Released 2001 on Elektra Entertainment.
Maybe not what you'd expect me to listen to, but my dad is a bit of an Eagles fanatic, and this is largely the sort of stuff I grew up with, so I really like them, in spite/because of their shortcomings and corniness. They're not an amazing band by any stretch, but they're good. My main problem with them is their constant cashing in. I'm pretty sure this is one in a sizeable line of Best Of compilations for The Eagles; it just happens to be the one I own.
Quick round-up of the group for the uninitiated; they're ostensibly a country band, though much of their material seems to me to lean more towards soft rock territory, but never mind. Expect lots of easygoing tunes, harmonised backing vocals - nothing too hard on the ear. A good guitarist though, in a relaxed sort of way, in Don Henley.
1 - One of These Nights (4:51)
The title track from one of their albums, I'm actually not such a fan of this song. Despite starting with a nice, bass-driven and very easily recognisable introduction, I never really got into it much.
2 - Take It Easy (3:32)
This is more like it, a more upbeat, rockier song, from their self-titled record. The focus is very much on vocals and lyrics, as is much of their stuff, and one of their great strengths is having lyrics that aren't oversimplified, but are great for singing along to; Take It Easy
exemplifies this. It's especially fun to match his wonderfully southern accent, note for note - just try it on the line "Well I'm a-standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see/It's a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford, slowin' down to take a look at me." I'd call this a classic track.
3 - Hotel California (6:29)
Ah, perhaps the
classic Eagles track. Chances are, if you ask someone about the Eagles, if they know them at all, it'll be this song. Pretty much everything about it seems to be infused in popular culture, including that the Hotel is a metaphor for drugs. Whole stand-up routines have been based on it ("Yeah, I went to see The Eagles. They had the sheer balls to open
with Hotel California
n right, we got about six thousand songs, we can follow it!'"); it's just that kind of song. The song itself is actually really good as well, though not my favourite. Good guitar solo too.
4 - New Kid In Town (5:03)
This is a lighter-hearted, gentler track, especially following Hotel California
. I'm not a big fan of country music semi-ballads, but as far as country music semi-ballads go, I'd take this over a lot of others.
5 - Heartache Tonight (4:26)
This was one of my dad's favourites, especially for driving, so I've heard it a lot. A very lot. I think I would've liked it anyway though, if I'd heard it independently, as it's another of the rockier songs, and it's mid-paced, catchy, and similar to Take It Easy
in being fun to sing along to. Only minor problem is the clapping in the background, which sounds so blatantly sampled or mechanical (even if it isn't, that's what it sounds like), and really annoys me for some reason.
6 - Tequila Sunrise (2:54)
Another good song. Slower than Heartache..
, but not a ballad; more just a chillout song. Not much to say about it otherwise, as it's only 3 minutes long. Decent though.
7 - Desperado (3:37)
In my opiniong, one of their best songs. Opening with instantly memorable piano, the song proper starts with a lonely-sounding cry of the song's title; the vocals and lyrics are again focal points of the song, but for once they're matched by the instruments - the piano to start off with, what sounds like strings later on. The "normal" instruments don't come in until a long while after. This was another of my dad's favourites; it was his song, assigned to him by the patrons of his pub (along with some Beatles song I can't remember the name of).
8 - Best of My Love (4:34)
This is another ballady thing, lacking in any kind of refinement, in the vein of New Kid in Town
. I generally can't be bothered with it.
9 - Lyin' Eyes (6:21)
Something of a fan favourite, though I'm not such a fan - an instantly recognisable start, and it breaks into something more of a country sounding song that others. The subject matter is classic country material, too - a cheating woman. At six minutes, it's a bit overlong, and sometimes it seems a little too inoffensive to bear, but still I like it. I'd advise skipping it after about four minutes though.
10 - Take It To the Limit (4:46)
A confusing track - it's slower than the majority of Eagles songs, yet I still seem to think of it as one of the rockier tracks they have. It's more in the chillout area of songwriting though, as opposed to a ballad, and I like it. Hints of strings all over the place, too. A little too repetitive towards the end, but hey, it's The Eagles.
11 - I Can't Tell You Why (4:55)
Now this is a ballad, but it's a good one. Starts off sounding fairly dark, but the lyrics, and the song in general, turn out to be really catchy, in a muted kind of way. Again, not much to say, but it's a really good song.
12 - Peaceful Easy Feeling (4:17)
Slightly faster paced than the last few songs, and definitely (rather than meandering, like the last three) both a good song and a fan favourite. Catchy, too. Probably best known amongst the internet faithful as the song which provoked one man to bash his friend over the head with his guitar, when said friend proved unable to play the correct chords for it.
13 - James Dean (3:38)
This is more or less a full-on rock song, and I love it. Fast, with electric guitar, and lyrics about the coolest of the cool, James Dean. Again, really catchy, and contains the incredibly ace line "Well, talk about a low-down, bad refrigerator, you were just too cool for school." Recommended.
14 - Doolin' Dalton (3:29)
The middle of this compilation isn't very good, but it starts off strong, and they seem determined to end that way too, as they increase the quality of the songs more towards the end. This is a slower, mournful song (replete with harmonica), but it's just full of Wayne and Eastwood style country cool ("Lay down your lawbooks now, they're no dam
15 - Witchy Woman (4:11)
Another obviously drug-related song (along with Hotel California
), and one of the more interesting, as well. Starts off with a very Native American feel to the music, which never really lets up throughout. It's obviously a bit of a novelty effect, but that doesn't stop it being fun. The drug in question is heroin, I think (references to "see how high she flies", and "drove herself to madness with a silver spoon").
16 - The Long Run (3:42)
Of the last seven tracks on the album, this is easily the least impressive. Strikes me as Eagles-by-numbers (despite the different approaches they seem to take to different songs). That's not to say it's particularly bad, it's just not particularly good either, so it's taking up rather valuable space on a Best Of compilation.
17 - Life in the Fast Lane (4:45)
Easily the closest thing to hard rock on here, and maybe the closest they ever come. Starts off with a really cool riff, and from the very start it's just an all ahead rock song - a solid main riff and fiercer than usual vocals, and lyrics about an off-the-rails relationship between two hot-headed people. A "cool in a corny way" song, definitely, but I like it. Any younger people here may well recognise this as being sampled in a song on Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish..
So there you go, a quick overview. Basically turn to the Eagles if you want corny music and catchy lyrics, mixed in with the occasional decent ballad (and the occasional all-out brilliant song, such as Take It Easy
or Hotel California
As a Best Of though, there are other things to be taken into account. Overall, it seems to hit most of the major Eagles classics and fan favourites, but there are a few key problems:
1 - There's a few too many songs I could happily take off, if I was compiling my own Eagles Best of - The Long Run
, New Kid in Town
, One Of These Nights
, Best of My Love
- which doesn't seem to make a very convincing case for it being a Best Of.
2 - No Wasted Time
! Possibly the best Eagles track ever :(
3 - There's nothing here, such as special liner notes or even lyrics in the booklet, to make this worth buying over any other Eagles compilation, or preferably the live album (/DVD) Hell Freezes Over
, which not only is a great live album, but features the premiere of Wasted Time
as a new song.
It's this last point which really keeps the score down. In terms of choice of tracks, and the music itself, this is a strong 3.5, but as a Best Of, it's unfortunately nothing special.