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The Pretender

Jackson Browne

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Album Review

On The Pretender, Jackson Browne took a step back from the precipice so well defined on his first three albums, but doing so didn't seem to make him feel any better. Employing a real producer, Jon Landau, for the first time, Browne made what sounded like a real contemporary rock record, but this made his songs less effective; the ersatz Mexican arrangement of "Linda Paloma" and the bouncy second half of "Daddy's Tune," with its horn charts and guitar solo, undercut the lyrics. The man who had delved so deeply into life's abyss on his earlier albums was in search of escape this time around, whether by crying ("Here Come Those Tears Again"), sleeping ("Sleep's Dark and Silent Gate"), or making peace with estranged love ones ("The Only Child," "Daddy's Tune"). None of it worked, however, and when Browne came to the final track — traditionally the place on his albums where he summed up his current philosophical stance — he delivered "The Pretender," a cynical, sarcastic treatise on moneygrubbing and the shallow life of the suburbs. Primarily inner-directed, the song's defeatist tone demands rejection, but it is also a quintessential statement of its time, the post-Watergate '70s; dire as that might be, you had to admire that kind of honesty, even as it made you wince.

Customer Reviews

Could be his best album ever!

Can't agree with the reviewer at all. I've owned this Jackson Browne album for over 30 years and rarely go a week without playing a track or two. Here Come Those Tears Again and The Pretender are absolute classic songs, beautiful arrangements and heartbreaking vocals. Jackson sings " I'm gonna be a happy idiot and struggle for the legal tender" and "I'm gonna put my dark glasses on, and we'll make love until our strength is gone"

Ignore the reviewer and give it a listen.

Biography

Born: 09 October 1948 in Heidelberg, Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In many ways, Jackson Browne was the quintessential sensitive California singer/songwriter of the early '70s. Only Joni Mitchell and James Taylor ranked alongside him in terms of influence, but neither artist tapped into the post-'60s Zeitgeist like Browne. While the majority of his classic '70s work was unflinchingly personal, it nevertheless provided a touchstone for a generation of maturing baby boomers coming to terms with adulthood. Not only did his introspective, literate lyrics strike a nerve,...
Full bio