Van Morrison

Beautiful Vision

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Beautiful Vision shares much sonically with its predecessor, Common One, being heavy on long, winding song-poems, moderate tempos, dense lyricism, and dated production. Still, this winds up being a stronger articulation of what Morrison was attempting to do on Common One -- much like how Wavelength got A Period of Transition right. That doesn't mean that this is a particularly easy album to warm to, since Morrison seems to be consciously creating an insular world here, only of interest to those willing to delve deeply into his own world, letting his elliptical melodies charm instead of frustrate, to let the leisurely pace seduce rather than lull. Once you do that, the record reveals such charming moments as "She Gives Me Religion," "Beautiful Vision," and "Cleaning Windows," a skipping light R&B tune that became one of his latter-day standards. Too much of Beautiful Vision is the product of a willfully idiosyncratic yet oddly measured vision to make it essential for anyone other than diehards, but moments such as that make it worth a listen.

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