Jackson Browne released his biggest hit between albums, when he wrote ‘Somebody’s Baby’ for the soundtrack of 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The song made it to #7, one spot higher than his first-ever single, and only other top ten hit, ‘Doctor My Eyes.’
The following year he released Lawyers in Love, another rock album in the vein of Hold Out. Again, the critical response wasn’t great, and again, I kind of dig it.
I understand that Browne’s early 80s output must have been a shock to critics and fans who loved his folky, singer-songwriter work in the 70s. But he’s good at it.
Looking back 40 years later, the radio-friendly pop rock sheen on these albums doesn’t sound dated. He certainly made the transition more successfully than his friend Joni Mitchell.
Lawyers in Love features just eight tracks (one thing I like about Browne’s albums is their brevity) and six of them are definite keepers. I particularly like the poppy, satirical title track and the catchy single ‘Tender is the Night.’
The album does misstep twice, once with the terminally repetitive ‘Knock On any Door’ and once with ‘Say It Isn’t True,’ a painfully earnest political song that — unfortunately — served as a harbinger of things to come on his next two albums.
I think my heart must just be slowing down
Among the human beings
In their designer jeans
Am I the only one who hears the screams
And the strangled cries of lawyers in love
God sends his spaceships to America the beautiful
They land at six o’clock and there we are, the dutiful
Eating from TV trays
Tuned into Happy Days
Waiting for World War III while Jesus slaves
To the mating calls of lawyers in love
Last night I watched the news from Washington, the capital
The Russians escaped while we weren’t watching them, like Russians will
Now we’ve got all this room
We’ve even got the moon
And I hear the USSR will be open soon
As vacation land for lawyers in love
Lawyers in love
Lawyers in love
This is the first of his albums I listened to with some regularity, likely because of when it was released 🤷🏻♀️ I also recall using this album cover in one of my early lessons in the composition courses I taught at Edison College. Might have to dust that one off and give it a refresh for the digital age.
This was likely my entry point into buying and owning a Jackson Browne album, though I also probably bought Running on Empty around the same time.
I get the criticism of the two songs you called out though I have always liked the overall vibe of “Knock on any Door” despite the repetitiveness, and “Say It Isn’t True” is okay but for the spoken word parts.
Meanwhile, your harbinger comment leads me to believe you haven’t softened on one of my favorite Browne albums, Lives in the Balance. I await your post!