Monday, April 22, 2019

"In the Shape of a Heart" by Jackson Browne

Song#:  2746
Date:  06/07/1986
Debut:  95
Peak:  70
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Browne's album Lives in the Balance was his second in a row to contain political-leaning songs including it's first single "For America" (#30 Pop/#3 Rock). This follow-up single sidelined politics in favor of something more personal and it struck the right chords with AC (#10) and Rock (#15) audiences. However, the song couldn't crossover to a wider audience and it stalled in the bottom third of the Pop chart. It would end up being Browne's final song to reach the Pop chart. The album would be a gold seller, but that was a definite drop from his previous platinum efforts. His next album, 1989's World in Motion, would be his third to focus on political and social issues. A couple of tracks would make the Rock Top 10, but it wasn't enough to really sell the LP. It would become his lowest peaking since his 1972 debut and it would fail to go gold. Browne would have a slight comeback with 1993's I'm Alive. Seen as a back-to-basics LP, it would go gold thanks to good press and the #18 Rock/#28 AC title track. Browne continued to put out albums on occasion, but his heydays as a hit maker and platinum seller were over.

ReduxReview:  While I've never been a real fan of Browne's music, he did occasionally toss out some tunes that I did enjoy. This one is a bit of an overlooked gem in his catalog. It was a lovely song that seemed to grab ears at AC and Rock, yet fell flat at Pop. I wouldn't peg it for a huge hit, but I certainly think it should have done better than "For America." In fact, it probably would have done better had it been the LP's first single. His Pop charting days came to an end with the song and it was a good one to go out on despite its low peak.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Sometime in 1971, Browne met actress/model Phyllis Major. The pair began a relationship and in 1973 they had a child together, Ethan. They would get married in 1975, but the following year Phyllis committed suicide. At the time it happened, Browne was working on his fourth album, The Pretender. It included one song that was inspired by the tragedy titled "Sleep's Dark and Silent Gate." The album would be Browne's first to crack the Top 10 (#5) and it would eventually go double platinum. Nearly ten years after Phyllis' death, Browne would write another song about her - "In the Shape of a Heart."


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