Joe Walsh

Ordinary Average Guy

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This collection of nostalgia, decent balladry, and quirky anthems probably reinforced any notions of Joe Walsh's creative decline. The singer/guitarist had (up to the time of this 1991 release) strung together an incredible career as a soloist and member of several first-rate rock acts, but time seemed to finally be catching up to him. That's not to say Ordinary Average Guy is a bad record. It's a fine record, but hardly up to Walsh's own menacing standard with regard to the musician's legendary guitar groove and wit. Generally, fans might think of Walsh in contrast to his crooning Eagles cohorts as harder rocking, edgier, but on this release, the hard-partying guitarist seems more comfortable showing a softer side. Ballads like "I'm Acting Different" and "Where I Grew Up" feel more earnest and truthful when compared to campy clunkers like "Alphabetical Order" and limp commentaries like "Look at Us Now." Throughout the more upbeat material, oddly placed synth washes and sparse drum patterns make for a bumpy, uninteresting sonic ride. Released just a couple years before Walsh put an end to his "30 year party," this reflective, sometimes half-hearted effort bellies a weariness that's both sad and difficult to appreciate as this master goes through the motions.

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