Song of the Day #4,364: ‘I’m Alive’ – Jackson Browne

I like doing the Decades series because it exposes me to new music I’ve missed over the years, but that’s just half the appeal. I’m equally happy to revisit albums I haven’t listened to in ages and remember how much I love them.

Jackson Browne’s I’m Alive has climbed up my 1993 list to #5, after starting toward the bottom half of the top ten when I first started planning these posts. All it took was for me to listen to the damn thing again.

I’m Alive marked a return to personal songwriting for Browne, after he spent most of the 80s writing political songs. This album was inspired by the end of his relationship with girlfriend Daryl Hannah. Hannah accused Browne of physically assaulting her, though the allegations were later investigated and found not to be credible.

I love a good break-up album, and this is one of the best. The opening lyrics to the song ‘Two of Me, Two of You’ are a great example of the melancholy vein Browne taps on this album:

There are two of me
And two of you
Two who have betrayed love
And two who have been true
And together we went crashing through
Every bond and vow and faith we knew
Me and the fool I’ve been
And the two of you

Browne is one of those artists I’ve always wanted to explore more deeply. I love his voice and his 70s singer-songwriter sound, but this is the only album of his I’ve given a lot of time.

I need to remedy that. I’ll add “Jackson Browne theme week” to my to-do list.

It’s been a long time since I watched these lights alone
I look around my life tonight and you are gone
I might have done something to keep you if I’d known
How unhappy you had become

While I was dreaming of you
With my heart in your hands
And I was following though
With my beautiful plans

Yeah now I’m rolling down this canyon drive
With your laughter in my head
I’m gonna have to block it out somehow to survive
‘Cause those dreams are dead and I’m alive

I want to go where I will never hear your name
I want to lose my sorrow and be free again
And I know I’ve been insane
When I think of places I could have been

But I was dreaming of you
With my heart in your hands
And I was following through
With my beautiful plans

Standing here by the highway side
Watching these trucks blow by
Inches from my face
Yeah thinking ’bout the time I’ve wasted
And the pleasure we once tasted
Looking up and down this road
I’ve been here before
Can’t be here no more

Yeah now I’m rolling down California five
With your laughter in my head
I’m gonna have to block it out somehow to survive
‘Cause those dreams are dead, I’m alive
Yeah baby I’m alive, yeah I’m alive

Hey look at the way I believed in you and loved you all these years
Now you can fill a swimming pool with all my salty tears
If you’d have told me what was in your heart
Instead of all your lies and I thought that it would kill me
But I’m alive, yeah I’m alive, yeah I’m alive, yeah I’m alive

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,364: ‘I’m Alive’ – Jackson Browne

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Happy to see you give some love to Jackson Browne. This really is a great album. I’m looking forward to the theme week!

  2. Peg says:

    He sounds a bit like Billy Joel I think

  3. Rob says:

    Clay, I would HIGHLY recommend “The Pretender”, if you are not aware of it already. Jackson Browne wrote and recorded these songs after losing his wife to suicide, shortly after giving birth to their son. It is a remarkable song cycle, released in 1976 (produced by Jon Landau), book-ended with songs of sadness and hope. It is a brilliant example of gut-wrenching songwriting. My brother gave me the LP when I turned 16, back in 1979. It was on my turntable all that summer. It has been in my top ten album lists forever.

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