Friday, November 03, 2006

"Witchy Woman" / The Eagles

Sometimes you don't want that song in your head. I heard this one on Sirius' Classic Vinyl station on Halloween and I have not been able to get rid of it since then. And I hate the song. I hate the Eagles.

Why? Partly because there was a period in the 1970s when they were played nonstop on American radio stations -- that'll ruin just about any song. And back then all I could think about was British musicians; all I wanted was the Kinks and Traffic and the Who and every party I went to was playing Jackson Browne, Boz Scaggs, and the Eagles. To me, this wasn't rock music; this had already descended into easy listening. It had no politics, as far as I could see (maybe a little hazy save-the-planet pap), very little instrumental virtuosity, and no wit whatsoever.

Listening the other day, I realized that this particular song -- and come to think of it, most of the Eagles' songs -- seems to be all chorus. Honestly, can you even think of how the verse on "Witchy Woman" goes? All I can hear in my brain is those harmonized "Oooooh-ooh-hoo's" over and over and over and OVER again. If it hadn't been for Crosby, Stills & Nash singing their close harmonies, I doubt the Eagles would have had ANY musical ideas at all.

And really, what is this song about? Does it matter? Does it matter what any of the Eagles' songs are about? "Peaceful Easy Feeling" is about...a peaceful easy feeling. "The Best of My Love" is about...the best of my love. "Take It To the Limit" is, taking it to the limit. And "One of These Nights" is about...well, you get the idea. The only Eagles song that even tries to say anything is "Hotel California", but that's a fake -- you think all those cryptic images will add up to something, but THEY DON'T. Play it loud with dense production values and no one will notice.

"Desperado" is the only Eagles song I don't despise -- and even "Desperado" I like better when Linda Ronstadt sings it. These guys are so bad that Linda Ronstadt's version is better. They are the only artists of whom that can be said.

Maybe I should get over it by now. This whole genre known as <shiver of disgust>"Classic Rock" is beloved by legions of baby boomers. It's a little bit country, a little bit folk, and a little bit (a very little bit) rock, so you never have to commit yourself. The singers have beautiful voices and sound extremely sincere; the echo chambers are working and the wall of sound is hair-gelled into place.

And best of all, when you play these songs half of America (or at least half of AARP's membership) can hum along to the chorus -- not because the songs are catchy but because you couldn't escape them throughout the late 1970s. That's not taste, that's psychological conditioning. Bleah.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't mind this song, but this entry was very funny.

I'm surprised you prefer Desperado over a song like Southern Cross. It's a cappella. And it's short.