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  1. #1
    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    Default Celebration of "I Can't Stand Still"

    I think this album is underrated. I like it a lot... especially the ballads! In fact, it is my second favorite album of his.

    I Can't Stand Still - not sure why they chose this as the title track since I think it is one of the weaker tracks - the synth sound in the verse just kind of plods along and is very dated, but the chorus is catchy, I think. I also like the couple lines that lead up to the chorus and build anticipation for it.

    You Better Hang Up - this song cracks me up! I love it! Catchy melody and Don's wry vocal is great as he warns a guy from New York City that he better not fool around with the wife of a country boy because that country boy will get out the shotgun! If he answers the phone when you call that country girl... YOU BETTER HANG UP! LOL!

    Long Way Home - this song starts slowly but by Don's agonized "I think there's something missing 'round here - I don't know where's it gone - but it's a long way back home" you're hooked. Holding that note for "long" (literally!) as the harmony changes brings a sense of change but still going nowhere. I love how the next verse goes from how all these ordinary things are breaking to what they symbolize: the breaking of their relationship. I've always thought "I fall asleep with colors flying over sand and foam" was a wonderful image. My only quibble is the use of the synth kind of distracts from the bridge. They loved that synth back then, lol.

    Nobody's Business - not my favorite song on the album; it reminds of me the "incident." Still, I like the melody of the lines that precede the "chorus" (the chorus is essentially the title repeated twice): "And I knew I was wasting my time" or "But I knew I was doing just fine." And the sentiment - mind you own business people, don't spend all your time judging me and trying to "punish" me for what you perceive to be my sins - I totally agree with. The driving drumbeats works, too. I don't really understand who he's talking about when he says "revenge is sweet though it be once removed" - perhaps he believes there was some kind of conspiracy? Love the clever way he references the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes."

    Talking to the Moon - what can you say about this one? It's magnificent. The achingly nostalgic voice, beautiful melody - but it's that melody's arrangement that really takes it up to the next level. While I like the melody shift at the "wind beneath the plains" part, I'm talking about the main bridge and everything after it - "goodbye, rodeo - it's a long, funny way for a man to go" - then the vocal energy builds - "and never change, and never change at all" - it comes to what you think is climactic moment and then there's a beat long full stop before you get taken up to the REAL climactic moment - "I. WAS. JUST. talking to the moon." Incredible - gives me chills. And then ending with that soft "Hopin' someday soon that I'd be over the memory of you..." As someone who grew up in Texas, I especially recognize just the type of town he's talking about, but you don't need to be from Texas to understand - he makes you understand no matter where you're from. I love this song so much. It's my next favorite after Heart of the Matter.... and when I'm in a certain mood, my most favorite.

    Dirty Laundry - Don's biggest hit according to Billboard, getting up to #3. This is the one that gets folks at a Henley concert on their feet, clapping along to the beat and especially the "kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down." Of course many of us have heard it with the Eagles as well when they show a montage of what they perceive to be examples of yellow journalism. It's not my favorite of his songs and I've always wondered why Boys of Summer, The End of the Innocence, and Heart of the Matter never hit higher, but oh well. The synth manages not to sound dated here, maybe because we're used to it and it somehow seems right. Some of the dark humor in this song is absolutely scathing in its sardonic criticism of the callous shallowness of the news industry, his voice mocking but with an underlying anger. One line particularly has stuck with me: "It's interesting when people die." I sometimes think about it when you see those newspeople rushing to be the first on the scene in a tragedy, hoping to get there in time to film the worst of it. Recently, that helicopter crash in New York... interviewers eagerly asking witnesses to describe it in detail, encouraging anyone who might have taken some video of the accident to send it to the newsoom, hoping they might get footage of that moment where so many people died. I understand the need for reports of this type but the eagerness to present the "drama" of it disturbs me.

