Browne, Jackson - 1986 Lives In The Balance

edited August 2 in year-1986

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ARTIST: Browne, Jackson
ALBUM: Lives In The Balance
LABEL: Asylum
SERIAL: 9 60457-2
YEAR: 1986

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Jackson Browne - vocals, guitars, main performer Various Musicians (refer Wikipedia)

TRACK LISTING: 01 For America * 02 Soldier Of Plenty * 03 In The Shape Of A Heart * 04 Candy * 05 Lawless Avenues * 06 Lives In The Balance * 07 Till I Go Down * 08 Black And White

Background

While far from an AOR magnate, Browne has stamped his name to many classic rock tracks over the past 4 decades, many of which are still heard to this day on radio.

In 1980 Browne showed his increasing melodic rock output on 'Hold Out', followed by the classic 'Somebody's Baby' single from 1982.

Browne followed this up with 1983's 'Lawyers In Love', but took a three year break before returning with this politically inspired album which contains some excellent AOR flavoured moments.

Browne was joined by dozens upon dozens of scene luminaries, and names like Lukather, Jai Winding, Danny Kortchmar, Gary Myrick and Ian McLagen appear on the albums credits (refer above Wikipedia link).

The Songs

'For America' is one of the best songs Browne ever recorded, filled with stunning melodic guitar fills and overall melody in general. Browne is heard criticising his nations leaders in the lyrics, but the music is outstanding and this is worth hearing by itself.

High tech keyboard effects dominate 'Solider Of Plenty' and the following title track is an emotional piece of AOR regarding Browne's personal life which is more in keeping with his past musically.

'Candy' is equally as effective and this is material on the level of Rick Springfield, down to the song structure and precision in the synths and guitar depts.

'Lawless Avenue' is a more upbeat rocker on par with Huey Lewis in 86, but Browne returns to his political agenda for the title track and it's pipe pan and flute use, which suggest Browne was upset about the upheavals in Central America and the US involvement.

There's a reggae tint to 'Till I Go Down', where Browne has a few choice words for old Ronald Reagan, 'the leader with the allegiance to the dollar bill'.

The album ends in outstanding style, 'Black And White' an impassioned cry by Browne, who really packs a punch with the drama of the music.

It overshadows whatever it is he is preaching, particularly the guitar solo.

In Summary

This is certainly worth investigating for those who might have never expected such an album from a guy like Browne who is still lumped into the 70's singer songwriter scene for some reason.

This album was a success, number 23 on the charts, with 'For America' reaching no 30 in its own right.

The last 23 years have yielded only five more albums from Browne, but his reputation had been sealed a long time before.

Check this out to see what Browne was capable of during the golden age of melodic rock.


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