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The End of the Innocence [DTS STEREO]

Don Henley
Audio CD (June 27, 2000)
Other Editions: Audio Cassette, Audio CD
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Track Listings
1. End of the Innocence
2. How Bad Do You Want It?
3. I Will Not Go Quietly
4. Last Worthless Evening
5. New York Minute
6. Shangri-La
7. Little in God
8. Gimme What You Got
9. If Dirt Were Dollars
10. Heart of the Matter

Editorial Reviews

What the Critics Say:
Any list of the great voices of the last 20 years should find room for Don Henley. Like Rod Stewart, he has a timbre and a quality of phrasing rarely found among white performers. Don Henley sings like it's his profession. Unlike Rod Stewart, Don Henley has put that voice to use on just three LPs since The Eagles disbanded in 1980 and has consequently watched his star rise slowly but steadily to the point where this belated follow-up to Building The Perfect Beast is something of an event.

Although The Eagles were capable of more pointed music than they were given credit for, Don Henley's political radicalism has been the main feature informing his muse as a solo. Previous songs have protested illiteracy and poverty on America's farms and End Of The Innocence looses off a few rounds in the direction of Reagan, Trump, God's area managers, the press and the gimme society. What marks Don Henley out from the legions of beat musicians who daily court controversy by announcing that they are again Evil is the absence of facile posturing on the surface of his songs.

In fact this greets the ear with a slightly more brittle version of the smooth textures that made his name. The title track is co-written with Bruce Hornsby and floats on his distinctive piano chord (other collaborators include co-producer and MD Danny Kortchmar, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and the obligatory complement of Heartbreakers, so it's clear that the West Coast envelope isn't being pushed too far in terms of sound). Only the appearance of Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose as harmony vocal on the rambunctious I Will Not Go Quietly, with its pummelling Led Zeppelin drum track, hints at the extent to which Don Henley demands comparison with the youngest and most vigorous performers of the Los Angeles Renaissance.

Unlike his previous LP there's a suggestion that this material would form the basis of a fairly compelling live act. Both If Dirt Were Dollars and Little Tin God have the kind of itchy insistence that lend themselves to air punching and in-car lip synching. Of the rock only How Bad Do You Want It pitches the emotional temperature too high and fails to convince.

If American radio passes on the angrier material it will undoubtedly fix on the two dream-like ballads that punctuate each side. The Heart Of The Matter and The Last Worthless Evening are worthy vehicles for Don Henley's inimitable melancholy, building imperceptibly through gear changes that induce sadness and euphoria in equal measures. Like those much-maligned masterpieces Hotel California and One Of Those Nights they have a dark beauty all of their own. On this kind of evidence Don Henley could clearly get away with singing the telephone book. Thankfully he's set his sights somewhat higher. --David Hepworth.This text refers to the audio cd edition of this title

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