The Eagles – Long Road Out of Eden
CD Review by Paul "Zombie" Kloiber

 

 

 
November 2007
 
 

Label: Eagles Recording
Release Date:
October 30, 2007

Yes it's finally here! The first all-new studio album in 28 years from the rulers of 70's and 80's AOR radio. The Eagles have never left the music scene; back in 1994 they said "for the record we never broke up, we just took a 14 year vacation" on their "Hell Freezes Over" CD. But even that wonderful disc was primarily their live reunion tour sprinkled with a couple of new studio tracks. This disc separates itself from that effort with 20 all-new original studio recordings from Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey and Timothy B. Schmidt. So now for the big question . . . was it worth the 28 year wait? In my humble opinion, YES! A two-CD set of 20 songs from any great rock band is always worth the wait, but this one was done right. The songs are a wide mix of pure Eagles-style music. From ballads to rockers and all things in between, it really has no down points. Each of the songs has its own merits and can stand up for itself. The production is near flawless and shows how much effort was put into creating these truly great songs. The musicianship is, as always, tremendous. Subtle guitars, purely smooth harmonies and crisp vocals show even new listeners why the Eagles are one of the most prolific bands of the last 30 years.

DISC ONE

The music on the first several tracks brings to mind their classic, southern-tinged California Eagles-style sound. Opening with the harmony laden "No More Walks In The Woods," you can hear Henley's influence and his love of Walden Woods (one of his favorite causes). The lyrics are profound enough to matter without being pretentious and the vocals are as harmonious as they were back in the 70's and 80's. It will never make the Top 40 but is sure to be a hit with fans old and new. "How Long" is a guitar twanging little number that could have easily come off of albums like "Desperado" or "On The Border." It is pure Eagles and shows off the style that set them apart from every other band. It's a rockin' little number that fits perfectly as the second number on the disc. I am sure it will get radio play at some point in time, although these days it will most likely find its place on country radio. Song number three is a Henley/Frey collaboration titled "Busy Being Fabulous" and continues in that country-tinged vein with harmonies and a perfect beat that's quite danceable. It's another song that has potential for some radio play, but like "How Long," it will most likely come from county radio. "What Do I Do With My Heart" is a classic Eagles ballad in the genre of "Love Will Keep Us Alive." Soft and tender, it is sure to become a staple of their live set when they tour. The vocals are great and the music is easy going and flows well. The lyrics are meaningful without being sappy - even my wife likes this song. Number four is the classic-style rocker "Guilty of the Crime" that blends rockin' piano with Walsh's perfectly suited guitar licks. It'll definitely get your feet tapping and your body movin' as you sing along.

Next up are two more ballads, the first with Timothy B. Schmidt on lead vocals that almost sounds like a female singer at the beginning due to his high vocal range. "I Don't Want To Hear Any More" is a Paul Carrack composition that finds a nice place on this CD – not by any means the best song, but nor the worst. "Waiting in the Weeds," a Henley tune is more of a somber tune in the realm of "A Month of Sundays" from his "Building the Perfect Beast" album. While these two songs definitely slow down the flow of the CD, they don't do it in a way that makes you want to turn it off. For those of you that are partial to the softer side of the Eagles these two will be very likable. Next up is the more even-keeled "No More Cloudy Days," a mid-range number that sits nicely between slow ballads and rockers. It contains some nice harmonies and a smooth sound that compliments the previous two slow songs nicely. The saxophone is a great touch and really helps this song stand on its own. "Fast Company" has a more modern feel due to its poppy drum beat and vocal give and take. It's a catchy song and the bass line and drum beat will definitely grab your attention. The only downside to this song is that the vocal key is just a bit too high and seems a little out of place. Finally we come to the last two songs on Disc One and they are both slow. I have a feeling that the song "Do Something" will relate to many people. While not a "love song" by any means it still evokes emotions we have all felt and leads well into the final cut of the disc, "You Are Not Alone." Again a slow song but not a love song – something you might expect from Don Henley and not Glenn Frey (who wrote it). It's a smooth number that closes out the CD nicely.


DISC TWO

The first track on Disc Two, "Long Road Out Of Eden," comes as a bit of a surprise. It runs over ten minutes in length and seems out of place in the ebb and flow of the double-disc set. This song covers the entire range however. Starting off slowly with a heavy Henley influence, it builds in both vocal and musical intensity as it progresses. The powerful guitars and long musical interlude definitely set this song up as unique among the vast Eagles repertoire. For those of you that hear it and are unsure, I suggest you listen to it a few times. It definitely grows on you. An immediate departure from the ten-minute monster preceding it, the instrumental "I Dreamed There Was No War" is actually a nice diversion before leading into the harder "Somebody." A rocker by all means, this track has a solid back beat and bass line that rocks steady and makes this a keeper on the iPod. With your head still bouncing from this song, we move right into another upbeat number. "Frail Grasp On The Big Picture" has an edge to it that makes you move in your seat. It's not what you'd expect from a song with this name but hey, it's the Eagles and they are full of surprises.

With an almost calypso style sound to it, the bouncy "Last Good Time In Town" continues the upbeat groove of this CD. Written by Joe Walsh, it reaches out with a flare and funk all its own and should have people's heads bopping in their cars as they cruise on down the highway. At a little over seven minutes long, it never grows old or tired like some other longer songs, and the subtle touch of horns and other embellishments make this one of the best songs on the set. Shifting gears we get to the ballad "I Love To Watch A Woman Dance," a song I am sure was written for the composers' significant other. Soft and lilting with a touch of mandolin, it is one of the better ballads without question. Next is a departure from the normal Eagles rocker. "Business As Usual," is a harder-edged song with a more modern feel to it that shows the true diversity of this CD and its writers and players. Going down a notch, the softer near-ballad "Center of The Universe" features Henley's expressive vocals on a song that walks the line between a love song and a goodbye song. Lastly we close out this much-anticipated musical journey with the Mexi-Cali flavored "It's Your World Now". A soft and mellow tune with a slightly Latin feel, it brings to a close one of the best "come-back" CDs in a very long time.

Whether you're an Eagles fan from way back or someone just discovering this phenomenal music machine, the "Long Road Out Of Eden" is an eclectic mix of pure Eagles. From ballads to rockers and with a twist of lime here and there, they cover the full range of emotions, flavors and styles that can only come from this legendary band. Now honestly, is this the best Eagles album ever? Nope. But it is a damn good one, showing off their talents and making you wish for days gone by. Without hesitation this album easily gets a SOLID A. Not just because it's the Eagles, not just because I'm a fan and not just because it's been so long, but because it's been worth the wait.


Track listing
Disc 1
1. No More Walks In The Wood
2. How Long
3. Busy Being Fabulous
4. What Do I Do With My Heart
5. Guilty Of The Crime
6. I Don't Want To Hear Any More
7. Waiting In The Weeds
8. No More Cloudy Days
9. Fast Company
10. Do Something
11. You Are Not Alone
Disc 2
1. Long Road Out Of Eden
2. I Dreamed There Was No War
3. Somebody
4. Frail Grasp On The Big Picture
5. Last Good Time In Town
6. I Love To Watch A Woman Dance
7. Business As Usual
8. Center Of The Universe
9. It's Your World Now


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