November 17, 2007

The End of the Henley Hating (but not the Boss Hating)

It was sort of my idea to do Tunnel of Love and The End of the Innocence together. At least it was my suggestion that Bruce has a Don Henley/Bruce Hornsby sound going on on Tunnel that prompted Kid Seed to put them up together. When I listened to Tunnel for the first time in years in preparation for this blog, I realized it didn't sound as much like Innocence as I had remembered. Mostly it's just the title track and Brilliant Disguise that really have that sound. So why did I always associate them in my mind for years?

Aside from the superficial similarities Kid Seed point out in the intro, I think it's because they both have a tone that's at once despondent and defiant. Tunnel's despair is more personal, while Innocence's is more societal, but that brooding quality is apparent in both. And also they're both totally full of shit.

The kicker though, is that while Innocence is a tight, smooth, well-crafted rock/pop time capsule of 1989, Tunnel is just, well...I don't think Len Barker and I see eye to eye on much musically. I mean, we like a lot of the same shit, but being a musician, I think Len probably has a lot broader interests than I do. But we're muy simpatico on Tunnel of Love. It stinks. There's no getting around it. I can't conceive what was going on in the minds of the RS voters who put Tunnel in the top 500. You can't call it Bruce's worst album ever, because he did release Human Touch, after all, but come on.

I'm probably even prepared to give Tunnel a bit more credit than Len, because I do pay attention to rock lyrics (in fact I think they're the most important part of the best rock music since rock & roll is basically our poetry) and the lyrics of certain tracks have the making of something sort of kind of halfway decent. Maybe.

On the other hand, I'm going to defend Innocence against all the haters on this blog. I most love its cohesiveness. It sounds like it was thought out and put together as a real album, as opposed to just a bunch of songs. The tracks flow into and build upon each other in a way that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. And how can anyone bitch about Axl's vocals? There's no song that was ever made worse by adding Axl Rose vocals. Now if only he would finish Chinese Democracy.


Jahidi Hoya said...

"There's no song that was ever made worse by adding Axl Rose vocals."

I think I found one. Bruce blows him off the stage.

Ancient Scientist said...

Why are these all-star jam sessions so damn awful. I am so angry that 2 minutes of my life were taken away watching half of that video. Rock n' roll HOF jam sessions are the worst displays of old fogey sloppiness imaginable.

Jahidi Hoya said...

I do not want to defend that performance, but I will say that it was an absolute last minute decision. Neither guy knew they were going to perform that song together within 15 minutes of that performance.

I think the purity of those RnR HOF shows was lost once they let MTV inside. It used to be like a private party that nobody was invited to... now it is simply another awards show.

venerableseed said...

has anyone here ever been to the Rock N Rock Hall of Fame? We had planned on it but then balked at the $20 admission fee. Same deal with Seattle's $15 Experience Music Project. Neither really make much sense to me.

LenBarker said...

I've been to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. I would have paid $50 to have seen Z.Z. Top's Eliminator alone!

I've been to the Experience Music Project twice. Their collection of historic guitar models is my favorite look at evolution outside of the bone room at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and the new sci-fiction museum downstairs is a blast.