I Can't Stand Still (1982)


 
1. I Can't Stand Still 2. You Better Hand Up 3. Long Way Home 4. Nobody's Business 5. Talking to the Moon 6. Dirty Laundry 7. Johnny Can't Read 8. Them and Us 9. La Eile 10.Lilah 11.The Unclouded Day

 

After the tumultuous ride that the Eagles endured during the 1970's, there had been many many highs, but many lows as well. The band basically imploded in a haze of infighting, drug and alcohol use, and a hard burnout of recording, touring, recording, touring, etc. When they called it quits in the early 1980's, the band members were only in their early thirties - so the aspect of "retirement" was a pretty scary thought. None of the members packed it in - all would continue in music in some fashion, most with the obligatory solo career. No one could have imagined the career that Don Henley would have in the decade that followed.

It didn't start off with quite a bang that would follow in the years to come with later albums. For a start, no one really made a connection between this guy and where he came from. The Eagles were kind of a faceless band. His first solo album is typical of a first solo album by an established artist. He knows all the tricks and trades, and has all the connections in the industry to pull some reputable names together to help him in his endeavor. That's not to say he had mastered this art, he simply had a good command of it.

Sadly, the album leads off with its title track which is easily the worst thing here. Whoever decided to release this song as a single is beyond me. It's forced, juvenile, and it wouldn't surprise me if anyone would have given up on the album as a whole after the first song. To be blunt, it stinks.

Fortunately things pick up quite nicely after that. Several songs such as You Better Hang Up, Nobody's Business and Long Way Home demonstrate the variety of music that he could put out - and would on later albums. Some are upbeat and catchy, some are slow and somber and some are middle of the road classic adult contemporary. What's a bit obvious, though, is that even though all of these songs resonate quite well, it's easy to see that something is missing from many of these songs that keep them from being good to becoming great. What's missing is something I can't quite put my finger on it, but he would fix that on his next couple of albums.

Where he does get everything right is the song that everyone knows, Dirty Laundry. This is a long standing classic from his catalog that still sounds quite fresh, with its pulsating organ rhythm that catches hold quite quickly. It's pretty apparent that he wasn't trying to sound like his former band. This is the highlight of the album, and nothing else comes close, although Johnny Can't Read does sound a bit infectious and as become, sadly, a bit overlooked.

The rest of the album is hit and miss. Them and Us is kind of preachy and silly, and his version of Paddy Maloney's Lilah is a bit pleasant - but does wear thin. Kudos for his attempt to write a gospel song in The Unclouded Day, it works better than most.

The album really isn't anything too exemplorary, but it's a fairly good start to what would be a brilliant solo career.

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