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The Pretender

The Pretender

by Jackson BrowneJackson Browne


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On The Pretender, Jackson Browne took a step back from the precipice so well defined on his first three albums, but doing so didn't seem to make him feel any better. Employing a real producer, Jon Landau, for the first time, Browne made what sounded like a real contemporary rock record, but this made his songs less effective; the ersatz Mexican arrangement of "Linda Paloma" and the bouncy second half of "Daddy's Tune," with its horn charts and guitar solo, undercut the lyrics. The man who had delved so deeply into life's abyss on his earlier albums was in search of escape this time around, whether by crying ("Here Come Those Tears Again"), sleeping ("Sleep's Dark and Silent Gate"), or making peace with estranged love ones ("The Only Child," "Daddy's Tune"). None of it worked, however, and when Browne came to the final track -- traditionally the place on his albums where he summed up his current philosophical stance -- he delivered "The Pretender," a cynical, sarcastic treatise on moneygrubbing and the shallow life of the suburbs. Primarily inner-directed, the song's defeatist tone demands rejection, but it is also a quintessential statement of its time, the post-Watergate '70s; dire as that might be, you had to admire that kind of honesty, even as it made you wince.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/25/1990
Label: Elektra / Wea
UPC: 0075596051323
catalogNumber: 107
Rank: 7591

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jackson Browne   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Don Henley   Vocals,Harmony,Vocal Harmony
Albert Lee   Guitar,Electric Guitar
David Lindley   Fiddle,Guitar,Violin,Steel Guitar,Slide Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Graham Nash   Vocals,Harmony,Vocal Harmony
Bonnie Raitt   Vocals,Harmony,Vocal Harmony
Chuck Rainey   Bass
Lowell George   Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Harmony,Vocal Harmony
John Hall   Guitar
Jim Gordon   Organ,Drums
Roy Bittan   Piano
Rosemary Butler   Vocals,Harmony,Vocal Harmony
David Campbell   Viola
Gary Coleman   Percussion
David Crosby   Vocals,Harmony,Vocal Harmony
Luis Damian   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Quitman Dennis   Horn
Craig Doerge   Piano,Keyboards
Chuck Findley   Horn
Arthur Gerst   Harp,Background Vocals
Bob Glaub   Bass
Roberto Gutierrez   Guitar,Violin,Vocals,Background Vocals,Guitarron
John Haeny   Recorder
Jim Horn   Horn
Russ Kunkel   Drums
Jon Landau   Vocals
Jeff Porcaro   Drums
Bill Payne   Organ,Piano,Keyboards
J.D. Souther   Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Fred Tackett   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Mike Utley   Organ,Keyboards
Chuck Finley   Horn
Dick Hyde   Horn
David Hyde   Horn
Leland Sklar   Bass

Technical Credits

Jackson Browne   Producer
Gary Burden   Art Direction
David Campbell   Arranger,String Arrangements
Luis Damian   Contributor
Arthur Gerst   Arranger,Contributor
John Haeny   Engineer
Mark Hammerman   Management
Jim Horn   Arranger
Mark Howlett   Engineer
Tom Kelley   Cover Photo
Greg Ladanyi   Engineer
Jon Landau   Producer,Notes Editing

Customer Reviews

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The Pretender 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Roman46 More than 1 year ago
Beautiful track and memorable songs; a great addition to anyone's collection. I still have the album also and it's still playable!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Probably one of the most thought provoking songs ever written and sung. I fell in love with 'the pretender' when I first heard it and I kept playing it over and over again. I don't know what else to write...except for... this song tries to teach us: all those things that we were taught all our lives to be important...may not have been that important after all.
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
The Pretender is a truly great song but the album is not quite as good as his previous three although it's certainly worth hearing. His writing is as powerful as ever but the revelations here verge on the edge of being uncomfortable. Listening to these lyrics gives one the impression of invading someone's psychologists' office.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago