Picks and Pans Review: Hell Freezes Over
For the record, we never broke up," Eagles cofounder Glenn Frey joked to the audience that gathered at a Burbank soundstage last April to hear this reunion effort. "We just took a 14-year vacation." This release, along with the band's soon-to-be-resumed world tour, proves that no matter how long the Eagles have been away, their music, produced by that fractious collaboration between Frey and Don Henley, is some of the most timeless in American pop.
It's especially nice to discover that these fortysomethings are in such fine technical form that they can nail high notes as if they were still in their 20s. Hits like "Tequila Sunrise" and "Life in the Fast Lane" are rendered almost exactly as they were originally, and "Hotel California" is spiced up with some Mexican folk flourishes on guitar. Hoping to show that they're more than a nostalgia act, the Eagles have tacked on four new studio recorded songs. With the exception of Henley's quiet vocal turn on "Learn to Be Still," however, the new tracks sound clichéd and perfunctory, offering little reason for fans to get excited about any kind of permanent reconciliation. No matter. Those old bittersweet love songs and gorgeous melodies are enough to remind us why the Eagles once soared so high. (Geffen)