David Crosby – Lighthouse

005844409_500

Croz ponders on old age, the cosmos, and human frailty on meditative fifth solo outing

David Crosby is what one could call the ultimate survivor, someone who has waved his freak flag higher then perhaps most of his fellow generation, or indeed any generation for that matter. Always the outspoken one, Crosby has never been afraid to speak his mind and lash out at those who are responsible for the injustices we see around us, whether deemed or real. Therefore it is with enormous pleasure that one should be listening to a new album by the man who wondered if he should cut his hair and become a normal member of society, or continue on as one of the counter culture’s most significant lights.

And speaking of lights, Lighthouse is just that, a gentle, guiding beacon to all who wish for a better world, not only for themselves but also their children. In other words, Crosby really cares for humanity and its future.

Lighthouse is Crosby’s fifth solo record and perhaps his most cohesive since 1971’s If I Could Only Remember My Name, often the yardstick against which all his following efforts have been measured – and rightfully so. For Remember remains an exquisite, melancholic masterpiece of spiritual importance, a transcendental document that simply has no equal in the annals of popular music.

Here we have the Socratic expression of an old man, reflecting not only on his life but on those around him. Opener “Things We Do For Love” has a luminous warmth to it, the sort that only Crosby can bring, and when he sings “She Dreams/That She’s Losing You/I guess it’s time/There’s only so much time,” one can hear the mournful philosophy in his voice.

Throughout, the recognizable harmonies are put to good effect, as Crosby does on the luminous “The Us Below,” asking the listener questions which he himself cannot answer. “Drive Out To The Desert” has Crosby in philosophical mode, reflecting on what it means to be so small in a world that is larger than you (or one’s ego). Crosby floats through the ether with “Look Through their Eyes,” a gentle plea for understanding in a world faced with an enormous refugee crisis, before waxing political on “Somebody Other Than You,” attacking the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq with the sort of vehemency not heard since his younger days.

“The City” has Crosby betraying his age, whose singing and playing is akin to something off Remember. “Paint You A Picture” is a fragile, reflective ode to his long time wife Jan and life’s encroaching darkness: “Winter’s on its way/And the nights are long/The sun called it a day/Hours ago.” The delicate, melody-rich “What Makes It So” has David wondering if there might be more than one way to change the world: “How do they know?/How can it only be/One way?”

On closing track Crosby pays homage to the muse in “By The Light Of Common Day,” a delicious paean to the sacrifice an artist must make in order to fulfil their true purpose in life: “The spark is there all the time now/If you know how to listen to your calling”.

Ultimately, what Lighthouse may lack in ambition, it more than makes up for in terms of heart and soul. Crosby has always been an extremely personable songwriter, not to mention blessed with a distinctive and magical voice, one which has scarcely diminished over the years. Clearly there is a fire which still burns in his psyche. That he has continued for as long as he has, and overcome so many obstacles, is testimony to his strength and tenacity in the face of numerous demons. Long may he run.