essentially sat out his '90s recording contract, waiting until he could sign to another label that would allow him greater artistic freedom and royalties. He finally signed to Warner and released his fourth solo album, Inside Job
, in the spring of 2000. Considering his long absence from recording, it shouldn't come as a total surprise that the album sounds as if it could have been cut in 1990 or even 1986 (check out the obnoxious synth solo on the opening track). That is not entirely a bad thing, however. It would have been rather embarrassing if Henley
was trying to run with the young boys, and he sounds very comfortable settling into a role that is something less than an old master and something more than a crotchety old-timer. It falls somewhere between that, since his simmering anger -- always apparent but raised to the surface on his solo records -- still can be heard, which makes him seem a little cranky on occasion, when he gets carried away with his temper. For the most part, though, he sounds relaxed, comfortable, and reflective on Inside Job
, more so than he ever has. The heart of the record is in the slower numbers, where he honestly lays out his feelings about his new love and marriage. Whenever he sticks to personal relationships, and thereby gentler music, Inside Job
stays winning. It's brought down when he steps up to the podium to rail against the modern world, but this isn't quite enough to sink the record. Inside Job
lacks the melodic craftsmanship that made Building the Perfect Beast
a blockbuster, and it isn't as focused as The End of the Innocence
, but it is a solid comeback record from an artist who spent a little too long out of the spotlight.