It may be Joe Walsh’s first solo album in 20 years but Analog Man does exactly what it set out to achieve, an album full of personal musings, clever lyrics and delivered with the style and panache of man whose knows that he is good and isn’t afraid to say so.
Joe’s last album was back in May of 1992, it would be a further two years before the Eagles would return with Hell Freezes Over but in that time and before the release of the stunning Long Road Out of Eden which won many admirers and a group of new fans not bought up on Desparado, Hotel California and Life in the Fast Lane. It’s with that in mind that Analog Man has all the feel of a man showing that the simple part of life has long since gone and no matter how much we wish it, we cannot put the digital genie back in its cage, throw away the key and leave it there muttering like some petulant, sulky child.
The opening track that the album takes its name from is pure Walsh right down to his gravelly toned delivery of his lyrics. The fun in reminiscing about how vinyl sounded just fine and how a ten year old “smart a**e” has too show him how to put his life back together is pure poetry and shows a deeper understanding that the world may have moved on. It’s also magnificent dig at the idea of young celebrity, how the world may take more notice of a ten year old just because they can set the computer properly but have no idea of how to really communicate to the wider world.
There are some truly great tracks on the album and the way they are performed will surely have fans of Joe and the Eagles hankering for him to come to a town so close to them so they can take it in live. The tremendous Lucky That Way, Spanish Dancer and India are polished, reflective and so sweet to listen to, so sweet and so well put together that it’s a shame Joe left it 20 years before stepping into the studio to record for himself again.
Perhaps the greatest part of this album is not just the obvious enjoyment the listener will hear in Joe’s voice or very cool guitar playing but in that it’s a very welcome return to producing and playing of one of Birmingham’s finest, the great Jeff Lynne from E.L.O. and The Move. If anyone is going to make Joe’s album sound so damn cool its Jeff Lynne.
Ian D. Hall