Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Jackson Browne - World In Motion (1989)

When the stone begins to turn....

  

Released June 1989

From the mid-eighties, Jackson Browne's output had become increasingly political. Here he went full on down the "message" road, which irked some, but was fine by me as I agreed with what he had to say. It was not all political, however, despite perceived wisdom passed down by some critics. Much of it, though, is concerned with the future of our planet and that, as far as I am concerned, is no bad thing. Jackson Browne's heart has always been in the right place.

TRACK LISTING

1. World In Motion
2. Enough Of The Night
3. Chasing You Into The Light
4. How Long
5. Anything Can Happen
6. When The Stone Begins To Turn
7. The Word Justice
8. My Personal Revenge
9. I Am A Patriot
10. Lights And Virtues                                

World In Motion is a slow burning, eighties production chugger, full of synth-style drums and keyboard riffs. The vocals are actually a little indistinct against the crashing backing. There is some impressive, industrial guitar backing though. It is a track that demands a few listens, though. Enough Of The Night is actually a romantically-driven song, so it is not all political stuff on here. It has a captivating, percussive. rhythmic Paul Simon-esque backing. Chasing You Into The Light is another rocking love song, with Springsteen-esque hints in its beat and lyrical content, particularly also on the rock 'n' roll guitar parts.


How Long is a plaintive song questioning the necessity of keeping nuclear weapons, sung against an atmospheric acoustic guitar, keyboard and drum backing. It is a sad, mournful, though-provoking song that is actually pretty depressing if you think of the stark reality of the subject matter. Anything Can Happen similar, a yearning song about people disappearing and the problems of an unstable world in general.

When The Stone Begins To Turn is an appealing, punchy slice of white reggae, played pretty convincingly, even including some dubby passages, as Browne sings of "justice for Nelson Mandela",  as he looks forward to the collapse of apartheid. There are also some backing vocals from iconic Malian musician Salif Keita which are most atmospheric. The Word Justice is a staccato rock number full of cutting guitar and lyrics about political corruption and dictatorships. My Personal Revenge has some Latin-influenced acoustic guitar and some Andean pipes backing Browne as he bares his soul honestly and sincerely. The songs on here are meaningful, hard-hitting, yet also beautiful. There is no criticism of them from me.

The reggae rhythms are back, slightly, on the cover of Steven Van Zandt's evocative and uplifting I Am A Patriot, an optimistic yet cynical, almost apolitical protest song. The album ends with the pleasing, mid pace rock tones of Lights And Virtues which is packed with excellent guitar. Overall, this was a thought-provoking, sincerely-created album that gains my admiration and respect.

B

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