Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Might as well be a greatest hits.

I like to look at music magazines' "best of all time lists." These lists are really subjective, and best all-time albums can be totally different for people, but you can find some music worth listening to after checking these out. One album I saw repeatedly on "best of all time" lists was "Moondance" by Van Morrison. Van Morrison is a musician I've appreciated was talented but never really listened to seriously. A couple months ago I started downloading his music and really liked it. Van has some serious range stylistically and that impressed me. I bought the "Moondance" album recently and I think its awesome.
"Moondance" has many Van Morrison classics on it. While he has great songs on many albums, "Moondance" is a standout because it has one great song after another. Van's got a style of his own, and with a voice that's pretty distinct, you know when you're hearing a Van Morrison song. Morrison's music is really more R&B than anything else. It's got some folk elements, but R&B and soul are definately Van's primary influences. I've heard it said that Van's music is like an guy from Ireland interpreting Ray Charles. This is actaully a pretty good description. Van's music has a lot of keyboard involvement that really pushes the R&B/Soul music feel. A lot of the songs also have some heavy bass. All of his songs have great arrangements and usually feature a horn section, which also adds to the R&B sound. The songs alternate pacing and rhythm really well , too. Classics like "And It Stoned Me," "Moondance," and "Into the Mystic" are really mellow songs, that aren't too fast paced and have great vocals. Van puts serious soul into his vocal performances and you are immediately aware of his ability as a soul singer. Van's upbeat songs like "Caravan," "Come Running," and "Everyone" are all keyboard heavy songs and the first two here have really nice horn arrangements, but his voice stands out here as well.
This album is great from beginning to end, with a lot of Van's classic songs on it. I recommend this album over a greatest hits collection because you get the well-known songs here as well as some other lesser known, equally good songs. After listening to "Moondance", Van has become one of my favorite artists.


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