So anachronistic is Joe Walsh that he not only celebrates how he's an "Analog Man in a digital world," he hires Jeff Lynne as his producer for his first solo album in 20 years. And, apart from the odd lyrical reference to an iPod or Walsh's ongoing recovery, Analog Man sounds
like it could have come out in 1992 and that's all due to Lynne, a man who makes a record in one particular way: crisp, clean, hook-laden, and sequenced so tightly there's no room to breathe. With no apparently irony, it sounds digital, not analog -- there's nothing greasy, even the James Gang's "Funk #49" has been given an immaculate 21st Century Digital Makeover and is now called "Funk 50" -- but it's been so long since Walsh has worked with a conscientious producer (this may be his first time, actually), he winds up reaping some benefit from such a controlled setting. Analog Man isn't rock & roll, not by a long shot, but rather a gleaming pop album in the vein of Full Moon Fever, a sound that suits Walsh's new sobriety. Perhaps he hits his recovery theme a little too hard -- a criticism that could also be leveled toward his songs about being an old fart -- but he sounds comfortable where he is and Lynne presents him in a shining, flattering light. As comebacks go, he could do a lot worse than this.