Jackson Browne – I´ m Alive (1993)

FrontCover1I’m Alive is the tenth album by American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, released in 1993 (see 1993 in music). The title track, “I’m Alive”, reached No. 18 on the Album Rock Tracks chart and No. 28 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Other singles released from the album were “Everywhere I Go” (UK No. 67) and “Sky Blue and Black”.

After veering heavily towards songs of a political nature on his two previous albums, longtime fans of Browne welcomed the return on I’m Alive to his previous style of songwriting.

The song “Too Many Angels” includes backing vocals by Jennifer Warnes, Valerie Carter, Doug Haywood, Katia Cardinal and Ryan Browne while the song “All Good Things” includes backing vocals by David Crosby and Don Henley. The song “Sky Blue and Black” was also featured in the pilot episode of American situation comedy Friends.

I’m Alive was considered somewhat of a comeback for Browne. Stephen Holden writing for The New York Times wrote “I’m Alive is a striking return to the kind of romantic subject matter that the Los Angeles singer and songwriter seemed to have abandoned after 1980 in favor of political songwriting. His finest album in nearly two decades, it has much in common with his 1974 masterpiece, Late For The Sky, whose songs also described the disintegration of a relationship.”

Singles

Critic William Ruhlman agreed though did not consider the album as strong. “Longtime fans welcomed the album as a return in style… Browne eschewed the greater philosophical implications of romance and, falling back on stock imagery (angels, rain), failed to achieve an originality of expression. While it was good news that he wasn’t tilting at windmills anymore, Browne did not make a full comeback with the album, despite a couple of well-constructed songs.” The Rolling Stone Record Guide wrote Browne “returned to his forte: the personal joy and agony of day-to-day human interaction.”

In the original Rolling Stone review for the album from 1993, Kara Manning expressed the belief that “Browne has successfully managed to resurrect his persona of 20 years ago. I’m Alive shudders with the pain of someone who’s been soundly dumped. And Browne has even gained a sense of gallows humor. Between despondent cries for reconciliation, the singer indulges in refreshingly silly self-deprecation.” However, she wondered, “what does a younger, angrier generation – raging to Dr. Dre and Nirvana – make of all this? But ’70s nostalgia is on a roll…”

Labels

Jackson Browne abandoned politics for the war between the sexes on I’m Alive. “I have no problem with this crooked world,” he sang; “…My problem is you.” The album detailed the ups and downs of a relationship, starting with the defiant post-breakup title track and then doubling back to describe irritation (“My Problem Is You”), devotion (“Everywhere I Go,” “I’ll Do Anything”), increasing tension (“Miles Away,” “Too Many Angels”), separation (“Take This Rain,” “Two of Me, Two of You”), forgiveness (“Sky Blue and Black”), and finally acceptance (“All Good Things”).

Longtime fans welcomed the album as a return in style to the days of Late for the Sky, but a closer model might have been Hold Out, a complementary album concerned with the flowering of an affair rather than the withering of one, since Browne eschewed the greater philosophical implications of romance and, falling back on stock imagery (angels, rain), failed to achieve an originality of expression. Just as, in Hold Out, one wasn’t so much inspired as informed that Browne had found love, on I’m Alive, one wasn’t so much moved as told that he’d lost it. While it was good news that he wasn’t tilting at windmills anymore, Browne did not make a full comeback with the album, despite a couple of well-constructed songs. (by William Ruhlmann)

Jackson Browne

Personnel:
Jackson Browne (guitar, guitar, piano, vocals, background vocals)
Mike Campbell (guitar)
Lenny Castro (percussion)
Luis Conte (percussion)
Mark Goldenberg (guitar)
James “Hutch” Hutchinson (bass)
Jim Keltner (drums)
John Leventhal (guitar)
Mauricio-Fritz Lewak – drums
David Lindley (bouzouki, guitar, oud)
Kevin McCormick (bass)
Dean Parks (guitar)
Benmont Tench (organ)
Scott Thurston (guitar, keyboards, background vocals)
Waddy Wachtel (guitar)
Jai Winding (piano)
+
background vocals:
Sweet Pea Atkinson – Sir Harry Bowens – Ryan Browne – Katia Cardenal – Valerie Carter – David Crosby – William “Bill” Greene – Doug Haywood – Don Henley – Arnold McCuller – Jennifer Warnes – Steven Soles –

Booklet06

Tracklist:
01. I’m Alive 5.01
02. My Problem Is You 4.40
03. Everywhere I Go 4.36
04. I’ll Do Anything” – 4:31
05. Miles Away 3.52
06. Too Many Angels 6.04
07. Take This Rain 4.49
08. Two Of Me, Two Of You 2.56
09. Sky Blue And Black 6.06
10. All Good Things 4.28

All songs qwritten by Jackson Browne

CD1

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In the calling out to one another
Of the lovers up and down the strand
In the sound of the waves and the cries
Of the seagulls circling the sand
In the fragments of the songs
Carried down the wind from some radio
In the murmuring of the city in the distance
Ominous and low
I hear the sound of the world where we played
And the far too simple beauty of the promises we made
If you ever need holding
Call my name, and I’ll be there
If you ever need holding
And no holding back, I’ll see you through
Sky blue and black
Where the touch of the lover ends
And the soul of the friend begins
There’s a need to be separate and a need to be one
And a struggle neither wins
But you gave me the world I was in
And a place I could make a stand
I could…
Yeah, and I was much younger then
And I must have thought that I would know
If things were going to end
And the heavens were rolling
Like a wheel on a track
And our sky was unfolding
And it’ll never fold back
Sky blue and black
And I’d have fought the world for you
(I’d have fought the world for you)
If I thought that you wanted me to
Or put aside what was true or untrue (true or untrue)
If I’d know that’s what you needed
What you needed me to do
But the moment has passed by me now
You have put away my pride
And just come through for you somehow
If you ever need holding
Call my name, I’ll be there
If you ever need holding
And no holding back, I’ll see you through
You’re the color of the sky
Reflected in each store-front window pane
You’re the whispering and the sighing of my tires in the rain
You’re the hidden cost and the thing that’s lost
In everything I do
Yeah and I’ll never stop looking for you
In the sunlight and the shadows
And the faces on the avenue
That’s the way love is
That’s the way love is
That’s the way love is
Sky, sky blue and black

3 thoughts on “Jackson Browne – I´ m Alive (1993)

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