Eagles' 'Eden' Is Far From Paradise

(By Andrew Macpherson)
By Chris Klimek
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The title "Long Road Out of Eden" suggests a grand pronouncement, but the Eagles' first studio album since 1979's "The Long Run" is really a hodgepodge. The first single, "How Long," is a J.D. Souther tune from the early '70s, and five of the 20 tracks here weren't written by any member of the famously fractious group's current lineup.

The only element uniting the songs is anachronistic production: With its strait-laced drums and effete keyboards, the album -- a Wal-Mart exclusive, though it's also available via the Eagles' Web site -- seems to have arrived just in time for the 1983 Christmas shopping season. It's the perfect gift for any listener who finds Tom Petty just too highfalutin.

Nobody expects originality from the Eagles, but infectious twang-pop they're supposed to be able to do. Alas, "Long Road" is mostly limp balladry and stale diatribe. "What Do I Do With My Heart" is a boy-band weeper on which Glenn Frey leaves no obvious couplet uncrooned. It's one of the highlights. "I Dreamed There Was No War" is an instrumental; "Frail Grasp on the Big Picture," sadly, is not. And the title track is a "Long Road" indeed -- 10 minutes (!) of Don Henley railing against "the wreckage and the cultural junk/Bloated with entitlement." Wal-Mart shoppers excluded, presumably.

You know something is rotten in Malibu when the liveliest cut, "Guilty of the Crime," appeared in a previous version on the soundtrack to "RoboCop: The Series." Non-Eagle Paul Carrack wrote the song that summarizes both the album's sonic torpor and the sentiment it inspires: "I Don't Want to Hear Any More."

DOWNLOAD THESE: "Guilty of the Crime," "Busy Being Fabulous," "I Love to Watch a Woman Dance"

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