First Appeared in The Music Box, May 1996, Volume 3, #3
Written by John Metzger
Jackson Browne's Looking East is an inferior follow-up to his1993 gem I'm Alive. While every song on the earlier release is an example of Browne at his best, only I'm the Cat from his latest effort manages to achieve a lasting impression. Not that this is a bad outing. It's still far better than most of his output from the '80s. Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench from The Heartbreakers, long-time collaborator David Lindley, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, and David Crosby all make appearances throughout the album, but even they can't seem to help Browne take his songs to the next level.
Information Wars is a haunting political statement that cleverly mixes advertising slogans among the lyrics to deliver Browne's message. It Is One picks up the reggae beat where 1993's Everywhere I Go leaves off, but this time the message is different. Instead of pondering relationships, Browne returns to his worldly diatribes and sermons, and every time that he makes a political statement, his music suffers for it. Had this album preceded I'm Alive, it might not have fared so poorly. It just seems as if Looking East is a compilation of leftovers, and as a result, it feels less inspired.
Looking East is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1996 The Music Box