This week, Fran and I have been listening to the Eagles’ 1976 album Hotel California.
Title track, number one single, the only song I’d heard of and the first song on the record, where better to start than with Hotel California. The song has an enjoyable reggae feel about it, a simple verse-chorus structure, finishing with a long guitar solo. The lyrics tell in an inviting, story-like way of a traveller checking into a hotel, presumably in California, and allude to themes of luxury, extravagance and feeling trapped.
Sadly, the remainder of the album isn’t as strong. New Kid In Town is a dull country song and Life In The Fast Lane, despite hinting at something edgier, feels too sensible. The delicate Wasted Time is an improvement, in fact a moving piece of music if you’re in the right mood, although the final line is a little cheesy (“maybe someday we will find, that it wasn’t really wasted time”).
We float gently into side two of the record with a stringed reprise of Wasted Time, before being shot out of the water with the crushing introduction to Victim of Love. The song quickly becomes annoying, with yet another chorus repeated to fade. The record reaches a low point with Pretty Maids All In A Row, whose drummer seems to only have one arm and, like the singer, no imagination. Try And Love Again is a pleasant pop rock song before The Last Resort ends the record with seven verses about American history and a final two verses about God.
I must admit that the album has grown on me a little over the week. I can even see why it has been so critically acclaimed. However, it still fails to excite. The title track apart, the songs seem too sterile, lacking in energy and with lyrics that seem to be thrown together because some words rhyme.