The Friday Morning Listen: Jackson Browne – Running On Empty (1977)

Share this:

I really love the first paragraph of this article

It’s happened to so many People Of A Certain Age — you wake up to Foghat’s “Slow Ride” blaring through your little clock radio, and you suddenly realize you’ve been listening to the same 100 classic rock songs over and over again for the last 25 years. If that’s not enough to make you pull the covers back over your head, I don’t know what will.

The post from Springsteen site Blogness On The Edge Of Town then goes on to make various recommendations of new music to old fogeys who are stuck in the past. Some of them kind of make sense (Gaslight Anthem), though others are pure head-scratchers — If you’re a Clash fan you should check out Frank Turner? Seriously?!

So all of those recommendations aside, this idea of not being able to move beyond your old musical loves got me to thinking about the power of nostalgia and our perceptions of old vs. new music. Specifically, do we love music more because it holds special significance for us? Before hitting some examples, I’m pure sure we have an answer: sort of.

At a very simplistic level, the connection between an album and some fun times does tend to put the music in a glowing light. Sure, I do remember driving around listening to Foghat Live at obscene levels. I also remember laying around in the bean bag chair listening to it on the ole’ Koss headphones, again at obscene volume. The Blogness piece had fun cracking wise about Foghat, but that can’t stop me from enjoying them. Now, do I think that record is better than, say, Metallica’s “black album”? No, because not only are they different pieces of music but they also have different memories attached.

I feel the same partial dichotomy when thinking about Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty vs. Greg Brown’s The Poet Game. With the former, much like Foghat, I was just a kid. I was learning how to deal with relationships and feelings that seemed uncontrollable. Attached to that record are listening sessions with friends, crushes that vaporized, and car trips with the whole crew singing “The Load Out” into “Stay.” That nostalgia brings weight…it was so long ago. But then there’s the (relatively speaking) more recent Poet Game. That album came to me in a period of tremendous transition. Later on, I introduced the music of Greg Brown to TheWife™. So there’s not much early nostalgia, but memories that were built up over time. I’d hate to have to choose between the two albums; both so different, but both so important to me.

So all of this business about not listening to anything new for decades? I just don’t understand it. Yes, there was great music back in “the day,” but that hasn’t changed. Great music is all around us…stuff even old fogeys can love.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B000002GW5″ container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001230RKC” container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000001BAA” container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000S5C7NK” container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B0000032PW” container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B00123KDLA” container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000002H97″ container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B00AH69ZN0″ container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
Share this:
Close