Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Jackson Browne - Hold Out (1980)



  

Released June 1980

Recorded in Los Angeles

For some reason this album, from 1980, seems to have attracted critical scorn. God knows why. Personally, I think it is a superb album.

"Disco Apocalypse" is a funky slow burner, with a laid-back regular beat and the usual serious, intelligent and wise lyrics from Browne. Yes, there is a somewhat cheesy synthesiser riff but, as always the hooks are absolutely instant and catchy. Browne is almost sending up the whole lightweight disco scene by having disco influences on this often cynical song. Admittedly it is a somewhat bizarre song, but it has many hidden depths. "Hold Out" is up there with the best songs Jackson Browne has ever written - moving, melodic and with one hell of a guitar solo too. "That Girl Could Sing" is a lively, staccato rock-ish number with some solid, clunky guitar riffs.

"Boulevard" has a storming guitar riff intro. This is one of Browne's best rocking tracks. "Of Missing Persons" has some excellent slide-style guitar and a lovely vocal from Browne. Nobody does this sort of song better than him. Apparently it was written about the departed Little Feat main man, Lowell George. Quite why some are underwhelmed by this album is beyond me. The guitar on the song is magnificent. "Call It A Loan" is lovely too, moving and melodic. Just a really appealing song, with a great lyric and yet more sublime guitar. The end solo is just wonderful.

"Hold On Hold Out" is, as is often the case on Jackson Browne albums, a sheer monster of a track to close the album. Packed full of emotive, sad lyrics, great melodies, wonderful changes of pace and of course, that ubiquitous killer guitar. It is an absolute copper-bottomed Browne classic. My one complaint about this album is, at only seven tracks, it is too short.

B-

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