Review Summary: Soundtrack of divorces. Browne looks at us all, sees love there sleeping while Lindley's guitar gently weeps.
I was born in 1978 so I can't remember years 1974 - 1975, but judging by music it was season of depression and broken hearts. Neil Young released "On the Beach" and "Tonight's The Night", Bob Dylan gave us "Blood on The Tracks", Patti Smith sang "Jesus died for somebody else sins, but not mine", even The Eagles turned their heads to darker themes on "One Of These Nights", and don't forget Gram Parsons posthumously released second album which ends with song "In My Hour Of Darkness".
And of course we have third Jackson Browne album called "Late For The Sky". I'd like to compare Jackson Browne with another golden boy from California - Brian Wilson. Both became famous because they celebrated simple lifestyle, surfing, girls, cars, and maybe the biggest hit Browne wrote is "Take It Easy". And, after they gave sunny and funny melodies, both wrote masterpieces about their own insecurities and problems with love affairs: "Pet Sounds" and "Late For The Sky".
Sometimes it seems to me that "Late For The Sky" is "Pet Sounds" updated eight years later, in terms that the main character grew up, got a college degree, worked very hard, but he couldn't solve some of his emotional problems. He is very aware of them, but has no idea what to do. Is he crazy, or is it problem with a partner? No wonder that the title track was used in Martin Scorcese film "Taxi Driver" to great effect. The same song was issued as a single, it failed to chart. Maybe it is better because if it had done, the 99% of other "bitter" love songs would have been like romantic comedy compared to "Late For The Sky".
Another difference between "Pet Sounds" and "Late For The Sky" is - while "Pet Sounds" is made (officially) by the group but it is estimated that it's a work of Brian Wilson and guest stars, "Late For The Sky" is officially Jackson Browne album but many key ingredients were added by his backing band, most importantly David Lindley. So maybe it would be fair to say that "Late For The Sky" is Jackson Browne Band album. David Lindley's guitar parts are piercing through the air, check out intros of "Late For The Sky" and "Farther On", as well as backing vocals adding more colors and depth to already great picture. This is one of records you hear the air trembling between instruments, making silence audible and meaningful. In terms of completeness and perfection this is album at very top. Although all of the stuff are pure masterpiece, there are three songs which touch me every time I hear them: "Late For The Sky", "For A Dancer" and "Before The Deluge".
Browne was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. In his induction speech, Bruce Springsteen noted that while the Eagles got to the Hall first, "You (Browne) wrote the songs they wished they had written". Amen to that, all the evidence is on "Late For The Sky".