Much to the delight of his longtime fans, after two decades, Joe Walsh is finally back. Most widely known for his work with The Eagles, Walsh has also released solo albums and been with other bands such as the James Gang, Barnstorm, and Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band. With a career spanning over four decades, looks like Walsh is here to stay, debuting his newest release, Analog Man.
“Analog Man” is a very clever, dirty rock, funky opening song. With lyrics like, “I’m still analog. When something goes wrong, I don’t have a clue. Some 10 year old smart ass has to show me what to do,” you know that it’s going to be a fun one, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s catchy and sticks with you; I found myself humming it around the house. The next track, “Wrecking Ball,” has a nice steady beat and the harmonizing and lyrical pitch is perfect for Walsh. With “Lucky That Way,” the sound turns a bit country and he sings about his lifestyle and what makes him happy.
Joe Walsh has never been known for his amazing lyrical ability; rather, he’s known for his awesome guitar skills. This is wildly evident on “Spanish Dancer.” The vocals are sometimes hard to get through, and we only get a glimpse of his guitar work in the middle and very end for a short time, making this track not one of the best. The drum work is also very simplistic.
“Band Played On” sounds like it could be on a George Harrison album, most likely due to the sitar. Again, we only get a small dose of Walsh’s true talent here towards the end of the song. “Family” sings about the importance of the unit, and how he finally has a home, and feels blessed. It is a sweet message, though a little too slow-paced and sappy for my taste.
“Funk 50” (longtime fans will remember Funk #49 from The James Gang) finally gives the listener some rockin’ guitar work that they’ve most likely been craving since the first couple songs on the album. But at only two minutes long, it’s not enough! “India” is a nifty track with elements of different musical genres, and it may just be funkier than the previous one. It provides a nice break from vocals, and could’ve benefitted the album by being put in the middle instead of near the end for just that reason.
“Fishbone” is an interesting number about an actual event in Walsh’s life where his wife got a fishbone stuck in her throat on a trip. And “But I Try” takes the album out on a bluesy, upbeat note with some of the best vocals on the whole album.
Analog Man is an interesting album. It starts out and finishes solidly, but some tracks in the middle leave something to be desired. While Joe Walsh has never been known for stellar vocals, he has indeed been known for his guitar work, and while displayed nicely in some songs, it’s not enough overall. Still, Analog Man is definitely one for the collection, because when his work is good, it’s really good.
Key Tracks: Analog Man, Wrecking Ball, India
Date: August 9, 2012