Elaine H. from WESTMINSTER, MD Reviewed on 9/3/2006...
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Jason Stein | San Diego, CA United States | 05/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's face it, I'd take Don Henley over most of the trash I'm hearing on the radio these days and seeing on MTV. I've read much of the criticism surrounding this cd. Don Henley's too critical, he's too this, he's too that. Who are the people reviewing his disc? Have they forgotten that Henley has always had a myopic view on life? Even when he was with the Eagles, don't you remember the lyrics to "Life In The Fast Lane"? As for Henley's past solo works, he was just the same with "Dirty Laundry", "Driving With Your Eyes Closed", and "The End Of The Innocence" lyrically, and viewpoint-wise, as he is on his new cd. The fact that Henley sings about the record business, a place where he works, in a less than positive way, takes guts. How many people can stand up to their bosses and say they're not happy with the way things are run? On "Inside Job" I believe Henley's edge is softer. Sure, his insights are pessimistic, but they are awfully close to the truth and that's something few people like to hear. Musically, this cd is probably not as well played as his earlier work, but who said it is Henley's job to outdo a catalog that most artists would be enviable of? Also, Henley is over 50 now, and I don't expect him to make music like he used to. He's also been out of the music scene for 11 years, so if this cd seems shakey, allow some slack. As for using drum machines, I think it's good. I think Henley is getting with the times. His other albums had instrumentation that was popular at that time too, and I didn't hear any complaints about synthesizers. I happen to appreciate Henley for writing about the human condition from an insightful standpoint like Dylan, Springsteen, Waits, Mellencamp and Lennon. Today, there are so few artists that even care to sing and write about the world they live in. Everything's sex and violence (Stanley Kubrick would be proud). With "Inside Job" the trouble isn't Henley's viewpoint, it's the music. It's certainly debatable as to whether Henley has made his best possible effort here, but as it is, it's at least four stars. It's not garbage. Garbage is mostly what you hear on the radio today. Hey, Henley didn't sample someone elses music did he? He's not singing about sex and violence from an immature perspective is he? Maybe some of the reviewers should lighten up?"
Good....But Not Worth The Wait
Jef Fazekas | Newport Beach, California United States | 06/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Was this album worth an eleven year wait? No way. Does Henley come across preachy at times on this CD? Hey, it's a Don Henley release....of course he does! What did you expect! But preachiness (and, I'm sorry, there's always that air or self-righteousness in a Henley release) aside, there's an interesting, unique quality to "Inside Job". While it is Henley's least consistent work since "I Can't Stand Still", his 1982 solo debut, it does meld the cynical and the soft in a way that shouldn't work....but, for the most part, does. The three tracks that instantly jump out - sort of like the three Muses - are the back-to-back-to-back "They're Not Here, They're Not Coming", "Damn It, Rose" and "Miss Ghost".Bunched together, they have a mystical past, present and future quality; on their own, each song shines. The next batch that really hits you are Henley's "Family Man" songs: "Taking You Home", "For My Wedding", "Annabel" and "My Thanksgiving". There's a sweetness and delicacy to these songs that you just wouldn't expect from him. I guess he is "very, very happy" after all. Finally, we have "Nobody Else In The World But You", "Everything Is Different Now", "Workin' It" and "Inside Job", a group of good, upbeat songs (but, unfortunately, not an "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" or "Gimme What You Got" amoung them)that help round out the quieter moments of the previous songs. So.....while I'm enjoying "Inside Job" - it's currently in my Top 5 - I find it less than fully satisfying. It also leaves me wondering what Henley's next CD will be like; I just hope we don't have to wait eleven years to find out!"
He's back, as good as ever, even if some things have changed
Themis-Athena | from somewhere between California and Germany | 12/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I hate to tell you this, but I'm very, very happy; and I know that's not what you'd expect from me at all" ... There you have it! The opening lines of "Everything Is Different Now," Henley's love song to wife Sharon (née Summerall) sum up everything that is, indeed, "different" about this album, and unexpected from the guy we all came to love (or hate?) as Reaganomics's fiercest critic, and as one of the driving forces behind one of the supergroups of the 1970s.
There is still plenty of the Don Henley we know here, from the opening funky diatribe on egocentricism, "Nobody Else in the World But You" (featuring Stevie Wonder and flat-out addictive when performed live), to the first single release "Workin' It" (revisiting the mainstay of Henley's socio-economic criticism, corporate and personal greed), to "Goodbye to a River" (the singer/environmentalist's swan song on the preservation of nature) and "Damn It, Rose" (inspired by a friend's suicide). The album's title track is directed against Henley's own industry, whose representatives he accuses in no uncertain terms - not only here but also in congressional testimony and initiatives taken by his own Coalition for Artists' Rights - of sneaking in, through the back door, legislation which would have virtually denied a recording artist control over their own work. In fact, reportedly the album was originally supposed to be called "Otherwise" ... until Henley learned of that legislation, which caused the spontaneous change of title.
