Album Reviews

Joe Walsh – Analog Man

on June 07, 2012, 7:58am
Walsh Analog Man C-
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As a member of the Eagles, Joe Walsh brought his rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities and impeccable guitar work to the band’s already lush sounds when he replaced guitarist Bernie Leadon in 1975. As the main man in the James Gang and as a solo artist, Walsh has enjoyed a handful of serious hits, all of which are now in perennial rotation on classic rock radio. With 20 years passed since his last solo effort, Walsh returns with Analog Man.

Analog Man kicks off with proclamations about how the new-fangled digital world vexes the aging rocker. The irony is that, as Walsh is singing about how he’s “still analog” and lamenting the fact that “some ten-year-old smart ass” has to guide him through trouble-shooting his computer issues, the album was recorded in the digital medium. Luckily, the sound doesn’t suffer for the irony, and the record shows off a much more polished effort than we’ve ever seen from Walsh, Eagles work aside. The serious message about the nature of the “digital world” and its effects on youth are the first of many surprisingly serious points made on the clown prince of rock’s big return to form.

Producer Jeff Lynne’s fingerprints are all over Analog Man, and his production aesthetic on a track like “Wrecking Ball” (not to be confused with The Boss) hints at Lynne’s past work, specifically his success with Tom Petty’s 1989 classic solo effort, Full Moon Fever. While we may not have expected Walsh to join the Nashville via Liverpool sect, Mr. Walsh’s alleged nickname “Lumpy Wilbury” feels quite appropriate after a few spins of Analog Man.

Production touches aside, the album is still a Joe Walsh record, chock full of the man’s should-be legendary guitar work and aloof vocal stylings, with some humor peppered throughout. The very Nashville track “Lucky That Way” sounds like a continuation of Walsh’s mega-hit “Life’s Been Good”, though with more severity than its predecessor. Previously, Walsh has addressed that his sobriety has allowed the “real Joe” to be heard without the shield of humor.

That’s not to say he doesn’t go for a laugh or two. Opposing the serious nature of songs like the somewhat shlock-heavy “Family” and the poignant, would-be recovery anthem “One Day at a Time”, “Funk 50″ offers a hilariously updated take on the James Gang classic, in which Walsh’s guitar “rides again” over a late ’80’s, ZZ Top-style programmed beat.

All in all, Analog Man is an amicable return to the solo spotlight for Walsh, showing off his dusty skills in a slick, very different sonic arena.

Essential Tracks: “Analog Man”, “Wrecking Ball”, and “One Day at a Time”

10 comments

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ckase
July 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm

I wonder if it was done in the “digital medium” Jeff Lynne notoriously records in analog..I wonder if this is the case or just another liberty taken without fact checking.

Bored
July 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I think the record is excellent. Joe has always been a tad narcissistic in his solo work and this disc is no different. As always, Joe’s guitar work is what makes his solo work so distinct. No one can make a guitar talk like Joe does.

Benedict_Reagan
July 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Horrendous. As bad as Ray Stevens, he’s become a parody of himself. This whole LP is disposable, Dust off “So What”. That’s music. This is an embarrasment!

Dan Kleinman
July 7, 2012 at 1:14 am

I have this album. It is outstanding. I listen to it again and again, sometimes several times a day. Often I find I’m singing it to myself. The music is great, the variety is great, the words are great, the Jeff Lynne production and background vocal/musical support is great, the whole thing is excellent. I highly recommend this. There is only one 1 million album seller so far this year. This should be the second one.

Jerseypaul
June 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Good record, a little too short perhaps but certainly upbeat, enjoyed the review.

Robert Roads
June 13, 2012 at 4:16 am

I think your review of the album is a little “piss weak” to say the least ! 4 out of 5 stars might have been more appropriate. Walsh’s guitar work is outstanding, and at 64yrs he still runs rings around todays so called “popular hard rockers” who are in their 30’s & charting !

Qbslim
June 12, 2012 at 4:16 am

“While we may not have expected Walsh to join the Nashville via Liverpool sect”? Jeff Lynne’s from Birmingham, not Liverpool ;)

Michael Ward
June 8, 2012 at 11:26 am

Nice review! looking forward to some memories updated!

pat merino
June 7, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Intriguing title ;-) 

Aberry4489
June 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm

welcome back, Joe!!!

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