Album: Van Morrison
Magic Time, EXILE/POLYDOR
Friday 13 May 2005
Van Morrison marks the start of his fifth decade as a recording artist with this unusually satisfied set, consisting of roughly equal parts nostalgic yearning, insular reclusion, grouchy complaint, cautionary warning and cabaret standard. It's all couched in a rolling R&B style that features his own alto sax and harmonica, swapping solos with the late Foggy Lyttle's jazzy guitar. There's rather less of the mystic visionary, the images of windswept hillsides, chiming church bells, bonfires and waning moons in "Celtic New Year" and "Magic Time" being marshalled more with an unashamed sense of nostalgia: he's still caught in some Proustian attempt to retrieve his own past, but on a more intimate scale. He acknowledges his own insularity in "Stranded", how he's marooned "In my own little island/ With my eyes wide open"; and in "Just Like Greta", his plea to be left alone is justified by his "need to make some real connection". Titles such as "Keep Mediocrity at Bay" and "Carry on Regardless" reflect his Sisyphean attitude to the music business, a labour pursued "in spite of all the media rehash, and the whitewash, the brainwash, and all the white trash". But it's still a pleasurable way to occupy his time, judging by the standards - particularly an excellent "I'm Confessin'", on which the languid reggae offbeat makes a fine platform for Van's warm delivery.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery claims: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 2 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 3 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 4 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Disney announces new female-led film Moana
Eight seconds of white noise is top of the Canadian iTunes chart because people love Taylor Swift that much
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - TV review: Sensitive, silly and sensational
Is Poppy Pym the new Harry Potter? Children's bookseller wins Independent's new author search
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms