Paradise Lost: Lahaina and The Last Resort
On mourning the tragic loss of a community and grasping an underlying message through song
When I was young, years before I knew where Lahaina was, and decades before I’d meet my wife of Hawaiian descent, I fell in love with a song by The Eagles called “The Last Resort.”
In a nutshell, my interpretation of this swelling ballad is that it depicts the metaphorical human search for paradise, and contrasts it against the harsh reality that any such utopia, once discovered, straight away becomes debased and corrupted by the avarice and hubris of man.
This past week, as raging wildfires fueled by hurricane-force winds tragically decimated the beautiful Western region of Maui—specifically the historic community of Lahaina—I was heartbroken to witness this devastation, and was instantly reminded of this song, it’s mention of Lahaina, and especially it’s latent message.
For context, the last several verses of “The Last Resort” perhaps read more like an ugly lesson from history than the lyrics of a beautiful song:
Some rich men came and raped the land, Nobody caug…