CD Review: Don Henley

Don Henley
The Very Best of Don Henley
Geffen/UME
By David Chiu

Don Henley is one of those rare artists whose solo career exceeds and maybe eclipses
the success of his then-former band—in this case the Eagles. There is a lot of depth and substance in his solo work, which is spotlighted in this latest compilation. (With the exception of three songs from last solo record, Inside Job, the track selection is very similar to his 1995 collection Actual Miles). His music in the ‘80s seem to be a reaction to that decade’s sense of greed and lack of sensitivity starting with his first solo hit “Dirty Laundry”—an indictment of tabloid media, through the funky “All She Wants to Do Is Dance,” and the legacy of the Reagan era in “The End of the Innocence” and “New York Minute.” Yet in contrast to Henley’s sharp and biting lyrics set is a deep and reflective side as evident on lovely tracks like “The Last Worthless Evening,” “The Heart of the Matter” and “Taking You Home.” Perhaps his most well-known hit, and one pop music’s greatest songs, is “The Boys of Summer,” a track that conveys both youthful nostalgia and regret—it remains the major highlight of his career as well as on this best-of. This set is also packaged with a DVD of videos to some of his hit songs along with rare audio songs from soundtracks.

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