But Seriously, Folks…


Band: Joe Walsh
Album: But Seriously, Folks…
Best song: “Life’s Been Good” may be Walsh’s best song.
Worst song: “Indian Summer” is stupid.

I’ve been on the record as hating the Eagles, but I will say that I do enjoy Joe Walsh’s non-Eagles work. For one, the James Gang is responsible for “Funk 49,” a song that is more fun to play than nearly any. Similarly, Walsh’s solo work is doused in some fun guitar work, an easy voice and no pretentions whatsoever. “Rocky Mountain Way” appears to simply be a song about how awesome drugs are (opening lyrics: “Spent the last year: Rocky Mountain Way. Couldn’t get much higher.”). Recorded during his time with the Eagles, the record appears to be the songs Walsh couldn’t get recorded by the band (“In the City,” for example, became an Eagles song). It’s a little Harrison-ish in that way, if George Harrison had been a goofball.

Unlike the Eagles stuff — with which Walsh had little to do, lyrically — Walsh’s solo stuff doesn’t ask us to live a certain life or give some bullshit philosophical tale of some dumb hotel-as-purgatory shit.

(Let’s not talk about what he’s been doing the last few years. The song “Analog Man” is garbage and the concept behind it is, essentially, worthless.)

I’ve been on a mini run of writing mostly about one or another song and that’s not going to stop here. I love “Life’s Been Good.” It’s one of those songs, apparently, born out of simply whimsy; there’s nothing other than fun to be had out of it. Half the song is bragging, the other is rhyming dictionary nonsense (often at the same time).

If comedy is the notion that “laughter is a tool to triumph over fear” (and it is), “Life’s Been Good” is a somewhat complex exploration of that. For the singer, it’s the notion that life’s trappings are lovely, but bragging is simply a way to stave off the inevitable death that we all know exists. For the listener, it’s a way of coping with the cruelty of life that lets a dude be so rich and so lucky for simply playing a guitar.

In a way, it’s easy to throw the song away. The song doesn’t speak of essential truths that everyone can understand. How many people can understand the lifestyle Walsh has? At least he has the humor to laugh about it and that’s not without value.

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