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Late for the Sky

1 rating: 5.0
The 1974 album by Jackson Browne

Late for the Sky is the third album by American singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, released in 1974.      Late for the Sky was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975, but did not win. It peaked at #14 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart. … see full wiki

1 review about Late for the Sky

Late for the 70s? This album will take you there...

  • Jul 8, 2009
  • by
I don't remember the 70s. Not for the reasons people usually cite--no, I was busy being conceived and born.

But I can relate to a lot of it, particularly the whole early-70s-Southern-California-singer/songwriter scene peopled by musicians like Neil Young, Warren Zevon, and Jackson Browne. The narcissism, the alcoholism, the world-weary cynicism--these are my people, and their stories are my stories. And Late for the Sky is one of the very best albums any of them recorded.

During his speech inducting Jackson Browne into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, Bruce Springsteen said that Browne wrote the songs that the Eagles wished they'd written. It's a telling judgment--the Eagles aren't terrible, but they aren't great either; you understand their songs the first time you hear them, and that understanding never deepens. Whereas these songs are everything great music should be--complicated and deep, but still accessible; great on the first listen, but even better on the tenth.

There's a beautiful liquid simplicity to Browne's guitar playing; the songs sound fat and juicy and delicious, but easily digestible. Still, it is the lyrics that keep me coming back. The Eagles sang for others, and at them, and it shows in the superficiality and judgment of songs like "Witchy Woman" and "Desperado". But Browne sings for himself, and with such honesty and thoroughness that it feels like he's singing for all of us--or at least for me. (When he describes "the hollow sound of your own steps in flight," I can relate. When he speaks of having a "world of illusion and fantasy in the place where the real world belongs," I can relate. And Lord help me, but when he sings to a soon-to-be-ex-lover: "I don't know what you loved in me...maybe the picture of somebody you were hoping I might be," I can most definitely relate.) These are conversations I've had, and these are lies I've told--the most dangerous lies of all, the kind that I thought were the truth, because I told them to myself too, and believed them.

Springsteen not only called this "Jackson's masterpiece," he also called it "essential in making sense of the times." I couldn't agree more--this is one of the best albums of the 70s, period--but it is more timeless than that, far too full of heart and soul to be a mere document or period piece. Whether or not this album ever finds the respect it deserves in the 70s music pantheon, I'll still be listening to it when I'm in my 70s. To paraphrase and invert yet another singer/songwriter: I really think these songs are about me.
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August 18, 2009
LOL at your first sentence!  I was pretty darn late for the 70's, by about a few years, but if this album will teleport me there, I'm down.  I don't know if I've ever heard anything from this album before... maybe?  I'll have to check it out.  Thanks for introducing me to Jackson Browne!
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Jackson Browne Late for the sky
Release Date: September 1974
Label: Asylum
Artist: Jackson Browne

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