This was the first Jackson Browne album I bought,having seen him on an "Old Grey Whistle Test" concert special, and it remains (probably) my favourite,for several reasons. First of all,the production by Jon Landau. It represents a much harder sound than he had created on previous albums, and the folkesy intimacy of these was definitely absent. Some fans will have found this to seem a sell-out to mainstream,radio-friendly AOR, but I don't think the result represents any sort of compromise;merely a more "produced" record, where the arrangements never take over from the songs themselves,which were so strong that a heavy-handed production would have hidden the quality of the set. I believe that,even with the simpler production qualities of the earlier records,"The Pretender" would still have been Jackson Browne's finest and most unified body of work to that date. It's pointless to mention individual tracks, as I honestly couldn't pick one over others on this LP. This is simply a superbly crafted album, and for me represents a flawless achievement and a hugely satisfying musical and lyrical experience,as moving as it is exhilarating and profound. The personal tragedy which formed the backdrop to the making of this record undoubtedly pervades the songs, but there is no tendency to self-indulgent introspection. The writer simply asks the same questions that we all,at some point find ourselves asking...usually late at night, which is my favourite time for listening to this record.One of my all-time favourites,without a doubt,by the greatest singer-songwriter of his generation.