I had not heard this song for more than 10 years when someone played it for me a few weeks ago, by chance. It’s too bad that there isn’t some service–like the internet-blocking Freedom–that would prevent you from listening to your favorite songs over and over again, because I burnt myself out on “Falling Out of Love…” in 2001 and never looked back; but then the song found me again and my pulse quickened and my pupils dilated…my old theory was that this song existed solely to exhibit those (fake?) handclaps, i.e., the melody and harmony are the setting & those handclaps are the gem. I can’t think about this song rationally: there’s too much unfinished business between us.
Larry Gus’s “Silent Congas” was released for free a month or so ago. It’s fun. This is probably the most recent album that I’ve consistently listened to and enjoyed. Took a little while to sink in. Some notable reviews have been unkind, okay, but let me reiterate that this is free, and good, and so there should be nothing stopping you from downloading it from the DFA soundcloud. If you, like me, loved and obsessed over the Avalanches’ wonderful “Some People” mix from a thousand years ago, you will dig “Silent Congas.” Jaw Throb is like a quick slice from that mix. If you listen to it and think it’s trash, I will write you (longhand) an apology letter; leave your mailing address and official complaint in the comments.
I have my problems with Don Henley, and I think they all started with this song, which I first heard on the radio when I was 9 or 10. I’m not going to say that I was the worst parser of lyrics when I was that age, but I wasn’t very good either, and so when I heard the last part of the chorus, when Henley–in his grossest voice–sings (to a woman, presumably), “You can lay your head back on the ground/And Let your hair fall all around me/Offer up your best defense/But this is the end/The end of the innocence,” I was pretty sure he was telling the story of a sexual assault he had committed. This was something I believed 100% for a long time, probably up until I heard the song again in my 20s. As a kid, I don’t know if I had the explicit idea that the song was a re-telling of something terrible, but it absolutely felt like it. I realize now that the lyrics are more about the passing of time, how things were probably unbelievably wonderful for Don when he was in the Eagles and in his early solo career, when every horizontal surface of everything he owned was rimed with coke, when love was possible for him, and before the dawn of whatever it is that Don hates in this world. Even knowing all that now though, this song still creeps me out in ways that I can’t articulate graphically enough to other people to make them understand. Just know that this song is perverse and virulent, and try to forgive Bruce Hornsby for his involvement in its creation.