    Johnny Can't Read
    - This one is a single? And this is the single they make a video for??? Maybe they thought its topic was more conducive to video, maybe they thought the kiddies would like the references to high school, I don't know - and I think the video isn't so bad - but the song itself... well, it doesn't do much for me. I get the "statement" it's trying to make - it's not exactly subtle - and I appreciate it but I don't think the song itself works. Now, looking back, we can chuckle at the datedness of the pop culture references. Never really understood the inclusion of "There's a new kid in town at the end" - why evoke the Eagles HERE? Maybe the idea was "OK, maybe this song isn't that great... but remember how I was in the Eagles and we had awesome hits like New Kid in Town and now because I'm a solo artist I'm kind of a New Kid in Town too? Get it?" lol

    Them and Us - My least favorite song on the album. Again, I get it - nuclear bombs are bad! Nuclear war is bad! The song itself has a boring, plodding melody and the message is conveyed in a clumsy, simplistic way - unusual for Don. Even the use of the line from the Bible is trite. Disappointing. (JMHO)

    La Eile - Pretty, although it seems kind of out of place after "Them and Us." I undestand it's leading up to Lilah, but it's jarring.

    Lilah - But perhaps the inclusion of La Eile is a buffer between Them and Us and Lilah, so Lilah doesn't suffer by being after Them and Us. It worked. I love Lilah. A lilting melody, a lilting vocal, some of Don's most romantic lyrics - "the taste of your mouth, the smell of the perfume on your wrist." His longing vocal for the "simple pleasures" from a man who has spent so long pursuing temporary pleasures that are far from simple is especially effective. Another lyric I like: "we spend so much time weeping and wailing and shaking our fists / creating enemies that really don't exist." People can let themselves get SO riled up over petty crap - sometimes we gotta step back and ask ourselves, "Is this perceived 'wrong' against me really worth such anger? Is this really worth the bile, the resentment, the massive amount of time I am spending focusing on this when I could be using that time on something other than negativity and thoughts of how I can get revenge upon/humiliate/hurt my 'enemy'?" That "enemy" can never be hurt more than we are hurting ourselves with our continual fury. If you don't control it, it can go on for years... we all know (or have heard of) people like that and it's sad.

    The Unclouded Day - one of my father's favorite hymns. I put out of my head the fact that Don doesn't really believe it and let myself be cheered by the lyrics that there is a Heaven where I will meet my friends and family who have passed away.

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

  2. #2
    Stuck on the Border
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    Default Re: Happy Birthday I Can't Stand Still

    Soda, you do these reviews so well that again I am not sure if I can add anything.

    I will just add a couple of random thoughts.

    In Nobody's Business I have always suspected that 'revenge is sweet though it be once removed' is directed at Glenn. I would like to hope not but there it is. As for the 'emperor' line I have never understood it and even though you say it refers to the fairytale I still have trouble with it.

    This is the only solo album where Don played drums (ICSS, You Better Hang Up, Them & Us, Lilah). I particularly like his playing in ICSS and Lilah. I know that he will never do this again and I am grateful for it.

    Re You Better Hang Up, it sounds unfinished to me. I think another verse would have been helpful. Lyrically it is somewhat similar to Dylan's Motorpyscho Nitemare.

    Not even Warren Zevon's backing vocals can save Them & Us, the first of many such songs that Don would write. Most of them are superior to this.

    I take your point about La Eile being 'jarring' coming between Them & Us and Lilah. Lilah is a magnificent song, although the (presumably) name 'Lilah' itself seems strange to me.

    Talking To The Moon is in the top five solo songs. I love it, but I find it hard to write about. Ditto with Dirty Laundry, which remains as timely as ever.

    I love the direct and sincere way he sings The Unclouded Day, especially the first 'oh the land of the uncloudy sky'.

    I'm sorry I couldn't be more comprehensive here.

  3. #3
    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Birthday I Can't Stand Still

    Hey, you can contribute without writing exhaustive opinions that no one really gets all the way through! lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Freypower View Post
    In Nobody's Business I have always suspected that 'revenge is sweet though it be once removed' is directed at Glenn. I would like to hope not but there it is.
    You've mentioned this before but why would this be about Glenn when Glenn really didn't have any reason to "get revenge" on Don, and how could it be "once removed"? I'm not saying it's impossible that the lyric refers to Glenn but I don't really see a connection between Glenn and the lyric.

    As for the 'emperor' line I have never understood it and even though you say it refers to the fairytale I still have trouble with it.
    You know, I've never really analyzed the meaning of the insertion of this line in the song. I'll give it some thought and see what I come up with.

