The randomizer on That Infernal Device kicked up an unexpected result the other day: “Hotel California” by The Eagles. Really, Infernal Device? 30,000 songs and you still pick the most publically overplayed one of the bunch?
Not that I mind, really. The only radio I listen to is CBC, so when's the last time I've been subjected to the Hotel California? I'd say we haven't had that spirit here since 1999.
Hotel is tidily constructed, with some grimly evocative lyrics and a couple of controlled, properly-lauded guitar solos. It also brings back memories, chiefly of evangelists who, disturbed by what they heard the kids singing along to, took a good hard look at the lyrics and album art and concluded: it's about the Church of Satan, children!
Even in my pious youth that possibility never struck me as something worth worrying about. First of all, such high-falutin' subterfuge seemed unlikely. Secondly, even if it were the case, the generally despairing tone of the song was anything but an endorsement. Put the shoe on the other foot: what if the song were actually about Saddleback, or (more aptly) Westboro Baptist? What kid in his right mind would listen to those lyrics and think, “Kewl! That's a church I want to join!”?
Sigh. Misapplied intelligence: entertaining in hindsight, but grievously mischievous at the time. Here is Snopes on the matter. Better yet, here is Cracked.