The Very Best of Jackson Browne
The career-spanning double-disc Very Best of Jackson Browne is both generous and astute. Throughout the '70s, Browne epitomized the
confessional singer-songwriter genre: His songs were often introspective, personal, and poetic, tinged with melancholy and longing-but they could also rock, albeit in that laid-back, California way. Beginning with the soulful "Doctor My Eyes," the first disc covers the classics from the '70s, including the twangy "Take It Easy," which Browne wrote with Glenn Frey, whose Eagles had a hit with it; the wistful "These Days," covered first by Nico and more recently by Paul Westerberg; the touching "Fountain of Sorrow"; and the desperate "The Pretender." Browne reached his commercial pinnacle with 1977's Running on Empty, and "The Load-Out," "Stay," and the title track were Top 40 hits. In the '80s, Browne's work became more political, and while his albums could seem strident, the songs that make up the second disc, such as "Lives in the Balance" and "Lawyers in Love," are powerful and sharp. The set ends with tracks from 2002's The Naked Ride Home, which was hailed as Browne's return to form. The Very Best of Jackson Browne argues otherwise: Browne's consistently insightful and precise writing and his sincere voice have been constants for three decades.