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I can't really make up my mind about bands getting back together to record after long periods of... well not recording. It always seems like such an exciting idea, especially when it's huge bands that are rock legends and the mere possibility of "new" music from them makes some people giddy and weak in the knees. When these things actually pan out though, there are only a few cases where it seems that the bands really capture something worth sharing, and that leads me to a wonder whether I'm glad those bands reunited or if I wished they had left it alone.
There have been lots of bands reuniting recently, the Smashing Pumpkins, Van Halen, the Police, etc... but I started thinking about this recently because of the Eagles. There is new material out from this legendary bands of folk/country flavored rock. It's a track called "How Long" from what will be the band's first studio album in 28 years.
I caught the video on YouTube and thought I would share it.
First, it's great to see the band back together making music. I especially like seeing Joe Walsh twanging away on guitar because he's a great guitarist and the subtle lead breaks he adds are great accents. Also, there is a good southern/country feel to it, but it doesn't feel quite as "authentic" as previous tracks from the band. I guess I can't exactly say I was floored by the track. Don't get me wrong, it definitely sounds like the Eagles... in fact in some ways it sounds about as much like the Eagles as they could without actually playing "Take it Easy"... (except not as earthy and authentic as that song). Still, it doesn't necessarily sound like they're doing anything beyond what they've already done and the songwriting falls a little flat. It's a decent song, catchy, fun and should fit well within their live shows, but in "Hotel California" creative territory it ain't. Maybe that's not a fair comparison to make though as they're very different musical ideas. In some ways, (to my ears) it almost sounds like a parody of the Eagles, like they're trying a little too hard to sound like they have on other hit tracks... just a little though.
And so we come back to my debate about band's reuniting...
As I said, I'm thrilled to see the Eagles making music again as they are and were always a great band with a unique style that was subtle, catchy and earthy. That said, I also would rather them not make music that they aren't into wholeheartedly, and listening to this track, that is the feeling I get, like the band is enjoying themselves, but not really into it. It makes me wonder if I would have actually preferred that they didn't reunite... and, it makes me a little happy that some of my favorite bands never gave it a second go round, because getting mediocre music after all the anticipation is a little bit of a let down.
I don't wonder about these things often, but these are the thoughts that cross my mind none the less.
This is of course only my opinion on this track and so I urge you to take a look at the video for yourself, maybe even go back and listen to some of the other Eagles albums, and see what you think. I'm sure some fans will feel the same way I felt at first, thrilled with the idea of new music from this band, maybe even happy that it isn't a real deviation in their sound, and if that's enough for you, then great... As a fan of this band though, I'm just not feeling it with this song.
Perhaps this new Eagles album will be have some hidden songwriting gem? Personally, I hope so...