A funny thing happened after the Eagles broke up in 1980: People started to miss them. A lot. Such was the intensity of the cosmic Eagles hunger that the band's 1971-75 hits collection has become the best-selling U.S. album ever an achievement that made the new-country rockers' reunion in '94 almost inevitable.
Thirteen years after that frigid day in Hades (and the subsequent release, Hell Freezes Over, with its four new tracks), along comes Long Road Out of Eden, the group's first studio album since 1979's The Long Run. In truth, Road all two CDs of it is a sleekly enjoyable follow-up to Run. (Members of that last incarnation, minus guitarist Don Felder, appear here.) Except for references to cell phones or the current war, it's so sonically and lyrically in sync with the ol' Eagles oeuvre, the past quarter century may as well not have happened.
Disc 1, dominated by wispy tunes with titles like ''Waiting in the Weeds,'' is geared to those jonesing for the boys' trademark purty, plaintive harmonies. Disc 2 features harder-rocking fare, such as ''Frail Grasp on the Big Picture,'' in which resident cynic Don Henley delivers homilies in the vein of ''And we pray to our Lord/Who we know is American.... He supports us in war/He presides over football games.'' Bitter or sweet, the Eagles sidestep self-parody, serving up the rarest of musical blends: freshly brewed nostalgia you'll actually want to savor. B
DOWNLOAD THIS: Hear a preview of ''Busy Being Fabulous'' at the Eagles' MySpace page.