Joe Smith was an American music manager who headed three large record companies in his life and once managed, as an elderly man in a dark blue cloth, white shirt and matching tie, to sign the rumored Grateful Dead, exactly like that We were looking for a reliable philistine because the drummer’s thoroughly tie-dyed father seemed to have run off with all of the band’s money. Joe Smith was little stranger to what goes on in the eccentric pop business, and yet he was amazed when the Northern Irish singer Van Morrison wanted to meet him incognito in a London hotel after many years of acquaintance. Morrison appeared with his cap pulled down over his face, his collar turned up and his sunglasses, first of all strolling through the anonymous lobby in his secret agent glamor and then wanted to be addressed as Mr. Johnson before going to the room.
So it is by no means the very big realization that the seventy-five-year-old Van the Man is missing one or the other wheel on his rollator. That he detests journalists, that he loves conspiracy theories, that he exposes himself to spiritual experiences that are not good for everyone, that he grumbles and nags and berates the rest of the world with unsurpassable beer seriousness, which does not share his view of the invisible. But since the beginning of the pandemic, the snob-nosed nerdy has become a hard-to-bear lateral thinker who attacks the string pullers of a world conspiracy and its lackeys, the media and scientists, with various publications and wants to expose them with rhythm and blues-driven whispers.
Premodern sound has become
And now there is also a double album that tries to balance heartbreak and Weltschmerz, between lovesickness and disgust for the generations to come: “Stop Bitching, Do Something” it says, and the descendants of the rocking revolutionaries have to be asked “Where Have All the Rebels Gone? “, A question Van Morrison answered a few songs later with another question:” Why Are You On Facebook? “At the same time as the marauding teenagers in his hometown Belfast, the street fighting-like demonstrations of the” Black. ” Lives Matter “movement in America or the unrest in Myanmar or Belarus, Van Morrison locates everything younger than him, glued behind the cell phone screen, at the mercy of a digital secret society.
But what sets Pop apart is not only providing for contradictions and inconsistencies, but also withstanding them with stress. And the soon to be released “Latest Record Project Volume 1” (BMG / Warner Music) be a good example. The 28 songs, most of them new, a few hits like “It Hurts Me Too” among them, as well as two outstanding songs by musical composer and lyricist Don Black, appear as well-known Morrison material as he has been for a long time when you first listen to them a premodern sound, in which County Down and Belfast were haunted to the Mississippi and now occupy the same place as the historic birthplaces of pop music, Memphis and New Orleans. But with each new listen, most of these songs grow – but not Morrison’s catastrophically failed attempt at irony “Latest Record Project”! – beyond their sometimes sparse, sometimes stupid texts.
What seemed old-fashioned a moment ago may be classic after all. The background choir lets you sink to your knees. Pretty much every solo from guitar to saxophone to harmonica is extremely artistic, is exemplarily slimmed down and textbook-like correctness, so that one is finally ready to look up Van Morrison’s exercise in matters of intolerance as well. If he sang now and then with a touch of self-irony and not hurled every note from the pulpit of self-righteousness at us … But that’s probably asking too much. We learn “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” from Morrison. This is how he sees the world, doing good and suffering from it, and we, his fans, we who report critically about him, we will not change him anymore. For better or for worse: a new album from Van Morrison.
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