“What song is this, Hanna?” my mother would ask me as she put her hand over the radio in an attempt to stop me from seeing the title.
I already knew it though. I always knew it.“It’s Hotel California by the Eagles” I’d respond.
Then she’d turn the radio up, roll down the window and it was like we were back in 1977, when this song was re-released from the 1976 studio album as a single.
As soon as the opening acoustic finger style starts my whole body fills with nostalgia. When the song slowly begins to progress into something more than one solo guitar I feel like crying over the loss of my childhood. Maybe it’s because each instrument seems so lonely that it has this rolling effect on me. The constant acoustic guitar isn’t accompanied by the other instruments but overpowered. The bass is unique, the electric guitar tries to steal the show and the drum is off on it’s own lala land. Even so they still play together in this perfect, harmonious song.
The instrumental aspect always stuck out the most to me because of these traits. Anything as acoustically aesthetic as this song was an A++ in my childhood. But the guitar solo, that was the highlight of the song. It was simple, anyone could do it with enough practice, yet it just stood out so much. The sliding sound of the fingers across the neck of the guitar, how you can clearly hear each note being hit; some people enjoy the sound of rain on a rooftop, I however enjoy the sound of fingers hitting a note on the guitar, perfectly.
As for the lyrics, to this day I still have no idea what they mean. I tried asking my mom and she had no idea either. “They’re about a wonderful place” she told me, “that’s all that matters.”. I guess in a sense that is all that matters. Even if I by chance understood the true meaning of this song the memories connected to it will never change. Some songs just have that effect on you, ya know?
The next time you’re driving down the highway, turn on an oldies station and leave it on. Musically transport yourself to a different year and in that moment enjoy the musical pleasure that your parents and grandparents felt. This is the closest to time travel our generation will ever get.
Check out the song here!