Review Summary: "They call it paradise", and it sort of is.Hotel California
, before being an album, it is a song and as such it could stand alone and result more solid than any other most complete and perfect record by any valid band.
The combination of lyrics and music in it is just terrific: the former are very meaningful, plenty of metaphors alluding to a declining society in an America of excesses, while the latter makes the whole thing work with chords perfectly put together and a breath-taking two-minute guitar solo which closes the track after the cold truth has been revealed: "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave"
When the song ends you feel a sense of self-realisation that no other song can offer you and at first you wouldn't want to listen to anything at all anymore. That is why it is really hard, after a magnificent song like that, to keep on listening to the rest of the album, knowing that nothing can beat that beasty track. You suddenly wonder why didn't those chaps choose to put it at the end of the album rather than at the beginning, but eventually, as you reach the very end, you will figure it out.
Yes, because, after taking a big breath to prepare yourself for the next track, you will notice that from now on time will fly and the album will soon be over.
Not that the following songs create a sort of harmony or equilibrium altogether, because at first listen they seem just a bit not in tune with the title-track, even if they are faithfully developing the concept introduced by it. They are not as majestic as Hotel California
of course, but they are all great nonetheless: New Kid in Town
is enjoyable and catchy, Life in the Fast Lane
instead is more rocky and then from Wasted Time
you start to recognise that it is really an Eagles’ album, and if you like this band you shall not be disappointed.
It’s not just an Eagles album though, it’s the Eagles at its best. After the great pair Pretty Maids All In A Row
and Try And Love Again
, one a brilliant reflection about life but also rather not typical for the Eagles’ sound and the other a very pleasant travel through love and emotions, it comes the very closing track, an absolute masterpiece: The Last Resort
, probably the best way to end an exquisite album like this.
"You can leave it all behind and sail to Lahaina
Just like the missionaries did so many years ago.
They even brought a neon sign 'Jesus is Coming',
Brought the white man's burden down, brought the white man's reign.
Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine?
Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here.
We satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny and in the name of God."
The music that accompanies these beautiful lyrics is superlative: the song starts as a slow and shy ballad to grow immensely powerful as the synthesizers, reproducing the sound of string instruments, take over the scene.
This last track is of course a critique of the American Dream
and the conquer of the Wild West
, entailing the so-called White Man’s Burden
, but makes also reference to all the beautiful places the human being is only able to spoil and destroy, as Don Henley stated in an interview.
To summarise it all briefly, this is a fundamental rock classic that cannot miss in your music collection: a splendidly-made concept album that shows you the dark side of the occidental world in its prodigality and contradictions.
Pretty Maids all in a Row
The Last Resort