The True Meaning of Hotel California

Much hay has been made over the haunting and mysterious lyrics of the classic Eagles song. Ever since its release in in the 70s, people have wanted to know: Where is the real Hotel California? (Nowhere.) Isn’t the song a tribute to Satanism? (No.) What is the song, like, about? Continuing the theme of desert rock (this one a ballad), I’ve decided to try my hand at some good old-fashioned literary analysis. While it is very tempting to do it completely tongue-in-cheek, I’ve decided to take it at face value.

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair 
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air 

Don Henley, our protagonist, is driving aimlessly into the midnight void of the Mojave desert, high on colitas. He may or may not have his hair pulled back, with his Wayfarers on. (Note: it is reported that while “colitas” are a desert flower with a warm, heady aroma, the term is also the Mexican slang term for the buds of the cannabis plant.)

Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night 

Research indicates that the real “Hotel California” was probably a Texaco station off of I-40. He needed some 5-hour energy and Corn Nuts.

There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
‘This could be Heaven or this could be Hell’ 

Mission bell? More likely it was actually a Taco Bell. Whatever the case, he definitely has the munchies. Taco Bell – tastes like heaven going in, feels like hell coming out.

Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say… 

Welcome to the Hotel California 
Such a lovely place 
Such a lovely face 
Plenty of room at the Hotel California 
Any time of year, you can find it here 

Full-on hallucinations induced by dehydration and severe intestinal distress.

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes-Benz
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget 

Henley’s hallucinations reveal the inner truth that his surrounding culture is embarrassingly shallow and narcissistic. They’re too caught up in the moment to realize that their life is an empty, fleeting waste of dining room foxtrots and minuets.

So I called up the Captain,
‘Please bring me my wine’
He said, ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine’ 

Captain Morgan is manning the drive-through speaker box wearing Navajo beads and an oversized tie-dye souvenir t-shirt from Woodstock.  Henley has to remember that the dream really has died, man.

And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say… 

Welcome to the Hotel California 
Such a lovely place 
Such a lovely face 
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California 
What a nice surprise, bring your alibis 

The effects of a Taco Bell overdose can lead to flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and sleeplessness. One often needs an alibi to explain why he even ate Taco Bell.

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said ‘We are all just prisoners here, of our own device’ 

The mirrors on the ceiling are those round security mirrors in the upper corner of many Taco Bell establishments. Most scholars agree that the “pink champagne on ice” is the earliest known cultural reference to Mountain Dew Baja Blast.

And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
The stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast 

It could have been steely knives, or it could have been those plastic sporks that can’t even cut a Grilled Stuffed Burrito into bite-size pieces, much less kill a beast.

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
‘Relax,’ said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
but you can never leave!

 The more you try to resist, the more you just keep coming back for Fourthmeal. Programmed to receive!

Live Mas.


2 thoughts on “The True Meaning of Hotel California

  1. KHM says:

    This was hilarious. I especially enjoyed the culturally confused imagery of Cpt. Morgan. Bravo!

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