But it's been eleven years since Henley released "End of the Innocence," and even if he did not publish another album (except for "Actual Miles," his last hurray on Geffen Records; a "greatest hits plus three new tracks" compilation), he was certainly not idle. He founded the Walden Woods Project, to save as much as possible of Henry David Thoreau's treasured lands from commercial development. He agreed with his former fellow band members to bring their "14-year vacation" to an end, release an Eagles reunion album and go on what turned out to be a two-year world tour. And perhaps most significantly, he married and had kids - the song "Annabel" is dedicated to his daughter. Did all this make him more mellow? Maybe. Did it make him more mature? Definitely. The man who had realized that the "Heart of the Matter" in overcoming a failed relationship is forgiveness now found himself confronting the fact that after all those "nights of running" with "the old crowd," "you wake up one morning and half your life is gone" ... and since you always only "get the love that you allow," you first have to allow love back into your life if you want a fulfilling relationship ("Everything Is Different Now.") And he learned to say his "Thanksgiving" for a life that he "still loves," because of the expectations it holds, because of family and friends, and because of the satisfaction found in work. (And who would ever have expected Don Henley, of all people, to come up with the insight that "an angry man can only get so far until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be with the way things are?")
So yes, this album is different from Henley's prior releases; but then, no two of them have ever been entirely alike; and ballads have always been his forte, too, from 1982's sad and beautiful "Lilah" to the award-winning title track of "End of the Innocence." Musically, "Inside Job" is perhaps more diverse than any of its predecessors, featuring everything from funk ("Nobody in the World But You") to straightforward rock ("Workin' It," "Inside Job," "The Genie") to blues ("Miss Ghost" ... with Jimmie Vaughan on lead guitar!) to gospel ("Everything Is Different Now" - you just *have* to have seen him and his background choir perform this one live, particularly the ending) and of course, ballads ("Goodbye to a River," "Damn It, Rose," "Annabel"); the made-for-Hollywood "Taking You Home" even garnered him a Grammy nomination in the pop category. (Hmm. Don Henley - pop??? That DID give me pause I'll admit.) Maybe what shines more here than ever before, though, is a side of Henley's not always apparent from his prior releases, nor from his often razor-sharp language in interviews and when speaking publicly - namely, his sense of humor. A stand-out in this category is "They're Not Here, They're Not Coming," skillfully using irony and a longing for the days of Rocky the Flying Squirrel to simultaneously blast the shortcomings of the "cold, cold, cold (...) postmodern world" and the belief of, according to recent statistics, 47% of the U.S. population in the existence of visitors from outer space. And maybe the album's biggest hidden gem is "Miss Ghost," a Cajun blues tale about confronting the ghosts of your past, told from the perspective of a man returning from a night of drinking to find, to his surprise, a long-forgotten "ghost" (woman? sin? mistake?) waiting for him, but overcoming the temptation she represents and instead shooing her out of the door with a toast: "Here's to seeing through you - Miss Ghost." (Henley even nails the tone and accent to a tee here; I'd have loved to hear him perform it live ... unfortunately, he never did.)
In all its diversity, the album nevertheless comes as one piece, thanks in no small part to the continuity of production provided by Henley's trusted friend Stan Lynch. It features the "all star" cast of supporting artists we have long come to expect - (ex-)Eagles Frey and Felder, Henley friends Danny Kortchmar and Frank Simes, Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, and many others. More than anything, however, it proves that Don Henley is still on top of his game when it comes to music - a welcome affirmation after an eleven year wait.
Also recommended: The End of the Innocence Don Henley Live - Inside Job The Eagles - Hell Freezes Over Selected Works: 1972-1999 Hotel California"
The Boy of Summer Returns
Patrick A. Sullivan | New York, NY United States | 05/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After an 11 year break from his solo work, Don Henley is back.....and in very fine form. Like a fine wine that gets better with age, so too does Henley.... So what do we find in "Inside Job"? For starters, a less cynical Henley which we can attribute to marriage and children in 2 wonderful ballads.....The pretty and airy "Taking You Home" and the beautiful lullaby "Annabelle". For me, those 2 songs alone are worth the price of the CD. But while Henley might have mellowed...a tad...he still knows how to push the right buttons...with such tracks as "Working It" "They're Not Here, They're Not Coming", "Things Are Different Now". Other fine selections are "For My Wedding" and "My Thanksgiving" As in his previous solo outings, Don does not disappoint the listener. He delivers with his trademark, wonderfully crafted ballads and injects other musical influences into his more up-tempo songs. So....Eagle and Henley fans will go out and buy the CD....The rest....well you will be glad that you are "Taking Him Home"... One thing Don....next time...do not wait so long between releases."
Don Henley - 11 years later
Reid Kunkel | Sammamish, WA | 05/24/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Don Henley, one of those great artists that has never seemed to fade from view. 11 years after his grammy winning "The End of Innocence", the ex-Eagle has produced another excellent album. My favorite songs on this album were the beautiful "Taking You Home", the statement of "Everything is Different now", the optimism and fun of "My Thanksgiving", and the stinging title track "Inside Job". Of course there are songs that don't strike me as much, but Don has produced a solidly enjoyable album. It seems obvious that Henley has found domestic bliss and has finally settled down in several of his songs, such as "For My Wedding" and "Taking You Home." But there are still his trademark commentary songs such as "Inside Job", "Goodbye to a River", and "They're Not Here, They're Not Coming". These songs arrive in the same vein as his previous releases of "Dirty Laundry" and "The End of the Innocence". Overall I would recommend this cd to all fans of the great Don Henley and fans of strong, solid, and fun music all around."