Sound — 8
This is the 1995 collection of Don Henley's greatest hits from his post-Eagles (and pre-Eagles reunion) career taking tracks from 1982's I Can't Stand Still, Building The Perfect Beast (1984) and The End Of The Innocence (1989). It's a selection of slick pop-rock which for the most part remains very 80's sounding, unlike the timeless music from the Eagles. This slightly dated sound, caused by drum machines and heavy use of synthesizers and keyboards, actually adds great atmosphere to several of the tracks. However, for the handful of rock tracks that are peppered towards the end of the disc, far more basic production is employed to highlight the rawer, bluesy style of these tracks.
Lyrics — 7
Compared to much of The Eagles lyrics, Henley tackles some far deeper issues than on his previous work. Opener 'Dirty Laundry' is a scathing attack on the media which verges on sarcasm. Other tracks such as 'The Garden Of Allah' and 'Sunset Grill' tackle social and political issues. 'The Heart Of The Matter' and 'The Last Worthless Evening' are more akin to the lyrics of The Eagles.
Overall Impression — 8
This is a great mix of different styles and proves Henley's worth as a solo artist. 3 of the best tracks on the album, the classic 'Boys Of Summer', 'Sunset Grill' and 'The End Of The Innocence' all evoke great nostalgia by means of retrospective lyrics, and such great echo on the drums and keys that if you closed your eyes, you would picture yourself sitting at the beach watching the sunset. 'Dirty Laundry' and 'All She Wants To Do Is Dance' are upbeat dance numbers. Henleys exudes his maturity and age on more considered and contemplative songs such as 'New York Minute' and 'The Heart of The Matter' but both are moving in their subject matter and the scale of the music (both feature string sections). The real rock numbers only come towards the end of Actual Miles. 'I Will Not Go Quietly' and 'The Garden Of Allah' show softer signs of Led Zeppelin in their bluesy brashness but balance the CD out evenly and stop it from getting too sickly and finally adding some distortion to those guitars. Overall it's a fantastic cd. Fantastic songwriting throughout with varying styles. Henleys voice shines with its slightly raspy yet soulful style. At 13 tracks it doesn't run on too long and is a great soundtrack for summer nights.