It is my firm belief that the Eagles are now underrated. I know, that sounds like crazy talk. After all, they're still omnipresent on classic rock radio. Yet it's this very omnipresence that has allowed us to take the band's music for granted. Look, it's hard enough for a rock band to score but a single modest hit (something that catches the collective attention of the masses for a handful of weeks before the band slips back into oblivion), but what the Eagles achieved between the years 1972 and '80 is damn near impossible (and yes, it certainly places them in the same rarified pantheon as The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd and Madonna).
In that short span of time, not only did they score one mega-hit after another, they scored one mega-hit after another that we're still obsessing over ... in 2013! From "Take It Easy" and "Already Gone" to "The Long Run" and "Tequila Sunrise," these dudes are Illuminati-grade masters of pop infection. Moreover, they possess an uncanny talent for stylistic synthesis. Just look at "Hotel California," for example. The sheer number of ideas this pocket opera contains is absurd: proggy country rock pivoting on a slow-burn reggae beat and laced with neoclassical guitar licks à la Thin Lizzy, Crosby, Stills & Nash-worthy harmonies and all manner of Latin accents. And then there's "Life in the Fast Lane," which might've been recorded in 1976, but its slick, sassy and way-ahead-of-its-time disco funk strut is pure '80s.
I suppose I could also wax philosophic about all the mythical stuff: the lure of California in the '70s, the rotting death of the hippie dream, the airing of Hollywood's dirty laundry and so on. In the end, however, all that matters is that the Eagles are one hell of a pop band.