The Eagles

Long Road Out of Eden (Universal Music Group)

Eagles Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit may all love music, but they don't make it collectively unless there's a mammoth payday involved. Maybe that's why this set, which is being released through a profit-maximizing deal with Wal-Mart, seems more inspired by commerce than art.

The exceptions to this rule come from Henley, the act's most ornery member. Although the Iraq-themed title track feels secondhand—betcha he researched it by watching CNN in his den—the wannabe epic gets a boost from Henley's pissiness, as does the decidedly bitchy "Frail Grasp of the Big Picture." (As for "Fast Company," a vomit-inducing white-funk catastrophe, it's all about anger too—mine.) In contrast, Walsh's two offerings seem like toss-offs, and Schmit's efforts constitute ultra-bland filler. And Frey? The tunes he croons, including "How Long" and "No More Cloudy Days," mainly stick to the heavily diluted and extremely tedious country-rock formula that's made these guys as rich as pashas. They're less songs than cashier's checks. Which they'll be taking to the bank very soon.

 
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