Browne, Jackson / Lives in the Balance
Artist Browne, Jackson
Title Lives in the Balance
Format CD
Released 1986
Label Asylum
1. For America (5:12)
2. Soldier of Plenty (4:37)
3. In the Shape of a Heart (5:41)
4. Candy (4:12)
(Greg Copeland/Wally Stocker)
5. Lawless Avenues (5:41)
6. Lives in the Balance (4:18)
7. Till I Go Down (4:19)
8. Black And White (5:11)
Notes It's said that great artists find inspiration in life's trials and tribulations, and that sure helps us to understand Jackson Browne's twist into more political concerns with this album released in the mid 1980s amid the controversy over the possibility of American intervention in Latin America. While not all of the songs included here are overtly political, the tone and focus of the album is with the way such involvement with foreign interference (as Browne sees it) corrupts and undermines any attempts to solve our own problems here at home. From the opening lyrics of the title song (late in the song cycle) announcing "I've been waiting for something to happen/ In a week or a month or a year/ With the blood of the ink in the headlines/ And the sound of the crowd in my ear", Browne lets us know that this time out he isn't as interested in dreamy self-absorption so much as animated social action to stop the government from another catastrophe like Vietnam. Jackson Browne always uses the vehicle of his powerful songwriting and musical talents to advantage, and here it artfully carries his concern and message by way of some very memorable and provocative songs. So, while this is a very different album and a quite novel departure for Browne in terms of his previous work, the album itself is simply terrific. All of the songs here are good, but some are absolutely wonderful. I especially like "Lives In The Balance", "Candy", and "Lawless Avenues". I also really enjoy listening to "For America", and am stunned by the only truly personal and introspective song in the album, "In The Shape Of A Heart", which is another in the long line of such Browne efforts to mine his own relationships artistically. The song cycle ends with a soulful summary of sorts with "Black And White", which he reminds us, is not the way to best see and understand the world. I really like this album, and the artistic courage it took to release it. I highly recommend it for any and all Jackson Browne fans. Enjoy. Original Release Date: February 19, 1986 ~~~~~~~~~