Spinner Magazine has an interview with Jackson Browne, who talks about turning 60 and looking back on his new album Time the Conqueror:
I think if you permit yourself to look back, you really have to have a good reason. That’s one thing I really demand from the song: You better have a good reason to take us there. [When] I say us, I mean you and me, and everybody, ’cause a song has to have a good reason for being there. So I require that of writing songs. In the two notable cases of looking back, ‘Wonderland’ and ‘Giving That Heaven Away,’ I do take the occasion to sort of examine the values or the idealism that I grew up with and try to make a case for existing in the present as well.
Idealism in the present:
Yeah, I think that there’s a tremendous amount of positive action being taken in the world by people with the same energy, the same imperative, to make a difference, to make positive changes in their lives, especially ’cause the technology is there to aid all this. I ran into a guy the other day, I knew him ’cause he was a good friend of a friend, I don’t know him very well. But I know he was involved in health food and energy bars and stuff, and he’s involved in extracting glass from landfills and making this kind of insulation for homes and improving the global warming situation that way and also getting something productive out of our enormous amount of waste that we produce. And it’s not a front-page story, it’s just going on all the time. There’s a tremendous amount being done; all you have to do is do some of it yourself to be in touch with it. At the same time, things are progressing in a grim way. You need something to give you energy and give you hope and to give you the impetus to move forward and do what can be done.
The role of music:
Music is like a flag, like a rallying cry. Basically, you can express both your doubts and your most intense desires, so it’s really a good focal point for what people really want, whether they want love, that girl, a certain kind of life, to get away. And I know plenty of artists are talking about what’s going on in this world. Ben Harper and that song of his, ‘I Believe in a Better Way,’ that comes out as exciting. I saw him at a festival the other day and it was really intense to have this song come on. It was like a rallying cry and it drew people to that stage; it was amazing. So music is a source of strength, a way of focusing what you believe and identifying what you have to do.
More at the link.