Twenty-eight years between studio albums is a long time. Six years to actually record an album is an equally long time. Nevertheless The Eagles finally released Long Road Out Of Eden October 30, 2007. Was it worth the time and effort? Their fan base obviously thought so as it sold over seven million copies and continued the group’s string of number one albums in The United States. It would also win two Grammy Awards.
I remember watching a 60 Minutes segment devoted to The Eagles shortly after the album’s release. The dynamic between Glenn Frey and Don Henley was terrible. Henley appeared detached and irritable plus constantly stated that this would be the last Eagles album. The tensions within the group continued but the money was reason enough for some sort of unity.
Prior to the release there had been an ongoing argument between Frey and Henley whether to release a single or double album. I think they were both right in a way. Henley’s single album would have been stronger, but if this was truly the last Eagles album then Frey’s desire to include as much material as possible made sense. Frey won and it was released as a two disc, twenty song set.
Long Road Out Of Eden is a long and sprawling affair. At first listen, I quickly realized how accustomed I had become to hearing their greatest hits for the past 28 years. As such, the new songs had a difficult time measuring up.
The album starts very strong. “No More Walks In The Woods” is almost a cappella and reminiscent of “Seven Bridges Road.” It quickly establishes the modern day Eagles could still harmonize. “How Long” is probably the best known song and closest to their classic work. The harmonies are tight and the changes in tone exquisite. “Busy Being Fabulous” proved that Frey and Henley could still write a good song together as the melody is excellent. “What Do I Do With My Heart” features a fine Glenn Frey vocal laid against more pure harmonies.
The second disc is highlighted by the ten minute title track. There is some classy guitar work but the lyrics are a little too preachy for my taste.
There is a lot of good and some average as well among the twenty songs. It is certainly not their best release. Still it is admirable that they could produce a very credible album 28 years after their last effort. Since it is doubtful there will ever be another Eagles release this one will have to do.