Hotel California - The Eagles' Best Album To Date

March 4, 2023

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Hotel California is the best-selling studio album of the Eagles, and a classic of its kind. While I was quite a fan of their early-Seventies rock 'n' roll, I've always found it difficult to get into their later stuff, which is surprisingly sterile and lifeless in comparison.

However, I did manage to appreciate their last studio LP One Of These Nights, which had a wide array of styles and was produced by Bill Szymczyk. It's not the best-produced Eagles record, but it's very good, a tad sterile but not completely lifeless.

I like the fact that there is a little bit of everything here: pop rockers, angry blues songs, disco shuffles, pseudo-industrial raves, Fifties' retro stylizations and ballads, all of which set their own unique mood. The album does have a couple of weaker tracks, such as the incredibly boring "James Dean" (which the band never wrote) and the rather lame rocker "Midnight Flyer" but all in all, I actually liked this album very much.

The song that stands out the most on the album, though, is "Hotel California". A hugely evocative and moving break-up ballad, the tune was conceptualized by Henley and Frey and crafted into an elaborate and lavish piece of music featuring piano, organ, strings, phased-out guitar licks, borderline-operatic vocal harmonies and Don Felder's signature coiling snake riff. And that's just for the first track!


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