And you’re probably wondering why I’d write a Missed Masterpiece article on an album, Hotel California, that went platinum a bazillion times. There are three reasons: It was the single most important album of my teen years (followed closely by Some Girls, Led Zeppelin and Van Halen’s first, self-titled album). I think the album’s perfect. And I think the music media has treated it like shit. Yeah, I’m talking about you, Rolling Stone, a magazine that shit all over Led Zeppelin until rabid popularity and respect of their albums made them reverse their stance and throw a bunch of stars at the band.
As most music people know, most songs go verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus-verse-chorus, and then sometimes a coda. I may be wrong, but I’ve come to believe coda is Latin for tail. The two most famous codas are the glorious double guitar at the end of “Hotel California” by Don Felder and Joe Walsh, and the piano coda at the end of Derek and the Dominos’ song “Layla.”
As silly as it may seem now, I felt like the song “New Kid In Town” was talking about me. Somewhere around 1976, the Church changed the ward boundaries and, all of the sudden, my little band of hoodlums had access to a shit-load of hot new girls. New kid in town, indeed! Here I come, ladies. I also got a big kick out of how many people got the lyrics of the songs on the album incorrect (e.g. “Life In The Fast Lane” was life in the grasslands and “Victim Of Love’ was Victor McLove.)
“Wasted Time” and “Wasted Time (reprise)” are brilliant together.
But I was maybe most impressed with the last song on the album, “The Last Resort.” From the title of the song to the metaphor of the decadence of California and the history of the United States of America—it was mind-blowing for a 17-year-old.
I just think this should be an album that gets handed down from generation to generation, like Dark Side of the Moon.