Don Henley – Building The Perfect Beast (1984): Review

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Produced by Don Henley, Danny Kortchmar and Greg Ladanyi
Label – Geffen

Following The Eagles hiatus in 1982, all members of the band would pursue their solo interests, all with moderate success, except drummer and vocalist Don Henley who hit pay dirt with his second effort “Building the Perfect Beast”. Built on the chart success of the Top Ten singles “Boys Of Summer” and “All She Wants To Do Is Dance”, the album would go on to sell over two million copies, and would remain in the album charts for over a year. As with many of The Eagles recordings, it is radio friendly AOR, meeting the requirements of the fan base in his sector, and replacing the steel Guitars and C&W feel, for a more synthesised pop production. It all sounds very familiar, and generally it works.

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The album leads in with the wonderful beefed up ballad “Boys Of Summer”, a retrospective song of a teenager growing up in a tourist town, and losing the girl of his dreams to The Boys of Summer. It is heartfelt and sincere, and worth buying the album for this alone. The other highlights include the pleasant pop song, “You Can’t Make Love”, and the sentimental portrayal of small town American life “Sunset Grill”. The quality isn’t always consistent, “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” seems to be an octave too high for Henley’s struggling vocals, and sometimes the album sounds a little too heavily synthesised, but overall one can take reasonable pleasure in 40 minutes of easy paced, well produced pop/rock. His follow up to this, “End Of The Innocence” would be artistically his best solo work, but overall “Building The Perfect Beast” is a worthy, if not inspired addition.

7/10

Track Listing
1.”The Boys of Summer” (Don Henley, Mike Campbell) – 4:45
2.”You Can’t Make Love” (Henley, Danny Kortchmar) – 3:34
3.”Man With a Mission” (Henley, Kortchmar, J.D. Souther) – 2:43
4.”You’re Not Drinking Enough” (Kortchmar) – 4:40
5.”Not Enough Love in the World” (Henley, Kortchmar, Benmont Tench) – 3:54
6.”Building the Perfect Beast” (Henley, Kortchmar) – 4:59
7.”All She Wants to Do Is Dance” (Kortchmar) – 4:28
8.”A Month of Sundays” (Henley, introduction composed by Maren Jensen) – 4:31 (cassette and CD only)
9.”Sunset Grill” (Henley, Kortchmar, Tench) – 6:22
10.”Drivin’ With Your Eyes Closed” (Henley, Kortchmar, Stan Lynch) – 3:41
11.”Land of the Living” (Henley, Kortchmar) – 3:24

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