Solo Acoustic Vol. 1 by Jackson Browne
When it comes to old age, there are two types of artists in today’s music scene: those who adapt to it, and those who are overwhelmed by it. Jackson Browne is definitely in the former. On his first album in his Solo Acoustic series, he strips down the sound of some of his biggest hits (and little-known gems) and in doing so shows us what they’re really about. His acoustic version of “These Days” is absolutely beautiful and lifts the song to new heights that it has never quite reached before. “The Pretender” also gets performed, and thirty years later it’s still just as breathtaking as it once was in its infancy. Jackson Browne may be getting older, but it’s clear that he’s also getting wiser.
Flamingo by Brandon Flowers
If Brandon Flowers’ name sounds familiar, it’s because for the last decade or so he has been the frontman for the popular alternative band The Killers. Rumor has it that for their fourth studio album, Brandon presented the band with a whole album’s worth of material, to which they flat-out rejected. So he released it as a solo album, leaving only himself to blame should it prove to be inferior to The Killers’ catalog. While the band was right to turn it down, as a solo album it’s hard to dismiss it for its faults. Who cares if the Vegas motif is spread on too thick? So what if the lyrics are consistently contrived throughout the album? These questions don’t matter as much as they should when the songs are so undeniably catchy. Brandon Flowers’ Flamingo is far from being a perfect album, but that didn’t stop it from remaining in my car stereo for longer than it deserved to be. I’m still humming the chorus of “Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts.”