    Lilah is a magnificent song, although the (presumably) name 'Lilah' itself seems strange to me.
    Oh, is that not a common name in Australia? It is in the States, though not as much as it used to be. Indeed, the fact that it's an old-fashioned name is part of the reason it was chosen, I believe.

    Thanks for your comments Freypower! They definitely gave me food for thought.

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Happy Birthday I Can't Stand Still

    I have always felt that Don thought Glenn would have been happy when the 'incident' occurred, hence the feeling of 'revenge' or at least thinking 'good, he's had his just desserts' - a bad situation occurred for Don but Glenn was not directly responsible and was therefore 'once removed'. I agree that it is probably reading too much into it. But then the lines 'I hope you feel better/I don't know what you proved' seems to be saying in an oblique way 'Glenn, you hurt me by breaking up our friendship and the band. Now this has happened to me. Feel better now'? It is extremely bitter but I can totally understand Don feeling this way, if I'm right.

  5. #5
    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Birthday I Can't Stand Still

    And some gems from DHO:

    Talking to the Moon (Saratoga 1985)


    Lilah (Saratoga 1985)


    Johnny Can't Read (Saratoga 1985)


    Them and Us (New York City 1985)


    You Better Hang Up (New York City 1985)


    Dirty Laundry (Foxboro 1993)


    And click on this link for the page on Johnny Can't Read, including the video download:

    Johnny Can't Read video page

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

  6. #6
    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Birthday I Can't Stand Still

    OK, my analysis of the Emperor's segment. I C&Ped all the lyrics for context and highlighted the part in question.

    I went out in the darkness
    Just searching for someplace to be
    Wasn't looking for trouble
    I guess it was looking for me
    And I knew I was wasting my time
    But it was nobody's business
    Nobody's business but mine

    I was taking some comfort
    I needed a break from the rain
    I guess I was mistaken
    And someone remembered my name
    But I knew I was doin' just fine
    And it was nobody's business
    Nobody's business but mine

    Well I guess for some
    Revenge is sweet
    Though it be once removed
    I hope you feel better
    I don't know what you proved

    Well, yonder comes the Emperor, boys
    He sure looks fine in blue

    I hope you feel better, babe
    I know you're scared too

    Well it sure makes you wonder
    The things that some people will say
    They can see black and white but they
    Don't seem to notice the gray

    What a price for a victimless crime
    When it was nobody's business
    Nobody's business but mine

    -----------------------------------------

    I think the song is overall criticizing judgmental people, drama hounds, and those who love to hear about salacious scandals. It's similar thematically to Dirty Laundry in some ways but while Dirty Laundry is about the journalists who stir up drama, this song is about the people who eat that drama up. The reason the journalists go for sensationalism is because so many people enjoy it - it sells. Those people are Don's target here.

    This song also seems more personal than Dirty Laundry. He stands outside of Dirty Laundry to criticize the media; in this song, he is the focus, the one who was wronged. He's been wronged by the segment of society that relishes scandal. He's angry about his loss of privacy, he's angry about how eager people were to think the worst of him, he's angry about the glee of some to see "how the mighty have fallen."

    It's the glee many take when they see what they perceive to be an arrogant, dissolute, drug-addicted, drunken, sexually perverted, hedonistic rock star millionaire be brought low. We still see that today... isn't that what drives websites like PerezHilton.com and TMZ.com? They resent his success and they enjoy it when he suffers.

    The revenge line is problematic in this context, but here goes: Perhaps it is that judgmental society that he feels is taking "revenge" on him - revenge in the sense that they took what they perceived to be his unrepentant attitude about his excesses and his shameless debauchery as an affront to society. They thought he deserved to have the arrogance kicked out of him. His "wrong" against them was his disregard for morality which disdained their moral code, and the vindication they felt when he fell was a form of revenge (once removed because they did not directly harm him, but took pleasure in it). They felt better because it made them feel superior, but what did they really prove?

    Which takes us to the lines referencing "The Emperor's New Clothes." For those unfamilar with the fairy tale, here's how it goes:
    There's an Emperor who cares more about his own self-aggrandizement than he does about his kingdom. He wants to be superior in everything; the most powerful, the most intelligent, the most well-clothed. It is the latter that drives the story.

