The Best Of (The Millennium Collection)
I always held the impression that Glenn Frey supplied the Eagles’ tunefulness and the bulk of their limited country authenticity, but it turns out that his solo career is 1980s’ corporate mush. Frey liberally throws in drum machines, saxophones, female backing vocals, and percussionists to perfectly meet the specifications for 1980s’ soft-rock. The live ‘The One You Love’ features three guitarists, two keyboardists, two percussionists and a horn section, while ‘Love in the 21st Century’ blatantly steals the riff from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Fortunate Son’. The only time that Frey ventures near country rock, on ‘Part Of Me, Part Of You’, is tolerable, even though that song spoiled the end of Thelma and Louise.
The music’s bad, but so are the lyrics; brain-dead efforts like ‘True Love’ and ‘The One You Love’, are respectable next to ‘Sexy Girl’ and ‘The Allnighter’. If lyrics like “I know you’re just a woman, I’m just a man/Let’s be true to each other, do the best we can” are below the intellectual level of a boy band, “She needs a love from a real exciter/she needs the allnighter” are off the scale. The Best Of is saved from total worthlessness with some nice vocals (‘The One You Love’), and the occasional passable song (the relatively compelling ‘You Belong to the City’ from Miami Vice, or ‘Part Of Me, Part Of You’). But The Best Of is a compelling case for Don Henley possessing most of the intelligence behind the Eagles. In his solo spotlight Frey merely displays occasional melodic flair.
Apparently this compilation is actually successful at collecting the best material from Frey’s solo albums, so I wouldn’t be touching them with a barge-pole.