First Listen: The Eagles' 'Long Road Out Of Eden'
Fans who have waited since 1979 for a new studio album from the Eagles surely won't be disappointed with "Long Road Out of Eden," which arrives Oct. 30. The two-disc set, which will be available excluFans who have waited since 1979 for a new studio album from the Eagles surely won't be disappointed with "Long Road Out of Eden," which arrives Oct. 30. The two-disc set, which will be available exclusively at Wal-Mart in North America, bears the Eagles Recording Co. imprint.
The album features a wealth of Don Henley/Glenn Frey co-writes and a broad palette of musical styles most representative of the band's "Hotel California" and "The Long Run" eras, a mix of lengthy set pieces and more Cali-rock, radio-oriented gems. The set, which opens with the gentle but foreboding harmony-fest "No More Walks in the Wood," is part social commentary, part examination of the human condition and part re-introduction of the band via new and powerful songs.
Disc one primarily serves as the latter. Debut single "How Long," a J.D. Souther original, maintains an easy-rolling "Already Gone" vibe, but gives little indication of the strength of the material to follow. "Busy Being Fabulous" is a mid-tempo twanger featuring the familiar Henley vitriol, and the percussive "What Do I Do with my Heart" boasts an earnest Frey vocal and a gorgeous, swirling bridge.
Joe Walsh is the featured vocalist on the piano-driven, chugging boogie "Guilty of the Crime," followed by Timothy B. Schmit on the sweeping, rhythmic Paul Carrack ballad "I Don't Want To Hear Anymore." Frey's "No More Cloudy Days," a melancholy but ultimately optimistic midtempo, is already familiar to concertgoers, and Frey's "You Are Not Alone" closes out the side.
But the showstoppers are "Fast Company," which has a "Those Shoes" feel and some killer horns, the call-to-action ballad "Do Something," with steel guitar and loads of harmony, and "Waiting in the Weeds," an acoustic-based ballad featuring a brilliant Henley lyric, vibrant imagery, haunting instrumentation and well-crafted vocal arrangements.
Disc two begins with the 10-plus minute epic title cut, an apocalyptic cautionary tale that blends desert imagery, spiritual overtones and wry observations on consumerism.
The Frey instrumental "I Dreamed There Was No War" (which recalls, oddly, "Battle Hymn of the Republic") is followed the spooky, paranoid rocker "Somebody." Next up is another American body-blow in "Frail Grasp on the Big Picture," an adventurous funk-rock powerhouse with biting takes on religion, journalism ("dead and gone," according to the Eagles), sex, money and politics.
Walsh's "Last Good Time in Town" is an infectious (even danceable) romp, while Frey's warm vocals drive home the pure romance of the acoustic waltz "I Love to Watch a Woman Dance. But soon it's back to biting with the pulsing rocker "Business As Usual." The vaguely Beatles-esque "Center of the Universe" offers observant perspective on enduring love, and Frey wraps the set with the bittersweet "It's Your World Now."
"I thought I'd be above it all by now, in some country garden in the shade," Henley sings on "Business As Usual." As this album demonstrates, the Eagles are clearly not ready to kick back in the shade.