Van Morrison’s “ Last Recording Project ”: album review
In 1967, Van Morrison recorded 31 perverse one-minute songs in order to fulfill his recording contract. The improvised songs, brimming with contempt for just about everything in the young singer-songwriter’s orbit – the ’60s, rock & roll, scoring a surprise hit with “Brown Eyed Girl” – established a young Morrison as , among many other things, a first-rate troll. The first five tracks were titled “Twist and Shake”, “Shake and Roll”, “Stomp and Scream”, “Scream and Holler” and “Jump and Thump.” In “Here Comes Dumb George” he mumbled those four words for 80 seconds.
Fifty-four years later, the artist who once shot the nine seconds the reiteration of the phrase “the love that loves to love” in one of the most moving musical moments of the 20th century, has once again become the repetition: “Did you have my (got my!) / Last (last!) / Record (record!) / Project? (project?) ”, Morrison sings for the 12th time on“ Latest Record Project ”, the first single from his new album, strangely strange and deliciously terrible, Latest recording project, Vol. 1.
This time, Morrison’s rehearsal is less like the trance-like mysticism of a Caledonia poet and more like an enraged customer demanding a refund. The result is bizarre: The backup singers, chanting Morrison’s angry interrogation, and his support group, riding a jazzy telephone blues progression, play the song completely straight as the 75-year-old singer barks, winking caustic eye. , “I have my last joy that I bring?”
Despite his really funny anti-social cover on social media: “Why are you on Facebook?” Morrison’s new record eerily resembles the messy, rambling internet feel of the pandemic era: more often than not, its 28 tracks come across as a collection of shit posts, sub-tidbits, and Reddit rants. ready to break the grooves of John Lee Hooker. Latest recording project, Vol. 1 comes on the heels of a strange, seemingly difficult year for Morrison. He spent the pandemic issuing statements blaming government officials and mainstream media for his inability to perform concerts and broadcast surreal songs on the same subject (sample lyrics: “On government website / March 21 2020 / He declared Covid-19 / No longer at high risk ”).
Morrison’s latest album avoids such epidemiological debates, but the album is rooted in the same sense of grievance. To his favorite, Latest recording project is a bizarrely convincing mix of dark paranoia and petty outrage so wacky it feels playful. At worst, Morrison’s album, with lounge arrangements as half-baked as Morrison’s writing, conveys exactly what he wants and nothing more: a long list of angry settlements and vague financial complaints. which is equivalent to Morrison’s own Inarticulate Checking. -Account-Balance-Litigation of the heart. “Everyone’s looking for a sign / Meanwhile, everyone is drinking our wine,” he sings in “Double Bind”. “I bought us tickets for the opera / But you complained about the VIP seats,” he quipped on “No Deed Goes Unpunished”. There is also a song called “They Own the Media”.
Morrison, whose voice still seems expressive and whose sax playing provided the necessary livelihood for his last, has released eight records in the past five years. At an older age he turned, more like his contemporary Neil Young, to recording as a more relaxed form of expression. He puts it best on “Only a Song”: “That’s what I said, just to rhyme it,” he sings over the pleasant pop number. “I might have thought back then… it’s just a song.”
There are, however, several times when Morrison digs deep. “A Few Bars Early” is a solid blues with an intelligent narrative riff and a satisfying gain. Its climax is buried in the record, the six-minute ballad “Duper’s Delight”. The song ostensibly has the same meaning, one that proliferated in Morrison’s post-70’s work, of feeling cheated by larger forces (see “Double Bind”, “Double Agent”, “Big Lie”, “The Long Con ”). But instead of letting off steam, here Morrison explores and twists inside his own grievances for six thrilling minutes of slow-building organ and stammering acoustic guitar.
“Duper’s Delight” shows Morrison at his best: leaving his audience in his own deep process of self-inquiry. But on the vast majority of Latest recording project, he resorted to spontaneous emotional reactions (and similar arrangements) as if they were finished products. The result is a sometimes funny, sometimes frustrating, not very exciting and largely unplayable collection of rants and riffs.
[Find the Vinyl for the New Album Here]