    Two con men tell the Emperor they can make for him some clothes out of the finest material in existence. "This material is special," they say. "Only those who are noble and high-minded can see it. The ignorant, the unworthy - the material is invisible to them." They 'show' it to him. You can see where this is going... the Emperor pretends to see the clothes because he doesn't want people to think that he's ignorant and unworthy. Everyone follows his lead; everyone is afraid they will be thought lesser if they admit they can't see the clothes.

    The emperor decides to have a processional through town to show off his new "clothes." He marches through the middle of the town buck naked, and everyone just keeps saying how wonderful his clothes are... until some kid hollers "The emperor has no clothes!" The illusion is blown. Although the Emperor keeps pretending, everyone else realizes the truth.
    In my opinion, the main theme of this fairy tale is the dangers of conformity. It's about how many people will go along with popular opinion, even if it goes against their own judgment, rather than appear to be lesser than those who hold that popular opinion. "The fashionistas in New York say all the elegant women wear brown sacks. They call it 'edgy' and 'postmodern' and say that those who can't appreciate such concepts are unsophisticated and small-minded. THAT's not me! I'm going to go pay $6000 for a designer brown sack today!"

    So, what does this have to do with its placement in "Nobody's Business"?

    Good question! Here's one idea. The lines are followed by "I hope you feel better babe, I know you're scared, too." Perhaps he's noting how so many people went along with the idea that he did something awful even if the facts show he didn't, just because they were afraid to appear to be condoning someone who was perceived to be depraved. The "high-minded" people thought he deserved what he got, and so everyone went along with it and believed the worst.

    This is all speculation and honestly I could be WAY off base. It's just what I came up with.

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

  7. #7
    Stuck on the Border Maleah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Birthday I Can't Stand Still

    Quote Originally Posted by sodascouts View Post

    Oh, is that not a common name in Australia? It is in the States, though not as much as it used to be. Indeed, the fact that it's an old-fashioned name is part of the reason it was chosen, I believe.
    Yep, it's pretty common....although not as popular as it used to be....herre. In fact, it was my Mom's name! Although hers was spelled "Lila"

  8. #8
    Border Rebel Lisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Celebration of "I Can't Stand Still"

    I guess that makes me the new kid in an old town. I bought "I Can't Stand Still" during the year it came out, and I think I took a few months to decide what I thought of the changes in music that Don Henley introduced to his material then.
    I realized that a solo direction gave Don the opportunity to express some of his roots.
    Last edited by Lisa; 08-15-2014 at 09:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Happy Birthday I Can't Stand Still

    May be I am so into the oldtimesalwaysbettertimes spirit, I don't know maybe I can help it but... As No Fun Aloud seems to me the best Glenn's work (special mention for Strange Weather), ICSS is for me the best Don's piece.
    Be part of something good,
    Leave something good behind.

  10. #10
    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Birthday I Can't Stand Still

    You know, thelongrun, I can see what you're saying. It holds second place for me, but it's a strong album.

    OK, well, I've decided to go basic with my interp of the cover.

    This album cover represents Don's emergence from the past and coming into his own. The Eagles are the past - yes, the 70s and not the 50s, but the use of the 50s retro in black and white makes the point more effectively than using images that would recall a few years prior. The fact that the kitchen is so cheap and undecorated represents the creative limitations he suffered as an Eagle.

    The only things that are color: Don and the clock. Don's color represents that he is no longer trapped in the past and limited by it. The clock that is also in color symbolizes that fact that it's indeed time for him to assert himself as a solo artist.

    The center of the photo, and what always catches everyone's eye, is the flaming match. Fire = danger; he's taking a risk. The way he's staring at it as if hypnotized by it intrigues me. Perhaps the urge to take the risk has seized control of him and he has no other choice but to answer the call and step out. No longer can he resist it as he has done in the past (blow out the match and put it aside). Again, it is time.

    The "Johnny Can't Read" aspect may be because that song explicitly mentions the Eagles at the end... "there's a new kid in town"... so it also is that theme of kicking the past to the back.

    I also haven't dealt with a lot of the additional symbols one can derive from the cover, but I think I'll stop here because I believe that's the gist.

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

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