Thursday, June 28, 2007
No. 37: Hotel California
Band: The Eagles
Album: Hotel California
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Um.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: This is middlebrow claptrap at its pinnacle. It's a bunch of rich fucks who fancy themselves philosophers by ripping their record company. The so-subtle-it-is-really-just-vague concept about "the end of the world" (whatever that means) makes no sense whatsoever. The lyrics are referential only to crap that Don Henley cares about. Total nonsense.
Best song: None. They all stink.
Worst song: The title track is abhorrent. "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave?" Come on, now.
Is it awesome?: Nope. It stinks.
A lot of popular music in the 70s was really bad, partially because this record. They opened the door for so much bullshit inoffensive "rock and roll" that is only considered that because it was on a rock label and tries to deal with topics other than love. Really, though, what's so different from the Eagles and the Carpenters? Not a lot.
Some of that stuff has some redemptive quality. I've already touched on "Rumours", but "Sweet Baby James" isn't bad. I guess I can see the draw in "Running on Empty," though I hate it.
But, "Hotel California" is the worst. It has vague references to the Church of Satan ("They just can't kill the beast") the lovely lifting of chord progression from "Fly Me To The Moon" and the third strike of Don Henley's voice. He sounds like someone's dad drunkenly singing lullabies to his baby. That's not a compliment.
Just as handsome young men like Josh Groban, Maroon 5 and John Mayer are called "mom rock" as their appeal to middle-aged women is their draw, the Eagles are "dad rock." They're fake enough to be considered interesting by stupid people, when, in reality, they're no different than the John Mayers of the world, just less attractive and older.
Also, Don Henley is the root of all evil. He's just the worst. He halfway supports the environment, yet will go for any money-grab tour that Eagles can find, even though he hates Glenn Frey with the passion of 1,000 fires. Also, he's responsible for this trash.