Joe Walsh – [Album]

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Analog Man is like getting a letter from an old high school pal. He's the guy that you used to party hard with and, deep down, he's still the same clown he's always been – but he has also settled down now, and so has more than one facet to his personality that he can exercise when the time is right. The familiarity is a great comfort, even as his new life sounds like, well, like kind of a bore. Yes, Joe Walsh wants to catch us up on what's been happening in the last thirty to thirty-five years, and it is pretty – almost too pretty.

This is definitely the same Joe Walsh. The same slide guitar, the same semi-funkiness, the same goofy, self-depreciating humor. And of course, the same distinctive voice (there's no mistaking it).

Yes, many things are the same about Analog Man but, at the same time, things have changed. Right off the bat, on the title track, he tells us he doesn't like today's world. Yes, he still likes LPs. But other than that, things are going pretty well. "Lucky That Way" makes this clear; it updates "Life's Been Good" for a sober Joe. Speaking of "sober," "One Day At a Time" takes far more than its title from AA philosophy. And "Family" lets us know just how happy he is to have one.

There are other direct references to his past. "Funk 50" takes the riff from his first hit ("Funk 49" if you're not familiar) and turns it from a tale of infidelity ("Sleep all day/ out all night/ I know where you're going…") into one of rest and redemption ("I'm gonna take you with me/ find some place to hide…"). "Wrecking Ball" sounds like an Eagles outtake, and may be a dig at one or more of his former bandmates, who may not have adopted his new lifestyle.

The problem is, it's all just a little too earnest. Joe, it's nice that things have worked out well for you, and we are happy for your happiness. But, to be honest, you're not very interesting anymore. It's a relief that your letter (ie: this album) is so short, but maybe there's not a whole lot more to say. You know what Tolstoy said about happy families, after all.

It's only on the last cut, the instrumental "India,” that things actually get interesting. It's just a loose guitar jam, but it's fresh and different and is the perfect bait to give listeners a hint on what they could hope for in Walsh's new recordings from here on out. Maybe Joe needs to take some advice from Frank Zappa: "Shut up and play yer guitar!"



Analog Man
is out now. Buy if here on Amazon .

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