Everything that's right and everything that's wrong about Hold Out … can be found in its climax: the spoken confession at the end of the last cut, "Hold On Hold Out." Eight minutes long, "Hold On Hold Out" is the LP's anthem, its farewell address and would-be summation. (p. 47)
It's a measure of both the grandiosity and simplicity of Browne's intentions that this album comes down to his saying—without the aid of melody or harmony—"I love you." And it's a measure of Hold Out's failure that these words sound flat, forced, even selfish: a meaningful private act made embarrassing by its public expression. Also, the words are a letdown, since they follow the funniest, most...
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