In celebration of California Day here at RTH — and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong — I submit that “Those Shoes” by The Eagles is The Most Coked-Out Song Ever.
First, take the arrangement. It’s not enough to have one talk box guitar. No, here, all the guitars have bendy mouth things on them, the better to convey the sound of snorting noses. Then, there’s the mix of drum machine and Henley beats. (Guess which of the two has more swing.) The relentless, unchanging bass line convinces me that even mellow nice-guy Timothy B. Schmit is feelin’ kinda nervous right now, man.
I don’t think need to have tried Peruvian flake to get the sweats to this song. I mean, look at this homemade video: just some innocent shots taped from someone’s car window, and with this song, it looks like an outtake from Boogie Nights. How exactly did this song avoid inclusion in that film, anyway?
I can’t forget the lyrics. I bet Henley and Frey wanted to provide a searing but sensitive portrait of “desperation in the single bars.” When Don sings it, however, it sounds cold, lifeless, uncaring. You know where I’m going with this. I maintain there’s at least a flicker of humanity in even the most brittle Steely Dan track. But not here.
Don’t listen to this song too much, though. My research indicates that repeated exposure leaves the recipient feeling uncannily like he or she’s reaching the drop during a five-day L.A. bender, surrounded by hot concrete and cars, with no significant foliage for miles and miles.