Lives in the Balance


Song Lyrics

On Browne's recent Lives In The Balance album, sharply etched political songs question cultural imperialism, foreign policy and the current state of the American Dream.

Richard Harrington, Washington Post, June 18, 1986.

First single, "For America," is indicative of the collection's tone-staunchly anti-war and embittered by the sense of ironic betrayal that characterized political songwriting during the Nixon years.

Billboard, March 1, 1986

Browne draws strength from rock as if it were a religion. His phrasing is concise; his arrangements and melodies are terse and memorable; his production is uncluttered. These musical and lyrical gains define Lives in the Balance, but Browne hasn't completely abandoned the love songs with which he's made a lucrative career. "In the Shape of a Heart," when Browne finds the right couplets, rhyming "I guess I never knew/What she was talking about" with "I guess I never knew/What she was living without," he nails heartbreak to the wall and sends his listeners scurrying for the Kleenex. Browne didn't place an image of the Statue of Liberty on the cover of his album just so he could jump on the Rambo express. He implies throughout the album that, like the statue, we're all weather-beaten and in need of some reconstruction. Jackson Browne no longer believes he can change the world - the closing "Black and White" is drenched in defeatism - but he doesn't use his fatalism as a crutch or a reason to quit. Sure, time's running out, but it's not over yet. (RS 471)

Jimmy Gutterman, Rolling Stone