Song of the Day #4,805: ‘Late for the Sky’ – Jackson Browne

This week I’m kicking off the latest installment of my ‘Decades’ series, wherein I feature songs from renowned albums from a single year across four decades. So far I have covered the first four years of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s. That brings me back around to 1974.

Normally, I count down my own favorite albums from the given year before moving on to albums with which I’m not familiar. This year, though, proves to be a bit of a blindspot for me. While I have passing familiarity with the first five or six albums I’ll feature, I don’t know them well enough to rank them.

First up is an album I covered not too long ago, during my Jackson Browne deep dive.

Late for the Sky was Browne’s third album, and is widely considered his best. I placed it third in my personal rankings of his albums. It is a lovely, melancholy, metaphorically rich collection that rewards repeated listens.

I haven’t given it enough of those repeated listens to claim I truly “know” it yet, but of the 1974 albums I’m featuring this week, this one stands tallest.

[Verse 1]
All the words had all been spoken
And, somehow, the feeling still wasn’t right
And, still, we continued on through the night
Tracing our steps from the beginning
Until they vanished into the air
Trying to understand how our lives had led us there

[Pre-Chorus 1]
Looking hard into your eyes, there was nobody I’d ever known
Such an empty surprise to feel so alone

[Verse 2]
Now, for me, some words come easy
But I know that they don’t mean that much
Compared with the things that are said when lovers touch
You never knew what I loved in you
I don’t know what you loved in me
Maybe the picture of somebody you were hoping I might be?

[Pre-Chorus 2]
Awake again, I can’t pretend and I know I’m alone
And close to the end of the feeling we’ve known

[Chorus 1]
How long have I been sleeping?
How long have I been drifting along through the night?
How long have I been dreaming I could make it right
If I closed my eyes and tried with all my might
To be the one you need?

[Pre-Chorus 2]
Awake again, I can’t pretend and I know I’m alone
And close to the end of the feeling we’ve known

[Chorus 2]
How long have I been sleeping?
How long have I been drifting alone through the night?
How long have I been running for that morning flight?
Through the whispered promises and the changing light?
Of the bed where we both lie, late for the sky

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,805: ‘Late for the Sky’ – Jackson Browne

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Lovely song from an album I too should be more familiar than I am.

    Looking forward to the 4s decades.

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