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Articles Home » 1986 Articles » Browne, Jackson - 1986 Lives In The Balance
Browne, Jackson - 1986 Lives In The Balance

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


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


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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#1 | jeffduran on April 02 2009 10:15:03
Agree as always with the great Alun who proves once again a CLASSIC ROCK artist like BROWNE'S Best years were beyond the NO NUKES claptrap. Also dead on is "Somebody's Baby" from four years earlier, an AOR classic IMO.
#2 | gdazegod on April 02 2009 12:41:23
This is rather good. I was reminded of this by Danny Kortchmar's album which Alun reviewed just prior to this. What other incredible discoveries are in store for us I wonder? Hope your jaunt in Iraq doesn't hinder your reviewing Alun.. guns
#3 | Jez on April 03 2009 02:55:14
I love 'In The Shape Of A Heart' especially off this album and it remains one of my fave Jackson Browne songs. The rest is pretty damned good aswell it must be said
#4 | richardb on April 17 2009 21:13:57
If you're interested in checking out his more AOR moments. 'Hold out' (the track 'Boulevard' especially)and 'Lawyers in love' are equally worthy of investigation. Then again I'd argue most of his back catalogue is essential.

Richard B Thumbs Up
#5 | reyno-roxx on April 20 2009 17:51:39
'World In Motion' is my particular favourite.
#6 | trillion1999 on October 19 2011 17:44:20
I love the title-track.For America sounded totally AOR when I first heard it.In The Shape Of A Heart another good one.I bought the vinyl when it was released.To this day only have Running On Empty on CD.I need to have it all.It seems all his albums have great songs.
#7 | AOR Lee on May 29 2013 16:34:34
This is a strong AOR disc, as Alun points out. For America one of the best tracks ever recorded, in any genre
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