(NOTE: Music That Sucks is the correct opinion of the author. If you disagree then your musical tastes are running on empty.)
The phenomenon known as Clit Rock has been around since the days of Frankie Valli's Four Seasons (MTS #37), but it's heyday didn't really take place until the mid-'70's/early '80's. Foregoing your manhood and being a sensitive pussy was very much in vogue back in those days with the advent of equal rights for women. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for equal rights and believe the ERA should have passed through Congress; what I'm not for is a bunch of pansy-assed do-gooders trading in their cocks for twats like M*A*S*H tv star Alan Alda did, or for that matter James Taylor.
Jackson Browne is in the same category of James Taylor, a straight-up douche bag that was billed as a "sensitive" artist in touch with his feminine side. Born eight years to the day after the great John Lennon (10/9/48) on the democratic side of the Berlin Wall, Browne's family moved to L.A. while he still a toddler. As a teenager he took an interest in folk music; not the kind of folk music that could could be a powerful, effective tool in making people think like, say Bob Dylan was doing, no siree. I'm talking about the kind of folk music that is so dishwater bland, so downright wimpy you'd think that the artist needs to change his tampon.
While performing within the L.A. folk circuit in 1966, Browne was introduced to and invited to join pseudo-folk/rock band the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The love affair did not last very long (Browne left the group within 6 months), but the group ended up recording a few of songs he had written for them on their first two albums. By 1967 Browne had singed with a publishing deal with Nina Records, a subsidiary of Elecktra Records. It was around this time that he moved to the Greenwich Village area of New York City, and a few of his songs found their way on the albums of such artists as Tom Rush, Steve Noonan, and Nico (three of Browne's songs were recorded for Nico's Chelsea Girl album). He wound up returning to L.A. in 1968, and tried to record a solo album as well as form a folk group with Ned Donehey and Jack Wilce. Browne instead went back on the club circuit, and started to get more well-known acts, such as Linda Rondstat and The Byrds recording his songs. By 1971 Browne had signed as a recording artist with Asylum Records, a small record label ran by a then unknown David Geffen.
In the spring of 1972 Asylum released Browne's self-titled debut album, which contained his first Top Ten hit, "Doctor My Eyes" (#8). Doctor, my fucking ears! This overrated waste of time is a great example of what I dislike about Browne; his monotone singing voice (the only way you can try to figure out what emotion he is trying to convey is by the melody of the song), his weak lyrics attempting to be more than skin deep, and the overall fagginess of it all. Shortly after "Doctor My Eyes" was at it's peak of popularity, douche bag supergroup and future MTS inductees The Eagles scored their first hit with "Take It Easy", a song Browne co-wrote with Eagles member Glen Frey. Despite that success of "Doctor My Eyes", Browne's debut album was considered a bust commercially: only reaching as high as #53 on the album charts.
Browne's sophmore debut, For Everyman (1973), which would have been better off with the more appropriate title For Everyman Without A Penis, was also a commercial failure. In 1974 Browne released his third album, Late For The Sky. It was with this album, despite no singles being released, that Browne started to gain a commercial following. Late For The Sky peaked at #14 on the album charts and ended up reaching gold status. In the spring of 1976, realizing she had married a type of transsexual, Browne's first wife committed suicide. In the fall of that year Browne released The Pretender, which made it as high as #5 on the album charts. The title track, although it barely made a splash on the singles charts, is played ad-nauseum on Classic Rock stations, particularly in the southeast. This is perhaps the most nauseating Browne song of them all, as he sounds like he's crying through the recording yet still manages to maintain that horrible monotone in his singing voice. Someone get this pussy a fucking tissue. "WAH WAH WAH! MY WIFE REALIZED WHO SHE WAS MARRIED TO AND KILLED HERSELF! WAH!" Cry me a fucking river, bitch. Everybody has their problems, some of us deal with them in other ways than putting on a proverbial dress and whining like a fucking school-girl in a snuff film.
While on tour in 1977 Browne recorded his next album Running On Empty, which, with feminism in full-swing, became an even bigger hit than The Pretender. The album went to #3 on the charts and produced three Top 20 singles; the most famous of these is the title track, which looking back seems prophetic. "Running On Empty", still heard on Classic Rock stations around the country peaked at #11, while both "Stay" and "The Load-Out" made it to #20. It was around this time that Browne started to dabble in political activism, taking up Nuclear Energy (Con) and Equal Rights for women (Pro, duh) as his main causes.
1980 proved to be Browne's most commercial successful year; the album he released that year, Hold Out would be his first, and only, to top the charts. A queer little ditty of the LP, "Boulevard", peaked at #19. 1982 he recorded "Somebody's Baby" for the soundtrack to the cult classic movie FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. "Somebody's Baby" would become his most successful single, peaking at #7 on the charts. Keeping in the political vein and mixing up with ultra-sappy love songs Browne released Lawyers In Love in 1983, which would thankfully be the last album of Browne's before his commercial decline. Backed by the limp-wristed strength of singles like the title track, "Tender Is The Night" (and tender is Browne's anus), and "For A Rocker" (must be talking about someone else), the album climbed as high as #8 on the charts. His 1986 follow-up, Lives In The Balance, most notable for it's condemnation of Reagan-era politics, slipped commercially, and it's all downhill from there.
Many musicians have been political minded and produced "sensitive/touching" songs to go along with their more hard-rocking numbers; but unlike the likes of John Lennon, Jackson Browne was never able to figure out how to do without sounding like a straight-up cunt.
Jackson Browne, music...that sucks!