Musical March: Hotel California 

So today I thought I’d try a little bit of a different approach to this and talk specifically about one song and see how long I could go.

I’m sure by the post title you can guess that song is Hotel California by The Eagles. It’s one of my favorite classic rock songs ever and I’m honestly not sure why.

I mean yes it is musically very interesting and I love the Spanish influences in the guitar and Don Henley’s vocals are pretty on par with most other great rock singers in this song. But I think my favorite part is the story.

Now I’m just spitballing ideas here okay, I don’t actually know what the song is really about but I believe that it’s about being locked up in a mental institution. Now I know that’s kind of a far stretch but hear me out.

For starters, the singer is hearing voices which apparently are speaking specifically to him and as far as anyone can tell from the lyrics no one else hears them, which is pretty much a huge indicator of depression, schizophrenia, multiple personalities and a ton of other mental health issues.

My next thought is this line

‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’

Now this, I believe has to do with the fact that being under the control of a mental illness is in fact being trapped. While it’s possible to escape no one can really help you other than yourself.

The next part of this verse refers to

They stab it with their steely knives,

But they just can’t kill the beast

This could refer to medical “treatments” at the time that were used to attempt to cure mental illness such as lobotomy in which you literally stab a needled through the patients eye. This method was never successful in cursing the diseases, only removed enough of the brain tissue to make the patient incapable of any type of emotion and a lot of times even resulted in death.

My final thought is that the line

You can check out anytime you want

But you can never leave

This represents the loss of the battle for a person to appear sane as it were. Most people when put into these institutions, even back on the 70s when this song was written, weren’t actually in need of the treatment. But nevertheless they were and then held against their will until eventually they did go mad.

Now that all of that not so pleasant stuff is out-of-the-way, the song isn’t actually about any of that. The song, according to The Eagles is about monetary desire and the dark side of the American dream. So I’m technically not correct in my ideas about the song, but it doesn’t matter.

Because each person has a different view on this world, every person will have different opinions on basically anything. That’s why is two people look at an abstract painting, they will most likely see two completely different things. So while Hotel California isn’t actually about a man being trapped in a mental institution, it is to me. That’s what the songs means to me and maybe it’s dark and morbid but that’s okay.

A bientôt

So I totally missed yesterday and I’m a failure, but I’m still going to continue with this project. Also this may have been the most crazy post I’ve made yet… yeah I have no explanation.


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