Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Van's Best 21st Century Album

Smoke   -   I've heard a few of his albums from this era, the only one I loved enough to buy was Magic Time - a purchase I've never regretted as it's a knock-out from pretty much top to bottom. Each of the other albums I've heard have at least a few good songs.

TS582   -   Magic Time is a fantastic album. I wish that album would be remastered on two LPs. I also like Keep it Simple.

Gckcrispy   -   I agree, Magic Time was his best record in many, many years. When it came out, I couldn't believe how good it was.  I also like What's Wrong With This Picture? a lot.

fmfxray373   -   Born To Sing No Plan B.

Durango Mustafa   -   Keep Me Singing (2016) is the best followed by Keep it Simple (2008) and then Magic Time (2005) which is too polished to be number 1. 

Maggie   -   Down the Road and especially Born to Sing: No Plan B (which is easily in my top 10 Van albums) are both up there with his classic work, IMO.

BD70   -   Down The Road and Magic Time for me, are on par as equally great. Just Like Greta Garbo I crank up and play over. Stunning song with some of Van's best later-day singing.

Jumpinjulian   -   I can't believe nobody has mentioned Pay The Devil - one of my all time favourite Van LPs! He really brings his own touch to the country standards.

Eustice   -   Pay the Devil is crap country boy. I like Keep Me Singing and Keep it Simple.  They're  "keepers". (Get it?)

Syscrusher   -   Keep It Simple is great album, all the way through. And 'Behind The Ritual' really is one of his greatest songs.

Dee   -   Keep It Simple. Simply solid. The thing about it is Van is in really good voice throughout, in his tone and in how he sings, so even the songs that might be downers or even bitter have a dose of charm and just realism in them, and he just sounds to me like he is in a good mood. What I am trying to say is I hear a lot of love in that album. And when there's not love, I hear resignation but not defeat. I hear acceptance and understanding emotionally even if it might not be so literally. I hear a sense of mellowness and wisdom but not weakness or mindless surrender. 

BD70   -   Agreed. Another good one. I don't think there's a Van album I actively dislike. Maybe 'A Period Of Transition' and couple that were excessively 'jazzy', but that's about it. Love pretty much all his stuff. He's up with the likes of Dylan and Orbison as my most favourite of artists.

Bandinion   -   Best Van album in 25 years. Themes of passing of time, suffering & redemption throughout the album. Memory Lane and Every Time I See A River are the stand out tracks - both will become Van classics. And at 71 years of age, Van's voice is strong as ever. Timeless.

Sandinista   -   If I had to pick one, I'd go with Down the Road on the basis of the title song, Meet me in the Indian Summer, Steal my Heart Away (classic), all work and no play (a trifle for him but sounds like he's having some fun with it and Van having fun is worth listening to) and Whatever Happened to PJ Proby? (one of the more cool and interesting recent Van songs imo).

rstamberg   -   I can't pick. I really love Magic Time and Down the Road a lot. Steal My Heart Away is stunning.

Graham Reid   -   Although Van Morrison made many indifferent albums (like the travesty What's Wrong With This Picture? : Answer? Everything), since the thoroughly enjoyable Keep It Simple (2008) he's been back on form.  But you suspect even longtime fans have given up listening after many disappointments and recognising that Van now is not the Van of then (or Them).

Albert M.   -   I don't care for Pay the DevilAh yes, Magic Time. What an excellent album. Celtic New Year is my favourite on the album followed by Just Like Greta, The Lion This Time and They Sold Me OutKeep It Simple is absolutely fantastic! Favourites on that one are That's Entrainment, Keep It Simple, Soul and the mind-blowing "blah blah blah" of Behind The Ritual. Pure genius in my opinion.

Jard Svenson   -   Keep Me Singing (2016) is the new best Van album of the 21st century. Absolutely brilliant response to the turmoil of his life of the past few years. It's a keeper. 

Van Fanatic   -   Ah yes, Magic Time. What an excellent album. Celtic New Year is my favourite on the album followed by Just Like Greta, The Lion This Time and They Sold Me OutWhat's Wrong With This Picture? is not one of favourite Van albums except for the song Little Village which is one of my favourite Van songs... ever.  Keep It Simple is absolutely fantastic! Favourites on that one are That's Entrainment, Keep It Simple, Soul and the mind-blowing "blah blah blah" of Behind The Ritual. Pure genius in my opinion.  Born To Sing: No Plan B doesn't really have anything that grabs you by your hair and twirls you around the room, but there are some very solid songs on it. I always find Goin' Down To Monte Carlo and Mystic Of The East nice songs to listen to especially when I'm in a reflective mood. Open The Door To Your Heart is pleasant... kind of jazzy. 

Duets is a fun listen just because you can tell all the fellow singers are probably looking at Van while they're singing and thinking, "I can't believe I'm singing with Van Morrison". Carrying A Torch (with Clare Teal) is the standout and, IMO, even better than the original. Rough God Goes Riding (one of my all-time Van favorites) struck me as a little odd the first time I heard it sung along with his daughter Shana Morrison, but now I can't get enough of it. It's on my Van playlist all the time. Astral Weeks Live At The Hollywood Bowl is fine and something Van felt he needed to do. I appreciate that. It's a good listen, but, I prefer the original. 

Down The Road is sometimes overlooked, but is a very cohesive album with a few very good songs and one particular diamond. Steal My Heart Away is absolutely beautiful and is classic Van. What Makes The Irish Heart Beat is a jaunty number that you can't help but tap your foot to. The Beauty Of The Days Gone By would have felt perfectly at home on No Guru, No Method, No Teacher. For me, however, the diamond on this album is Fast Train. Just perfect Van. Solomon Burke covered Fast Train and did a wonderful job of it.

Spaulding   -   Celtic New Year from Magic Time is one of all time favourite Van songs. Couldn't believe it when he released an album that good at that point in his career. It belongs with some of his late 70's stuff.

klaatuhf   -   I find most of his post 2000 albums extremely boring with no heart or soul and seemingly by-the-numbers Van. But you could compile one very good strong album from Down The Road, Whats Wrong With This Picture? and Magic Time. The latter is by far his best studio album of this century but still below anything that came before. Surprisingly I found myself enjoying Astral Weeks Live which is odd seeing as I dislike the studio album and think its the most over rated of his albums. Pay The Devil is possibly the worst album of his career IMHO. 

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