Saturday, October 28, 2006

132. Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1968)

Track Listing

1. Astral Weeks
2. Beside You
3. Sweet Thing
4. Cyprus Avenue
5. Young Lovers Do
6. Madame George
7. Ballerina
8. Slim Slow Rider


Well, Van Morrison actually had a pretty bad rep, stuff like Brown Eyed Girl and other fun but not very high on the quality scales tune really do a disservice to the man. And this album is a good example of what he could do at his best. The album is a mix of folk and jazzy elements, that fuse very well indeed.

Van Morrison has a very whinny voice, sounds a bit like a drunken Mick Jagger. At same times impossible to understand, and he is frequently just rambling along. This suits the tracks on the album however, in fact if anything this album is too consistent. It is a perfect rainy afternoon with a hangover album, as it has that longingly depressing feel to it, but at times it is difficult to distinguish the tracks from each other, they just meld into this wallowing in saddness mood. But some tracks do stand out, like Madam George, Ballerina or Sweet Thing.

The lyrics are poetic, sometimes to the point of gibberish, but the exact meaning is not really that important, the feeling that it transmits is really the main thing here. And it does that fine. It's not something that I would want to hear too often, but it is definitely a depressing and pleasent work. And you can't beat trying to make Van Morrison impressions, a bit like Taz only slurrier. Buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Madam George
2. Sweet Thing
3. Ballerina
4. Beside You

Final Grade



Just for the Van Morrison bit at the End:

From Wikipedia:

n 1997 Astral Weeks was named the 9th greatest album of all time in a 'Music of the Millennium' poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In a critics' poll published in the August 1995 issue of Mojo, Astral Weeks placed at number 2 while a separate readers' poll published in January 1996 placed Astral Weeks at number 5 behind three Beatles albums and the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.

In 1998 Q magazine readers placed it at number 52, and in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 6 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003 the TV network VH1 named it the 40th greatest album ever, while in the same year Rolling Stone magazine placed it at number 19.

The influential rock journalist Lester Bangs wrote in 1979: "It sounded like the man who made Astral Weeks was in terrible pain, pain most of Van Morrison's previous works had only suggested; but like the later albums by The Velvet Underground, there was a redemptive element in the blackness, ultimate compassion for the suffering of others, and a swath of pure beauty and mystical awe that cut right through the heart of the work."

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