Love it or hate it, the Eagles’ catalog of hits endures as much for its worldview as for its ’70s-L.A.-country-rock catchiness, and Eagles drummer Don Henley’s solo career suggests that this worldview was largely his. Moving from hedonist (”Take It to the Limit”) to guilty hedonist (”Life in the Fast Lane”) to ex-hedonist (”The End of the Innocence”), Henley is now a proud anti-hedonist, a stance he announces on Inside Job. In the repetitive anthem ”Everything Is Different Now,” his contentment as a husband and father spills over into musical complacency, despite the best efforts of producer Stan Lynch and Lynch’s buddies from the Heartbreakers, guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench.
When the songs on Job aren’t about Henley’s happiness, they’re about his unhappiness with corporate America. The title track and ”Workin’ It” both find Henley cheesed off at whippersnapper greed and ”exploitation dot-com” — in other words, he’s made his millions, but woe betide the ”agent, lawyer, lapdog, voyeur” who tries to do the same now. The music accompanying these tirades is harsh and tinny; the mellow, fulsome homebody tunes are pretty at first, but tiresomely thin upon repeated listenings.
Henley recently taped a Storytellers episode for VH1 — sponsor of his upcoming tour, for which you can buy tickets on the channel’s exploitation-dot-com website — that peaked with a rap version of ”Fast Lane” drenched in a chilling contempt for rap. Earlier in the show, the star had volunteered that Inside Job‘s ”Taking You Home” was inspired by the birth of one of his children, but that doesn’t keep the song from being all about Don; it’s got more first-person-singulars than a David Foster Wallace essay. Of all the post-Eagles, Henley has garnered the most credibility, but the gist of Job can be found in a superior piece of music the least reputable Eagle, Joe Walsh, cut in 1978: ”Life’s Been Good.” C