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Van Morrison - Album by Album discussion - PART THREE

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by DJ WILBUR, Feb 29, 2008.

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  1. albert_m

    albert_m Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atl., Ga, USA
    This one is one my favorites. I typically skip Geneva, an ok throwaway blues opener, but the rest of the album flows well and is good or great. In the Midnight and When the Leaves come Falling Down I would put among his upper tier of ballads. Precious Time is his most fun, upbeat tune in how long...?

    Philosophers Stone - I have to echo this thought:

    Golden Autumn Day is fine mid-temp Van. With such good ballads, you would think the album would close on one of them, but it still works.

    Yes there's the obligatory bitter song in New Biography, trite lyrics in full force, but if you can get past that, musically it's pretty good.

    Does anyone even care that Van is pissed off at the music industry? As long as he expresses it like here does here, I don't care what he is ranting about...

    ...expecially when a nice sax solo interrupts him :D

    Van is almost a traditional singer songwriter on this album - I say that because I always think of him separately in his own little world as a songwriter. Back on Top is warm and soulful album. Autumn is an appropriate theme for this mature artist just doing his thing - and doing it well.
     
  2. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    ;) Maybe Van was predicting the onset of this very thread with lines like these:

     
  3. drewslo

    drewslo Forum Resident

    "Back On Top" is another solid album like "The Healing Game". Repeated listening over the years has been very rewarding. I like the album more now than when it came out. Live performances of these songs over the years also reinforce the strength of this album.

    "Goin' Down Geneva" is a fun opener. I love the raunchy Stones-like guitar part.

    Tracks 2 through 7 flow perfectly.
    "Philosopher's Stone" (track 2) is beautiful. I found it a little strange that Van had already released an album called "Philosopher's Stone" a couple of year's earlier. I wonder if this song was written before or after that.

    The title track has a great hook - classic sounding Van to me.

    When The Leaves Come Falling Down is my favorite track. I consider it one of his finest ballads. I was listening to this album last week at sunset driving on Highway 1 in Malibu. This song was the perfect soundtrack.

    Other tracks like "In The Midnight" and "High Summer" also hit the sweet spot.

    Reminds Me Of You is the first song I heard on the album when a public radio station played it. Van at his melancholic best.

    The weak link is "New Biography". I don't mind if Van wants to vent but it's no "Positively Fourth Street".

    Golden Autumn Day is a strange song. It's Van's "Death Wish" song. A beautiful melody with a very dark lyric. I remember this song was played at the end of the 2000 World Series on NBC. It sounded great, but were they listening to the lyrics. A complex song about "pretending it's paradise" on a "golden autumn day".

    So, another good Van album...he's in his comfort zone.
     
  4. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     
  5. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I don't like that one. Maybe it's a great song, but I just can't get past the first thirty seconds or minute without skipping ahead.
     
  6. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    That turns me off to the song. It just sounds so weird and unexpected. I thought that maybe Van was saying here is this glorious and beautiful autumn day, and yet there is violence everywhere, and he is the victim of an attack? With this in mind, I tried listening to the song again, but during that verse, I couldn't listen any longer, it was still too strange for me. I'll try listening again, though.
     
  7. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I'm totally digging Precious Time and then there's the line Van sings with what sounds to me like glee, She’s so beautiful but she’s going to die some day and after that I just can't listen to that song anymore. I think it's a really good song, but that one line, and the way he seems to revel in saying that, man, it's just too much for me. Maybe I'm misinterpreting his meaning or the context, but it just seems like that line comes out of nowhere and it feels to me like a lowblow.

    So tracks 8-10, I dislike...but, imo, the Valley of Tears bonus song is Stunningly Beautiful!
     
  8. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Agreed...:)
     
  9. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Calling a Space a Spade...

    Good olde Drewslo, he can always find good things to say about mediocre albums... find the silver lining, seperate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak... I'm going to get BOT and try it out, but I find it hard to beleive that it is nearly as good as THG... Wilson 4's and old rackets at dawn, you pick the Crimson' court and bring your butler (to carry you home...)...;) :righton:
     
  10. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    I'm not sure, but if it is, it's spelled curmudgeonliness. Spellcheck doesn't recognize it either way, but that's pretty much the way if feel about Microsoft, so we're even.

