Time the Conqueror
Though Jackson Browne made his reputation in the 1970s as a sensitive Southern California singer-songwriter, he has always infused his music with an environmental and social consciousness that eventually tipped towards the outwardly political in the 1980s. Though in the ensuing decades he has slowed his output considerably, Browne still writes with great care and precision. He makes pointed attacks at current world situations (the ominous extended modest funk that haunts the Katrina-concerned “Where Were You,” the soulful menace of “The Drums of War”), yet still manages to express a sense of hope and wonder. Sometimes it’s the nostalgia underpinning “Off of Wonderland,” where the 1960s bounce between the optimism of soon to be pursued dreams and the uncertain dangers lurking, or the smooth balladry of “Going Down to Cuba,” a trip made before the U.S. embargo. He explores the carnal side that’s left after a day of fretting over the world situations (“Just Say Yeah,” “Live Nude Cabaret”). Browne doesn’t attempt any real musical surprises; he’s just checking in and letting us know where he’s at as he notices how time marches on.