The opener "No more walks in the wood" sets the standard when EAGLES release their first full-length album in 28 years. It´s easy to understand why these guys have been so popular, since the singing is far better than anything you could ask for. And singing it is - this first track is almost an á capella song, except for an acoustic guitar that plings a bit in the background. The harmony vocals are so timed, so exact and so perfect that it´s almost unbelievable. EAGLES is one of few bands in the world who can combine rock, country, westcoast and r´n´b into a heavenly potion.
OK, just a short rewind here. It would be unfair if I didn´t introduce the EAGLES guys before I go on with the review. Today there are four guys left from the old line-ups: Glenn Frey (g, k, b, v), Don Henley (dr, perc, g, v), Joe Walsh (g, k, v) and Timothy B Shmit (b, v). Don Henley and Glen Frey were in the very first line-up of EAGLES, accompanied by Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. In 1974 Don Felder was added to the band, and at this point EAGLES also started to find the music style that they are still doing successfully today. However, album-wise there´s been a long wait between the "The Long Run" album in 1979 up ´til today´s long awaited "Long Road Out Of Eden".
Was it worth the wait? Well, I could write several pages about it, but in short: heck yeah! I placed this CD on the Top 10 of 2007, so you can imagine the rest. Don Henley & the other guys are great musicians, lovely songwriters so just buy this double-CD if you like wonderful melodies. Too many ballads? Well, not to me. I understand that some people will say there are way too many sleeping pills, but hey - as a counterpart to all the rough stuff in the music world, I´d say this is a perfect harmonizer.
A little about each song: "No more walks in the wood" (see above)
"How long" One of the more country-tinged rockers on this album. I always favour the westcoast sound, but I must admit EAGLES do this type of country/rock better than anyone.
"Busy being fabulous" Here´s a half tempo tune, typical for EAGLES. Kind of BRUCE HORNSBY & THE RANGE style, if you need a comparison. Not that HORNSBY wasn´t influenced by EAGLES to begin with... A wonderful song, all the same. The guitar sound quite in the Mark Knopfler vein, and oh those lovely harmony vocals!
"What do I do with my heart" EAGLES answer to BERLIN "Take my breath away"? Only a bit more westcoast/contry spiced of course. The arrangement with nice maj7 chords (and so on) gives westcoast lovers a fave track. Yummy!
"Guilty of the crime" Another country rocker, which is actually rather boring. Simple and pretty uneventful. It´s just too much rock´n´roll, let alone in a flawless performance.
"I don´t want to hear any more" Jeez, the semi-ballads are without a doubt the strongest side of EAGLES. This tune proves it, and it´s easily one of the best songs on this double-album. Late DOOBIE BROTHERS wouldn´t be an unfair comparison. It even reminds me of the excellent "Garage demos" (the soft one) by VENICE.
"Waiting in the weeds" Another softie, a full-blooded ballad with an almost sneaking, careful production. I mean, the instruments are like playing in a "pssst, don´t wake up the baby" kind of way. In a rather simple arrangement, the vocals lift it up (especially Henley´s contributions in the end).
"No more cloudy days" A major key dominated tune, at least in the verse. This one´s also a cool, mild song, with some top class backing vocals with maj7´s like an extra layer of cheese on a sandwich. This song could´ve been more variated, but it´s still really good.
"Fast company" Here´s a fresh song, for being EAGLES. A 2-beat structure song, with groove and r´n´b in a BILL CHAMPLIN or SONS OF CHAMPLIN uniform. It´s a goodie, although using only one theme that goes over and over. Why? This could have been a killer with one or two extra parts.
"Do something" Ballad time again, with a very acoustic background. It´s more of a country ballad, thanks to some steel guitar and country styled rhythm guitar. I am sure all fans of the country tinged EAGLES side will love this, since it is a very nice song with its fragile verse production and the more full-grown chorus part.
"You are not alone" Ending disc one, this one is a pretty anonymous semi-ballad.
"Long road out of Eden" Holy macaronies. A masterpiece has been born, and it´s the majestic title track of this CD. In its more than 10 minutes´ length, this song has got everything. An oriental intro sneak starts the song, followed by a Rhodes sounding electric piano that warms up before the verse begins. The EAGLES are better than ever in this song. It has got balladry, pop, rock and westcoast, tumbling with each other either together on separately. Solos are played with such feeling that would make even Gary Moore happy!
"I dreamed there was no war" This one´s just a very short instrumental track, with a soulful and soft electric guitar melody leading the way.
"Somebody" Finally another song in up-tempo. I know I prefer EAGLES´ ballads, but I admit it´s hard to tell them apart after a while. This song on the other hand will be really nice for fans of for example CHRIS REA or DIRE STRAITS. Lovely melodic rock/r´n´b! Need I mention the harmony vocals are top notch?
"Frail grasp on the big picture" Here´s a song a bit like "Fast company" but a lot better! The song structure is more "normal" here, with a distinctive verse, bridge and chorus. The guitar solo is a killer and the very soft organ/vocal part after 3 minutes is a goosebump creator. Another one of my top favourites of the CD.
"Last good time in town" Westcoast/groove in mid-tempo that makes me think of BOZ SCAGGS! (It´s really been a while since I mentioned Mr. Scaggs as a comparison...). This one´s also something for those of you who enjoy STEELY DAN, MONKEY HOUSE or KEVIN McCOURT.
"I love to watch a woman dance" A campfire softie, with accordion and all. Not my favourite, mainly because of the mentioned accordion. ´Cause the song it beautiful.
"Business as usual" One of few songs with more crispy guitars and a drum groove with attitude. Rather a mellow oriented song with a melancholic sound, but it´s a really nice one.
"Center of the universe" If I´d pick the top six songs on this CD, this song would be on it. We´re talking a very soft tune again, and a minor key dominated one. But they´re so good at adding their souls in the melodies - especially in semi-ballads. The acoustic guitar solo is worth credit here.
"It´s your world now" Light Mexican flavoured softie (you know, kind of that "That´s Amore" song that... Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra or whoever, was singing). A nice and unexpected ending of a great album.