Today at work, I listened to Look What I Did by Joe Walsh, a double album of his greatest hits. In terms of big radio hits, there ain’t much — “Life’s Been Good”, “Rocky Mountain Way”, “Walk Away”, “Life of Illusion”, and “Funk #49” are about it. Those songs are all really good, and “Life’s Been Good” contains one of my favourite lyrics ever: “I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do”. That one simple line just seems to capture the feelings of the vast majority of society, myself included.
Apart from those songs, most of the rest of the collection is, to be blunt, either boring or just plain crap. Walsh is a talented guitarist, but has a really weird voice, and writes some very odd lyrics. Occasionally his voice works for a song, but other times I wonder if it wouldn’t have been a better song if he’d gotten someone else to sing it.
Walsh also has a strange sense of humour. Songs like “Ordinary Average Guy”, “Life’s Been Good”, and “Shut Up” among others have funny lyrics, he’s got album titles like The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get, and who else would write a song called “I.L.B.T.’s” — which stands for “I Like Big Tits”? After listening to some of these songs, I started to wonder whether it’s really his sense of humour, or if he was just high or drunk or both during most of the time that these songs were written.
Even his songs as part of the Eagles weren’t that good — on the classic album Hotel California, the only song Walsh sings is my least favourite track, “Pretty Maids All In A Row” (though he co-wrote “Life in the Fast Lane”). The latest album Long Road out of Eden contains some excellent songs, but the only one that Walsh sings is “Last Good Time In Town”, which seems really out of place.
My former guitar teacher is a huge Joe Walsh fan, and every now and again I’ll give this CD a listen, thinking “maybe I’ll give it another chance”, but I keep coming to the same conclusion: Joe Walsh is a pretty good guitar player who wrote a couple of great songs, a few decent ones, and a whole bunch of dreck.