By Chris Tate, Music Reporter
A lot has changed in the last six years. For Jackson Browne, things are all too similar to how they were 50 years ago. Love, hate and conflict has always dominated his music, and his latest offering, Standing in the Breach, touches on all these points.
It seems all too easy for an experienced artist to slip into the retirement era of their music. Where there was once hits and inspiration, there sits uninspiring album fillers that give way to an excuse for a world tour, where, of course, all the money lies. Not Jackson Browne. It’s never been about the hit singles for him, rather the artistic album and what it stands for.
The album opens with ‘The Birds of St Marks’, a song written back when Jackson Browne was a little know 18-year-old songwriter, playing guitar to earn a living and only dreaming of stardom. In fact, this isn’t the only time on the album Jackson revisits old ground. ‘Leaving Winslow’ marks a return to the Arizonian town from one of his most famous hits, ‘Take it Easy’. Coupled with ‘The Long Way Round’, it’s safe to say the album starts with Jackson reminiscing about times that have passed by.
As he reflects, the album moves forward, looking at the events we are currently living through. Conflict repeats on ‘If I Could Be Anywhere’ and ‘Which Side’, whilst a move up tempo for the country-inspired ‘You Know The Night’ shows the softer side we first heard on his 1982 single, ‘Somebody’s Baby’. Browne slows down for the final two songs of the album, ‘Standing In The Breach’ and ‘Here’ – both stand out as the two most powerful songs and could have been plucked from any point in his huge back catalogue.
This album proves that Jackson Browne is an artist who will never reach his destination. The world is forever changing and whilst it does, there will always be inspiration for the singer-songwriter. We can only hope that there will be a Jackson Browne for the world to hear for a long time to come.