Monday, January 14, 2013
Jackson Browne - The Pretender
I was loving The Pretender and thinking that Jackson Browne could do no wrong, and then I heard Late For the Sky, which showed that The Pretender is not his best. It's certainly a very good album, but Late For the Sky is all time great whereas The Pretender is merely very good.
The song that tells the tale of the difference between the only two Jackson Browne albums I own better than any other is "Linda Paloma." "Linda Paloma" is a fake Mexican knockoff of a tune. Its mariachi-esque arrangement attempts to mask the fact that it's really not that great of a song. While it's the only song I truly dislike on The Pretender, there's no "Linda Paloma" on Late for the Sky.
The Pretender is a solid Jackson Browne album that suffers slightly in comparison with the very best that the man has ever done. There are plenty of great tracks on this album, not least of which is the title track which belies a bunch of 1970s-style disenfranchisement. Jackson Browne is a master at putting loneliness, disfranchisement, and heartache to music. While he strays a bit from his formula on this album, the moments in which he follows it are highly enjoyable.