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I Can't Stand Still
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2005
Many of the great rock bands rise because together, they are more than just the sum of their individual members' talents. The Eagles have always been a perfect example of that proposition. Yet, when the infamous "Eagles pressure cooker" finally blew up in 1980 (although they took a full two years to officially announce what everybody had come to realize by then anyway), they couldn't have chosen more different paths than those followed by the five individuals emerging from the pieces. Don Felder discovered the real estate business, while also appearing (sometimes alongside other former Eagles members) on albums by Bob Seger, Stevie Nicks and other artists, penning contributions to movie soundtracks ("Heavy Metal" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High;" the latter album ironically reunited, individually, all members of the Eagles' last configuration, featuring one contribution by each of them), and eventually publishing his own, commercially not overly successful "Airborne." Timothy B. Schmit went on to cooperate with virtually every great musician and band of the second half of the 20th century, also making significant contributions to his former fellow band members' solo projects, and on the side, released four records of his own. Henley, Frey and Walsh pursued full-fledged solo careers.
Of all of them, Don Henley proved to be the most successful, and it was so right from the start. While Glenn Frey decided to take a break from the pressure cooker and released an album entitled, not coincidentally, "No Fun Aloud," and Walsh had, without much ado, already resumed his solo career a year earlier with "There Goes the Neighborhood," Henley hooked up with Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar and Greg Ladanyi to produce "I Can't Stand Still," and proceeded to take songwriting to a new level.
From the opening title track (by some accounts, a reflection of Henley's occasionally stormy relationship with then-girlfriend, "Battlestar Galactica" actress Maren Jensen, to whom the record is also dedicated and who supplies background vocals on "Johnny Can't Read") to the closing, spiritual/gospel-inflected "Unclouded Day," the album shows a side of Henley not obvious from his contributions to the Eagles' music, significant as they were. Sure, this was the guy who had (co-)written "The Last Resort," the Eagles' ode about Paradise Lost. Sure, "Talking to the Moon," Henley's reflections on the small-town Texas where he had grown up, could have been an Eagles song. But for one thing, most of the tracks on "I Can't Stand Still" are drum- and rhythm-driven in a way few Eagles songs ever were (Henley finally got to put his skills as a drummer center stage). The guitar work in the majority of the songs is harsh, grating and straightforward. And most importantly, Henley did no longer hold back on taking a stance politically. Where the Eagles had shied away from endorsing specific politicians or parties, Henley's lyrics, beginning with those on his first solo album, were now laced with acid social commentary. Wanna go to nuclear war (remember Cold War, anyone)? Go on - "get ready boys, third time's a charm" and "if things go from bad to worse we can still kill them if they kill us first" ("Them And Us"). Think the school system works just fine and kids are happily learning away? Well, this teacher's son is here to tell you that Johnny Can't Read, and although that's nobody's fault (not Teacher's, not Mommy's, not Society's, not the President's, and most certainly not Johnny's own), "coupla years later Johnny's on the run - Johnny got confused and he bought himself a gun." And think press coverage is just what it ought to be and the media are setting any standards for themselves at all? Then listen to that news crew on location, looking for ever more Dirty Laundry: "Can we film the operation? Is the head dead yet? You know, the boys in the news room got a running bet. Get the widow on the set!" The lyrics of that last song, in particular, have never rung truer than today; and not surprisingly, it was still the opening piece of Henley's 2000-01 "Inside Job" tour.
Don Henley brought back for the production of "I Can't Stand Still" those of his former band members with whom he had stayed in touch after the breakup, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh. But he also enlisted the help of other musicians; among them, Warren Zevon, J.D. Souther, Steve Lukather and the Porcaros from Toto, Heartbreaker Benmont Tench, guitarrist Waddy Wachtel and, most importantly, Bob Seger (who co-wrote "Nobody's Business," a song that could have come right off his own "The Distance" in all except lead vocals) and the Chieftains, more particularly, Paddy Moloney and Derek Bell, for the sad and beautiful "Lilah" and its prologue "La Eile" (Gaelic for "Another Day"). It may have taken Henley's follow-up album "Building the Perfect Beast" for him to produce more than one top-ten single again (an achievement which he then topped with the overwhelming success of 1989's "End of the Innocence"), but "I Can't Stand Still" did go gold, and "Dirty Laundry," its biggest single hit, made it to No. 3 on the charts. Don Henley's first solo release effectively made the point that even if the Eagles' career was over (and would, as he prophesized, only resume if hell ever froze over), he himself was far from passe and there was a lot he had yet to tell the world.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2000
Being an Eagles fan, I thought I would try one of its ex-member's material. I had brought this album because the one sample, "Talking to the moon" sounded romantically sad. The song (track 5) reflected the current phase I was going through. That is of one, whose loved one, has gone away for some time: "The lonesome whippoorwill cries to the stars above, He was callin' out for his lady love, She's been gone so long" the piano accompanying it compliments the lyrics. Then the pace of the album builds up with "Dirty Laundry" a song about insult to injury, "Kick 'em when they're down " are words echoed throughout the chorus. Other tracks worth mentioning, "Lilah" which has hints of Eagles in it, aswell as "Long Way Home". A song about a couple having to live together even though they're not in love because its "A Long way home". If your loved one is not with you, and you need an album to comfort you - "I Can't Stand Still" is the one for you. Don Henley writer of "End of the Innocence" and "Boys of Summer" does it again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 13 September 2006
The progression which transformed the Eagles between their country-ish debut album and the final stunning "The Long Run" continued after the band split, so that, separately, the former band members have produced a body of work which far surpasses that of the Eagles as a band.

Don Henley's first solo album was by no means as good as his later offerings. This is true of the solo debuts by Glenn Frey and Randy Meisner, too, with each debut solo outing having a hurried, `obligation album' feel. But "I Can't Stand Still" is an excellent album just the same, with an ever grittier, rockier feel even than "The Long Run". After a modest start, the album gets progressively better, stand-out cuts including "Dirty Laundry", "Johnny Can't Read" and "Them and Us". The album concludes with the anthemic "Unclouded Day". The best might be yet to come, but this album merits a place in any rock fan's collection.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2007
Don Henley's first solo album since leaving the now reunited Eagles is by no means his best.

If you're considering which album of Don Henley's to start off your collection with, I'd leave this one until last.

Instead go for Inside Job, The End Of The Innocence, Building The Perfect Beast and then I Can't Stand Still.

Like Glenn Frey's early solo work, this album hasn't stood the test of time and somehow sounds strangely dated.

I'm not saying it's a bad album, far from it, just very different from his more recent work and not the best place to start your collection from...in my opinion!
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Typical classy, clever effort by a maestro of his trade
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on 30 December 2014
Just magic great fan of Don and his music
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on 26 March 2015
Henley is as awesome as ever
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