Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bible Stories: Before the Deluge

Jackson Browne: Before the Deluge


Jackson Browne’s landmark album Late For the Sky came out in 1974. The hippies of the 60’s, who had been so socially engaged in the efforts to end the Vietnam War, and, to a lesser extent, in the fight for civil rights, were seeking new outlets for all of that energy. Some disengaged from society, and formed communes. Others embraced the hedonism that would define the 70s in many eyes. Still others started careers that put them at odds with the values they had previously espoused. Jackson Browne wrote about this in Before the Deluge. He saw a parallel to the tale of the world turning to sin in the biblical story of the flood. For Browne, only those few who kept their ideals and continued to work for the common good would become, in essence, the family of Noah, the survivors. So here we see the power of Bible stories to speak to us in metaphors. Browne did not retell the story of the Flood; rather, he assumed that his listeners already knew the story, and used it to speak about the world he saw at the time. In doing so, Browne crafted a song that still speaks to us almost forty years later.

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