    I like this one. Like most of the good ones from this period, it took me awhile to warm up to it. I can understand not being thrilled with all of these 90s albums - Van's repeated themes from the glory days, reframed as conventional R&B. It certainly doesn't have the edge of exploration that the work of the 70s or even the 80s did. But they're still good albums. And Curbach is a doodyhead.

    I'm going to re-listen tonight, remember what it was I liked about this one so much when if finally hit me, and comment further. Particularly about Curbach's doodyheadedness.

    Tim
     
  11. drewslo

    drewslo Forum Resident

    Back On Top has many similarites to Healing Game. Pee Wee Ellis plays Sax, Brian Kennedy is on background vocals but more to the background than before. Maybe not as much fire in the belly on this album but more laid back sad / romantic songs that Van does so well. Again, listen to tracks 2 through 7 for an amazing sequence of songs. I think more critics called this a "return to form" than they had for Healing Game.
     
  12. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Are those words? What does Microsoft say? I resemble those remarks :laugh:
     
  13. peterC

    peterC Aussie Addict

    Location:
    sydney
    I think you're right. I guess too many critics believe or simply re-hash record company press releases. If you think about it almost every new album is hailed at the time of first release as a "return to form".
     
  14. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    This album falls somewhere between Days like This and The Healing Game. I never really warmed up to Days Like This, and I like Back On Top more that that, not quite as much however as The Healing Game. As is often the case, it seems I am at odds with the critics. :sigh:

    The High Points for me are Golden Autumn Day, When The Leaves Come Down and Reminds Me of You. A pretty mellow group but they have a quiet meditative quality that I like. The knife point robbery metaphor is a new twist on the old theme (they were gansters that tried to rob me).:shh:

    Reminds is a sweet love song that speaks to anyone that has to be separated from their love.

    I don't mind Geneva but it is a bit generic. Best "rocker" on this album is Precious Time and it sounds like if I have to go, I'll go out kicking. I like the fact that Van is slightly deflating the Irish mystic image. The rest is inoffensive but also lacking that certain something that distinguishes some work.

    I not as harsh as Curbach on this one, but some of the "poetry" is pretty lame. I liked the album a little more after repeated listenings, at first I thought it was a bomb. A pretty good album, but far from the Top. I think I even like Enlightenment better.:agree:

    Anyone hear the reissue bonus tracks?
     
  15. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    anyone???
     
  16. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
     
  17. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    That is a puzzler, isn't it? Very jarring, very disturbing...
    almost Cale-ean.:laugh:

    I've been tied up with stuff and haven't had a chance to organize my thoughts properly. I'll try to add something tomorrow.
    Right now I'm knackered.
     
  18. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    :agree:
     
  19. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    I did read the post, but I must admit I forgot, Ooops.

    I also wonder if anyone reads my posts, except on this thread. Here we have a pretty intense and literate group of regulars. I am amazed how many of us have been with this thread since the beginning. :wave: :cheers:
     
  20. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I agree, and I find it very challenging and damn near impossible to keep up sometimes because of this depth of insight and the kind of detail the twin killing machine hosts put in here, as well as what the rest of the threadbearers here magnify and create (but this is a good thing).
     
  21. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Oh, Ok, I had read that as well. asking "anyone" was really a "BUMP"....you caught me....:sigh: ...:shh:...just trying to stir up some discussion...

    i've read every word in here...has every word stuck, maybe not....
     
  22. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014


    Maybe if you coated yourself in Tupelo Honey the words would dtick with you better... "like butter"...;)

    :cheers:

    PS: Is it me or is Weller looking more and more like Labiryth-era Bowie as he ages? :eek: :laugh:
     
  23. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    he does have a bit of that labyrinth vibe here doesnt he?
     
  24. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Yeah, I forgot I ws in the van thread for a sceocnd there, so used to Van related icons... (Keep it Simple was my fave) is sort of quiet around here... whats next up in his hit parade once you two miove us along...??? :wave:
     
  25. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    i think Tom is feverishly writing as we speak.....we'll know soon...
     
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