- 18 May 21
This Celtic soul rebel ain't takin' it any more
Van Morrison is an angry man ageing disgracefully, and it's clear from this generous collection of 28 provocative tracks that he has enough targets to aim his discontent at.
The self-explanatory put-downs of the organ-driven 'Why Are You On Facebook?' and the laughably over-the-top 'They Own The Media' – about people who apparently "control everything you do" – are vintage Van performances, whether you approve of the sentiments or not. And his voice sounds great. You don't have to be Christian to like Gospel music.
He imaginatively kicks off proceedings with a slinky number about the album itself, and garnishes it with delightful doo-wop vocals and soulful organ. 'Where Have All The Rebels Gone' zips along, as Van aims his disgruntlement at people lacking independent thinking and hiding behind their devices. It has sparklingly groovy guitar licks too.
He hints at his early R&B days with Them in the self-explanatory 'Stop Bitching, Do Something', and takes yet another shot at the duplicitous media in 'Duper's Delight'. 'The Long Con' is mid-tempo Chicago blues with fiery harmonica, while the singer revisits his past experiences in the music business on 'Double Agent'.
Such is the sense of confrontational immediacy, there's hardly a track that doesn't justify the price of admission (the strange suggestion that Nigel – presumably Farage – is an example to us all on 'Double Bind' notwithstanding). This mammoth work offers less Mystic Morrison and more straight-shootin', opinionated Van. You may not always agree – but when the quality of the music is this high, we can easily live with that.