The Eagles’ self-titled debut album from 1972 is the blueprint for how a mainstream pop album should be made today. The legendary band took the industry by storm when releasing this project, changing the way people looked at rock n’roll and country music in the seventies. Their easy-going style has resonated with fans for forty plus years, and this specific album has lived on even after the death of band co-founder Glenn Frey back in January of 2016 You don’t listen to an Eagles album when you’re depressed; You listen to one of their projects when you’re driving down the highway on a mid-July afternoon on the way to the beach.
Their first single on their debut album, “Take it Easy” needs no description as anyone who doesn’t live under a rock should know that song ( now that I think about it, even if you do live under a rock). One thing to note about this album is, the overall balance of tone that is present. Not only that, but the overall balance of three different writers, provided for three different ways that the band could show its strengths. “Witchy Women” is as haunting as it is hilarious, and it’s about as explicit as a love song got during that time period. Personally, I can’t believe that their third track on this project, “Chug All Night” wasn’t as popular at the time as some of their other singles. This is like the epitome of a summer anthem in the 70s, and since the album came out in June of 1972, it was the perfect timing for it.
While “Most of Us are Sad” seems to be more mellow at first, the single is more about social awareness and optimism if anything. The band says that “most of us are sad it’s true/still we must go on/love was here today/oh the sun was bright.” While Frey questions the upcoming generation and who will save them (my dad included), he still has a positive tone in his voice. The next song, “Nightingale” is one of the more country sounding on this entire project, and the catchy guitar riff meshes nicely with the summery lyrics. Frey actually sounds like Frankie Valli a little bit too, who I’m a huge fan of.
The band shows that it can be just as self-aware as enjoyable on “Train Leaves Here This Morning.” With more folk-style production, listeners get a more personal feeling from the band members, and also were treated to a more serious tone. Even at their most vulnerable, the Eagles were still able to make it an interesting listen. The guitar riff on the next song, “Take the Devil,” is perfect; Not only because its haunting, but its also got a more ferocious sound to it. The track and lyrics themselves are more religious, and the band definitely wanted to express that. They continually ask for God to take the devil out of their lives, which conceptually, was different from many of their other tracks on this LP.
The only gripe I would give this band with regards to the album is the song “Earlybird.” For me tonally this single didn’t bode well with the overall tone of the album. The song sounds like something that doesn’t belong on any project. But even at one of their lower points, the Eagles still showed signs of progressiveness as the chirping noises were an interesting touch to this track. And they still picked back up tremendously on the next song, “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” This was basically the mellower version of “Take it Easy,” but nonetheless it sounds like something you’d listen to when sitting around the fire with your friends and family and drinking a Bud Light. Now that I think about it, that’s a good overall consensus for this album (I’m kidding, there’s more to this than just that).
If the Eagles started with a bang, they sure as hell ended with one too on “Tryin’.” Over a crazy guitar solo, the lead vocalists tell the world to keep trying in life until you eventually succeed. All it takes is hard work. But seriously, how does this track not get as much love either. Not only is it catchy, but the instrumentals are phenomenal. My theory is the three major singles from this album overshadowed the rest of the project so much, that people may have forgot how great all the other songs were. Either way, the Eagles’ debut album was a foreshadowing of what would eventually come to be the definition of easy-listening alternative rock at the time.