Thursday, 10 January 2013

Van For Your New Year's Resolutions

The following article was created by Richard Keane and posted on the ezines articles site.  He mentions some great songs here, ones which don't get the attention they deserve. The site is worth a visit as it has lots of other Van Morrison themed posts among its thousands of posts by hundreds of writers.  
Playlist For Writing Your New Years Resolutions – Top 5 Van Morrison Songs To Guide The Way

Van Morrison, for all his curmudgeonry, has left us a gorgeous body of work, a common theme of which is rebirth and renewal. As I start to reflect on resolutions I’d like to make for the new year, here are the top 5 Van songs that will serve to comfort and guide me as I do.
Brand New Day (Moondance, 1970)   -   Like much of Moondance, this one seems to wrap you in a warm blanket – and a palpable sense of hope that something new and whole is on the horizon. “I’ve been used, abused and so confused… but I stood and looked, and my eyes got hooked, on that beautiful morning sun.” You may be sitting down to your pen and paper with some shame and regret on your shoulders – “Brand New Day” will help you shrug it off and begin anew.

Astral Weeks (Astral Weeks, 1968)   -   Van finds salvation in new found love and nature itself in one of his most mystical works. The finale sings of “another time… another place” but you’ll find sufficient wonder and peace in this one to inspire action today.
Starting a New Life (Tupelo Honey, 1971)   -   From the looks of the album cover, Van’s at peace on his farm with his family and some animals, but the reality was far from it. At any rate, Van seems to be aspiring to the pastoral dream of the album’s image, in spite of some significant domestic drama, with sweet songs like this one – “I’ve been shovelling the snow away, working hard for my pay, all I gotta say is we’re starting a new life.”

Spirit (Common One, 1980)   -   In another mystical gem, Van plays benevolent pied piper, directing us inward “to the one.” Interpretation of “the one” is up to you, but the affect is unmistakable – “you turn it around, you keep walking on.” (On a side note, if you don’t feel like shifting between albums as this list suggests, just stick with Common One, one of Van’s most spiritual – and underrated – albums.)
Wasted Years (Too Long in Exile, 1993)   -   This is a lovely duet with John Lee Hooker, a thought or two from a pair with a few years under the belt. Long time fans of Van’s recognise him as a very bitter fellow at times, but here a wizened man makes this heartening conclusion: “The great sadness, oh you’ve got to let it all go, live in the present, live in the future – John Lee ain’t that so?”

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