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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 13 February 2001
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.
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on 12 November 2007
Released shortly after his first wifes suicide this dark masterpiece is tinged with genius and sadness. A self examination of a man who sounds to me to be at breaking point. It kicks off with "The Fuse", an embittered prayer reminding us of the fragility of life and what lies ahead. Followed by the hollow optimism of your bright baby blues, we are soon back to rock bottom with "Here come those tears again", co-written by his first wife's mother a model of how to exercise grief. Move quickly through the "only child" and "Daddy's Tune" to "Sleeps Dark and Silent Gate" which sails magnificently on to the title track "The Pretender"back from the depths to some hope and optimism. I love this album, however, when ever I play it, my life's not where I wish it was, but its the best album to help drag you out of the hopelessness.
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on 30 May 2009
I recently took my son to see Jackson Browne playing at the Royal Albert Hall. Beforehand, this was one of four CD's I ordered to refresh my memories. The mellow, easy listening sound generated by this most gifted musician doesn't sound dated in the 21st century.... in fact, it sounds even better than I remembered. Find a quiet space where you can listen to it without interruption. You'll be transported somewhere else.
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on 23 November 2006
My favorite jackson Browne album is I'm alive but i fully recognise this as Jackson Browne at his pinacle. thIS was one of the first albums i ever bought for myself. My dad used to force feed me this album as i was growing up i think mainly becasue he was a massive Little Feat fan , Lowell George plays with Browne on 'your bright baby blues.' This track does have to be one of the best on the album - . Jackson has to be one of the best lyricists ever as he has an extroadinary talent of relating ecxactly how he feels in such a poetic way. ONe line that particularly stays with me is when he is talking about drug addiction -

That feeling of peace

This friend of mine said

"Close your eyes, and try a few of these"

I thought I flying like a bird

So far above my sorrow

But when I looked down

I was standing on my knees

Now I need someone to help me

Someone to help me please

However this album doesn't not just boast beautiful lyrics but awesome melodies, harmonies and arrangements. THe stunning use of the harp on Linda Paloma, the superb title track Pretender and the haunting 'Sleeps dark and silent gate' are amongst other highlights. THis album does not have a bad track on it and boasts excellent longevity as you will discovering new beauty with every listen. THis album has carried me through some hard and good times and now is the musical version of a big loving hug.

Please give this one a listen.
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on 2 January 2010
One thing he ain't is a Pretender - he is the real deal and this is a masterpiece of an album. If the title track doesn't move you to tears you should get yourself checked out somewhere. If you are a true music lover you will love this. 5 stars doesn't seem anywhere near enough. Not to be missed.
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on 14 May 2004
Often called (with respect to "Late for the Sky") Jackson's second-best effort, I beg to differ. Assembled in the aftermath of his partner's suicide, this album contains moments of raw emotion that will make the hairs rise on the back of your neck. Sidesman David Lindley plays a wailing steel guitar, and the album also features vignettes from Bonnie Raitt and the sadly-missed Lowell George. The closing track, The Pretender, is an absolute classic. If you get the chance to hear him in concert, call out for this one.
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on 10 August 2013
A very good condition 'used' CD at a very good, low, cost. A CD version of an early, 'famous', Jackson Browne album of tracks that established him as one of the best singer-songwriters of his era; supported by a group of top musicians.
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on 15 July 2014
Jackson Browne made a series of great albums during the first half of the seventies . This is the last great one before the preaching started . Brilliantly produced by Jon Landau , it stands as a prime example of the extraordinary stuff which seemed to flow from Californian studios in those days . Every song is a gem and he sings them beautifully . The West Coast seemed to have a golden generation of session men who could produce immaculate sounds at the drop of a hat . Sit between your speakers and marvel at the guitars of of Fred Tackett and Waddy Wachtel coming at you from the left and right respectively on Daddy's Tune. Probably not as good as Running On Empty but you can barely squeeze a bus ticket between them .
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on 16 November 2013
Great album to own - endless plays show it as a timeless classic. I've been listening to Jackson Browne since a teenager and never tire of his immaculate voice.
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on 16 September 2000
If you like nice melodies and lyrics that actually mean something, then this album is a must! Although the lyrics are somewhat depressing at times, I find the tunes amazingly uplifting. From the relaxing "Sleeps dark and silent gate" to the spanish style "Linda Paloma"- Every single song is wonderful and very different. Plus Jackson Browne has the smoothest, most fantastic singing voice ever!
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