The Eagles’ song, Hotel California, is very famous and known to almost everyone. All the songs from the album of the same name make the listeners think about such important problems as materialism, insanity, interrelations between art and commerce, drug addiction, fame, love, and American culture in general. The members of the band claimed, that the album was a metaphor for the country’s decay and the aim of it was to remind its citizens about existing problems. Being a great example of rock music, the song Hotel California has meaningful lyrics and thrilling melody, which taken one with another inspire the listeners to think over the important issues of present-day society.
At first sight, the plot of the song seems to be simple and straightforward, but its in-depth analysis shows that there are many underlying ideas. When the song is listened to for the first time, listeners imagine a tired traveller, who comes to a hotel and stays here for a night. As the tension grows and the plot develops, listeners realize that this song has some hidden messages to be thought over. On listening Hotel California, many questions appear: “Who is the person in the doorway?”, “What do dancing people try to forget?” and finally “Why is it impossible to leave the hotel?” Although there are different interpretations of this song’s lyrics, the most meaningful of them is the one, according to which The Eagles sing about the materialism, fame and greed. Thus, the man who travels admires the peaceful and relaxed state, which may be compared with the state when a person dreams about something. He reaches the hotel, this “glimmering light” as people attain their aims of being famous and rich. Eventually, the guest finds out that he is imprisoned in the hotel, as greedy people are imprisoned by materialism and greediness. The woman, who meets the main character of the song does not have name, but it becomes clear that she is the embodiment of materialism and all negative aspects of this notion. When “she” meets him in the doorway, she stands between the two worlds, free life and the one where people get everything. “She” has everything she wants including boys, Mercedes Benz and Tiffany’s jewelry and precisely these things shows the capability of materialism to attract its victims by means of luxury and sham happiness. The listeners start to realize the real idea of the song after the words about “the prisoners”, immortal “beast” and the man’s try to escape. Unfortunately, it is impossible to escape, as once meddled in materialism and greediness, one cannot become free and independent over again.
The lyrics of the song Hotel California contain numerous symbolic images, which imply the issues of greed, materialism, culture, life, depression and unhappiness. Generally, hotel is the symbol of fame and the best thing that famous and rich people have. It appears as a “shimmering light” and seems to be the beginning of something good. The traveller is absorbed by the desire to get the “hotel” and cannot think clearly. As it was already mentioned, the person who meets him is the symbol of greed and the best of things. When the guest decides to enter the hotel, he leaved behind his free life and becomes the prisoner of luxury. The chorus of the song also give a hint, that there is no way out. Besides, one may interpret the words “lovely face” as the reference to the fact, that only good-looking people have chances to get everything. All the luxurious items, like pink champagne or Mercedes-Benz, symbolize status and wealth, which are the results of fame and greed. However, it is obvious, that not all people are satisfied with the situation as “some dance to remember, and some dance to forget”. In this way, some dance to remember the life they had before and the way to fame and some try to forget it, realizing that nothing can be done to return to such life. Finally, the main hero’s try to escape is a symbol of realization, that the choice was wrong, but there is no way back and all that he can do nothing but grin and bear it. Fame and materialism, depicted in Hotel California, capture people but it is not impossible to escape from it. Thus, with the help of symbols, the writer portrays a person’s desire to have everything and the absence of chance to run and get back.
Apart from the plot and its meaning, the melody and arrangement create the appropriate atmosphere and arouse melancholic feelings about the blunders of society. The music in Hotel California is multilayer, so that the song sounds more vivid and loud. To my way of thinking, such a sounding intensifies the message and exaggerates every word of the song. Besides, a very important role in perception of the song is played by the intro and the fade. Long introduction, which differs not much from the rest of the song dispose to the general mood of the story. Even from the first chords, it is clear that the song is going to be not about happy time on the beach resort. The melody and its dynamics give a hint to the hidden ideas as well and when the listeners realize what the song is about, they pay attention to it no more, thinking about the issues touched upon. The long ending is also not meaningless. It seems, that it is used here to let people think about the message of the text, namely about the materialism and all the problems it can bring with.
Summing up, the Eagles’ Hotel California is one of the most famous rock songs. It has become popular due to the excellent music, melody and arrangement, meaningfulness of lyrics and importance of issues touched upon. This song inspires its listeners to think over the life, society, materialism, greediness and the fact that it is impossible to escape from wrong decisions.