Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Eagles: Hotel California [Asylum, 1976]
Speaking strictly as a nonfan, I'd grant that this is their most substantial if not their most enjoyable LP--they couldn't have written any of the songs on side one, or even the pretentious and condescending "The Last Resort," without caring about their California theme down deep. But though one strength of these lyrics is that they don't exclude the Eagles from purgatory-on-earth, Don Henley is incapable of conveying a mental state as complex as self-criticism--he'll probably sound smug croaking out his famous last words ("Where's the Coke?"). I'd also be curious to know what Mexican-Americans think of the title tune's Spanish accent. B