Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Album Retrospective: Van Morrison - Moondance

The fatal flaw of youth is often is often found in its immediacy and ignorance. It goes by so fast that we often only remember the "good times" or the "bad times" but never really remember anything accurately. We grow so attached to things in our youth that we often believe that they are the best: the things that happened when we were in our youths were important not because of what they represented by what time they represented. The albums, movies, television shows, and celebrities of 2011 will really only be important to the youth of 2011. Because the youth of 2011 have adopted all of these albums, movies, TV shows, and celebrities not out of necessity or love but out of a burning desire to be "the generation that really made a difference."

The fascinating thing about each passing generation though is that they always believe that they will be the generation that "makes the difference." You can say they believe this out of youthful ignorance, teenage rebellion, or any number of things. But each passing youthful generation somehow believes that after thousands of years of society being one way that they can suddenly change things. What is even more fascinating is that they think they can change things by listening to music, going to the movies, or even watching television. They believe that apathy and being entertained is the key to change instead of hard work and power. Young people often believe that their albums, their shows, and their movies matter because they are ignorant enough to believe that these often futile things can often bring about change. What they think is going to result in change often just results in them putting themselves in an ignorant bubble and not really experiencing the great offerings of previous ignorant generations. The wall they put off blocks off greatness and promotes indifference. Instead of catalyzing change, youth seems to put change back into the stalemate that it has always been in.

And I have to admit that for a while I completely bought into to the elitism, immediacy, and ignorance of youth. I thought that only today's music mattered simply because it was coming out right now. Older music couldn't change the people of today simply because the music was not released in the 21st century. When I was a bit younger I wholeheartedly believed that anything that was not current was something that I could totally dismiss. Because I after all was a part of the Obama generation that could actually really bring about change, I was a part of the environmentalist era that was actually going to save the earth, I was a part of the most technologically advanced civilization in history, and I was a part of the most politically correct generation in history. And because of all of this propaganda that was being preached to me, all of the times I thought I fell in love, and because of all the music to I fell into the youthful bubble of openness and began to believe that only Blair Chopin and his peers mattered.

Then I heard Moondance

Something about Moondance makes it seem more universal then generational, something about this album makes it seem like it could be released in 2011 even though it was released in 1970, something about Moondance kills immediacy and ignorance and promotes togetherness and harmony, and something about Moondance is so genuine and warm that just about any age, any background, any dialect, and any culture can fall in love with it immediately.

All of the songs on Moondance sound like they are anthems but not the type of anthems that would make Moondance an album that was only for the youth of the early 1970's. No Moondance features beautiful anthems about love ("Crazy Love" and "Into The Mystic",) about "coming together" ("Caravan" and "And It Stoned Me,") and finally songs about politics and second chances ("Brand New Day and once again "And It Stoned Me.") The magic of Van Morrison's music on Moondance is that he creates perfect songs about love, coming together, second chances, and politics that are just as relevant in 2011 as they were in 1970. Morrison was able to toss his generational ignorance and elitism aside and create an album of beautiful songs about subjects that we will always be able to relate to.

The album also has a sexiness to it that really is not tied to any particular generation. The music Morrison makes is timeless because the way he presents it. He has a unique voice and seemingly unlimited range but never really seems to force anything throughout the album, every song on the album has a different sort of sound even though it is often just Morrison and his acoustic guitar, he uses his background singers perfect on just about half the tracks, and his calm vocal matches the unique instrumentation of every song just about perfectly. Morrison creates a timeless sexiness on this album that makes you want to talk about politics while you are dancing, makes you want to fall in love with one girl while still loving everything about the outside world, makes you want to fall asleep while traveling the world in your "Caravan," an atmosphere that makes you want to climb mountains while tanning on the beach, and an atmosphere that makes you want to exchange your youthful ignorance for something much more important and rational. Moondance is the type of timeless record that makes you fathom the impossible: that something as simple as music could change the world.

It is quite appropriate that the first song on Moondance is called "And It Stoned Me." Because Moondance is the type of timeless record that can stone even the most sober listener. It is an album that can define peace, love, and second chances for 1970 and 2011 without raising its voice, its an album that is sexy just based off its sheer simplicity, and it is a record that kills your youthful ignorance and that maybe based off its lack of immediacy. Moondance is the type of album that makes you realize that every generation has love, that every generation has war, that every generation has struggle, and most importantly that every generation of every age and every culture should just come together. It is a record that explains that the best way to make a difference is to not set out to make a difference but to set out to do something timeless, genuine, and great. I have already said so much about Moondance, but the most important thing about the album is that it is one of the few albums that can "stone you" with change. And that is change that needed to be made in 1970 and needs to be made in 2011.

Track List:
1. And It Stoned Me
2. Moondance
3. Crazy Love
4. Caravan
5. Into The Mystic
6. Come Running
7. These Dreams Of You
8. Brand New Day
9. Everyone
10. Glad Tidings

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