Monday, January 7, 2013

Healing Music: Van Morrison

As much as I love the buzz around new releases and contemporary critic's favourites, I've always been such a huge advocate of reverting back to the classics. Whether rock, blues, soul or pop, I try to never neglect my favourite staple albums of years past - because they are, after all, exactly what's shaped my present day taste and the sounds that now rule the airwaves. Sometimes, I truly do believe that they don't make 'em like they used to.

A good example of that little belief is one of the most beautiful and timeless albums ever made - Van Morrison's Astral Weeks. Almost all Van Morrison's writing can be considered classic, but this particular 1968 release is perfection in every which way. This past week, I felt the weakest I have in ages with a terrible bout of strep throat and the flu (just a wonderful way to kick off the New Year), and Van - sweet, sweet, Van - is part of the medicine that nursed me back to health. If I listened to this album once through, I must have listened to it 50 times while I lay horizontal trying to kick this illness.

So many of the songs, specifically "Astral Weeks", "Beside You" and one of my all-time favourites, "Sweet Thing" (one of the most gorgeous ballads of all time) just can't be replicated. Their simple chord progression, poetic lyrics and Van's flawlessly husky vocals are something of a wonderful era in music; an era that's taught so much to us about what music really is.




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