The Naked Ride Home

From the cool romanticism of 1993's I'm Alive to the textured ruminations of 1996's Looking East, Jackson Browne has explored, with a sense of flash that answers only to itself, just how far a polished singer-songwriter can go. The Naked Ride Home stays in this noble tradition. Looser, warmer and more live-sounding than Browne's recent work — yet still as passionately crafted and sung — the songs take on domestic mysteries (the title drama) and political realities ("Casino Nation") with a varied midtempo dependability that turns richer and more resonant upon re-listenings. "For Taking the Trouble" and "About My Imagination" integrate reggae and soul so unobtrusively that the music mirrors exactly the precise casualness of Browne's voice — he is the sound of unfrantic L.A. cool engaged with the long view.

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