I’m quite surprised it took so long for something from Eagles to crop up on the niallon channel if I’m being honest. Before starting to work on this cover, which led to me listening to their back catalogue quite a bit, I’d kind’ve forgot how much I like their music to be honest. A lot of that has to do with recent history. They were one of the first bands I ever saw live back in 2001, but I saw them a second time in 2009 and there was just no comparison in the gigs. Granted I think a lot of that had to do with 2001 being not long after their unlikely reunion, whereas 2009 saw them with a new album to tour but it got me to thinking – do the mediocre later years of an artist really take entirely from their past glories?
I have this feeling with lots of artists, not just Eagles (yes it’s Eagles, not The Eagles. I know it’s weird but that’s how they want it apparently). U2 are another classic example of a band who are, not past their prime per say, but definitely a shadow of their former selves. At least in my book anyway. Similarly, I saw them live in 2005 at the height of their How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb success, then again in 2009 on the U2 360 tour and there was just no comparison. One was a weekend of music heaven for a die hard fan as I was at the time (2005), the other was like watching my favourite pub burn down (2009).
I suppose with Eagles it’s a little different because like so many classic artists I’m a fan of, I got into them via Greatest Hits albums. So my fandom was never based album to album, hearing them change and flow as they evolved and altered their sound. What I did know is that I wasn’t really a fan of Long Road Out Of Eden, the album they were touring in 2009, and that was solely based on the tracks from it I heard at the gig. I let that gig influence my opinion of the band for a long time after though, I kind’ve decided I was done with them.
I’m in no doubt that’s a rather foolish approach to take. Sure, I won’t be in a hurry to see them live again, but why would I stop listening to what I already knew and enjoyed listening to? Short answer, I shouldn’t have. Besides doing a deep dive into the fact that as a person I tend to make my mind up and stick to my ways far too quickly, I do think this is a very interesting argument when it comes to music. Many actors, directors, authors and more can make a dud film, write a dud novel etc and yet have a relatively decent chance of recovering with their next offering. With music, it seems to be a bit different.
For me the difference is the lack of versatility. If a serious actor decides they want to do comedy, they can fire away. Same if a horror author wants to write a children’s book, away you go. If a heavy metal band suddenly decided they want to release a hip hop album though, chances are that will generate utter rage amongst their fans. Eagles didn’t quite do anything like this, rather in my head what they did was had the audacity to release a new album when I was perfectly happy with their back catalogue, but the same type of argument stands – they did something different and I wasn’t fond of it.
I should clarify if it wasn’t obvious already, I’m only here to ask questions, not provide answers. I don’t know why this trait seems to be unique to music and I’m sure some of you disagree with me, I hope you do or else life would be extremely boring, but it is an interesting one to ponder. How do you feel about an artist who has slipped somewhat in their recent output? Have they slipped, or is it just that they’ve evolved and you haven’t? For me, I think that’s the rub. I’ll make no suggestions that I’m anything but a mainstreamer for the most part, besides a few artists like The Gaslight Anthem and Tom Waits I’m not an album person usually. What I mean by that is I tend to take a liking to the hits, and it’s only if I develop a strong connection to said hits that I go one step further and find myself deep diving into albums and back catalogues. So when a new single comes along, and it isn’t just more of the same, I tend to jump ship. I know it’s wrong, but I’m just not wired to think any differently.
Maybe I’ll throw Long Road Out Of Eden back into rotation and see how it sits. I do genuinely hope my opinion changes. But I’ll always wonder and ponder that question – is it me? Or can you actually just fall out of love with an artist? As always please enjoy and watch, like, share and subscribe!