. An even more important aspect, however, is the emergence of Don Henley as the band's dominant voice, both as a singer and a lyricist. On the six songs to which he contributes, Henley sketches a thematic statement that begins by using California as a metaphor for a dark, surreal world of dissipation; comments on the ephemeral nature of success and the attraction of excess; branches out into romantic disappointment; and finally sketches a broad, pessimistic history of America that borders on nihilism.
Just moseying
Of course, the lyrics kick in some time after one has appreciated the album's music, which marks a peak in the Eagles' playing. Early on, the group couldn't rock convincingly, but the rhythm section of Henley and Meisner has finally solidified, and the electric guitar work of Don Felder and Joe Walsh has arena-rock heft. In the early part of their career, the Eagles never seemed to get a sound big enough for their ambitions; after changes in producer and personnel, as well as a noticeable growth in creativity, Hotel California unveiled what seemed almost like a whole new band. It was a band that could be bombastic, but also one that made music worthy of the later tag of "classic rock," music appropriate for the arenas and stadiums the band was playing. The result was the Eagles' biggest-selling regular album release, and one of the most successful rock albums ever. ~ [William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide]
History is made ...
Hotel California touched on many themes, including innocence (and the loss thereof), addiction in general (and to drugs), death, the dangers, temptation and transient nature of fame, shallow relationships, divorce and loss of love, the end results of manifest destiny, and the "American Dream." Members of Eagles have described the album as a metaphor for the perceived decline of America into materialism and decadence. In an interview with Dutch magazine ZigZag shortly before the album's release, Don Henley said: "This is a concept album, there's no way to hide it, but it's not set in the old West, the cowboy thing, you know. It's more urban this time (. . . ) It's our bicentennial year, you know, the country is 200 years old, so we figured since we are the Eagles and the Eagle is our national symbol, that we were obliged to make some kind of a little bicentennial statement using California as a microcosm of the whole United States, or the whole world, if you will, and to try to wake people up and say 'We've been okay so far, for 200 years, but we're gonna have to change if we're gonna continue to be around."
Eagles soliciting?
The album's final track, the epic "The Last Resort", was about the demise of society. Glenn Frey on the Hotel California episode of In the Studio with Redbeard explained about the track: It was the first time that Don took it upon himself to write an epic story and we were already starting to worry about the environment...we're constantly screwing up paradise and that was the point of the song and that at some point there is going to be no more new frontiers. I mean we're putting junk, er, garbage into space now. A hotel which carries the same name located in Todos Santos, Mexico is sometimes rumored to be the inspiration for the song (and in fact the hotel fosters the claims while enjoying the resulting status as a tourist attraction). However, Don Henley has denied the link.
Hotel California is one of the top 15 best-selling albums of all time in any category.
What does Rolling Stone think of the Eagles?
Hotel California showcases both the best and worst tendencies of Los Angeles-situated rock, but more strikingly its lyrics present a convincing and unflattering portrait of the milieu itself. Don Henley, handling five of the eight vocal tracks, expresses well the weary disgust of a victim (or observer) of the region's luxurious excess. Yet the record's firm musical bases cannot be overlooked. Bernie Leadon departed and Joe Walsh arrived; the Eagles have abandoned most of their bluegrass and country & western claims in favor of a more overt rock stance. Walsh's exact effect isn't always obvious, but this record does have subtleties and edges that have sometimes eluded the group. The title cut, for example, incorporates a pinch of reggae so smoothly that it's more felt than heard. "Life in the Fast Lane," propelled by Walsh's guitar and Glenn Frey's clavinet, rocks like it really means it; "Victim of Love" works similarly, though at a slower tempo. Henley is superb on all three.
The frequent orchestration, however, doesn't always fit. "Pretty Maids All in a Row" employs glistening, high-pitched string synthesizer to good effect, adding a reserved tension to the slowly paced arrangement; but the approach fails on "Wasted Time," an over arranged wash embodying the worst of rock-cum-Hollywood sensibilities. What does work is the elegant fullness of "The Last Resort," whose concluding words best sum up Hotel California: "You call some place Paradise ... kiss it goodbye." ~ CHARLEY WALTERS 1977[Source:Rolling Stone]
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (We only liked the Title track) and the Album ranked at Number 37
This song has a crowbarred rating of 74.9 out of 108
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Blogger Alan Heller said...

Hey Crowbarred you old charmer you! Thanks for the kind words. I blame you Kiwis for my extended absence - if you didn't have such a beautiful country I wouldn't have spent so much time wandering round it. That is one looooong flight though (especially when the onboard entertainment system fails & the guy in the seat behind you has a severe flatulence problem) Anyway keep up the good work mate.

12:00 pm  
Blogger crowbarred said...

Ah! Why didn't ya tell me you were in the country?

12:03 pm  
Blogger Alan Heller said...

I was in the South Island - didn't get a chance to go to the North this time as I ran out of time. Next time round I'll have to buy you a beer!

9:24 pm  
Blogger crowbarred said...

ha! i will let you off with a warning ... glad you enjoyed the country!

11:34 pm  

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