Sound — 8
On The Border, the third album by the Eagles (released in 1974), features a move to a more rock-based style, leaving the country rock sound of their first two records behind. This record is the first to feature guitar great Don Felder, who would remain with the band until the year 2001. This record was the first Eagles record to achieve #1 status, thanks in part to the strength of the singles "Best of my Love" and "Already Gone". While popular at the time of it's release in 1974, On The Border remains one of the more overlooked Eagles records, mostly because it lacks the strength of Desperado or Hotel California (arguably their two greatest works).
Lyrics — 8
This record allowed for the team of Henley & Frey to "come into their own" and write powerful lyrics that provided as much enjoyment as their instrumental backing. The title track, "Best of my Love", and "Good Day in Hell" all contain strong imagery and poetic devices. This record, I think, also marks the turning point in lead singers for the band. Their early records (including some of this one), were dominated by rhythm guitarist Glenn Frey's smooth tenor. On The Border, however, showcases more of Henley's raspy vocals, the very vocals that would dominate almost an entire side of Hotel California. The Eagles always had great harmonies as well, and the addition of Don Felder perfectly matches up with Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon's backing "ooh's" and "ahh's".
Overall Impression — 8
On The Border is not required listening for an Eagles fan, but it is special because the songs on the album lean towards raucous rock 'n' roll, not the easygoing country flavour the band was known for. Such a move should have alienated their core fans and ruined their career, but instead the album did the opposite. On The Border allowed the Eagles to not only live up to expectations, but to set the stage for the masterpieces that were to follow them. I highly recommend On The Border for those sunny backyard barbeques or long highway drives, it's the kind of record best enjoyed with loved ones while having fun.