The Long Run
Rating: 2
   In my bachelor days, I lived in an apartment with a couple others guys, and one day I decided to clean the refrigerator. Since I don’t drink milk, I hadn’t been paying attention to the top shelf; to my astonishment, I pulled out no less than nine half-finished jugs of milk, with expiration dates ranging from two weeks to three months old. At first I was simply revolted, but then astonished: how did these roommates of mine not notice that they keep putting new milk in front of old stuff?
   Listening to The Long Run evokes a similar feeling. The wretchedness of this music is enough to make you blanch on first consideration, but further contemplation on the facts leaves the mind boggled.
   The Eagles spent three years and over a million dollars recording this album. Did no one at any point realize how terrible it was? All five of these guys had shown glimmers of talent previously, and producer Bill Szymczyk had overcome the handicap of his last name to create some fine funky music. Surely a record company executive or two listened to the tracks. And yet, they let it go out on the market... and millions of fans bought it, and keep buying it. Mmm, rancid!
   This album takes everything that was moderately interesting about the Eagles out of the mix, and highlights their worst tendencies. Gone are the jangly guitars and peppy country rhythms, outstanding are stiff rhythms and dull preachy lyrics. Could there be a more lifeless rendition of the classic doo-wop beat than “Heartache Tonight”? I guess, technically, the syncopation is there, but it still feels utterly joyless. “I Can’t Tell You Why” is a showcase for new bassist Timothy B. Schmit, and he replaces Randy Meisner’s enthusiastic screeching with a limp falsetto that sucks all the energy out of the room.
   Big shot Don Henley falls down hardest here. He apparently either didn’t recognize the humor potential of titles like “Teenage Jail” and “Disco Strangler” or he actually is incapable of telling a joke. I was looking forward to hearing songs with those names, but they’re more of the same old tales of dissipation. Worst of all, though, is his failure to come up with any memorable tunes. This record is full of slick arrangements supporting the most obvious melodies.
   Disgusting, yes, but also amazing that so much money and talent could go into such a dull record. This is probably the worst record ever to sell seven million copies.


  • From N. Jarner: You want to know something else astonishing? The Long Run was originally planned to be a double album, consisting of about 18 songs. To quote William Ruhlmann of All Music Guide, "If these were the keepers, what can the rejects have sounded like?" Definitely the Eagles' weakest effort.

    Complaints, criticisms, or bribery reviews: Contact me!