Van Morrison's "Sweet Thing" is a difficult song to understand outside the context of Astral Weeks, the 1968 album on which it was included, but that hasn't kept it from being covered by the Waterboys on their 1988 album Fisherman's Blues or chosen as the one track from Astral Weeks included on the multi-platinum 1990 album The Best of Van Morrison. The mid-tempo song stands in contrast to the other three songs on the first side of Astral Weeks, and thus serves as a welcome change of pace (though it should be noted that producer Lewis Merenstein, not Morrison, sequenced the album and that Morrison has criticized the sequencing). The music, keying from Morrison's acoustic guitar, plays a light, repeating sequence with some striking improvisations, especially from Richard Davis' swooping bass and Connie Kay's expressive drums. Over the endlessly descending, circular progression, Morrison sings positive lyrics about nature and a romantic partner, seemingly beginning in the middle of a thought: "And I will stroll the merry way." The language is heightened, with its references to chariots and champagne eyes, and contains striking paradoxes, notably "And I will never grow so old again." But the mood is positive, even giddy, in contrast to much of the rest of the album. Early in the second verse, a string quartet joins the proceedings, giving the song an even more effervescent feel. But "Sweet Thing" remains less a song in the usual sense than a musical meditation in which Van Morrison muses about certain images over a remarkable mélange of folk, blues, and jazz, some of it played with classical music instruments. You could say much the same about the rest of Astral Weeks, of course, but "Sweet Thing" is the only song on the album that looks forward instead of backward, and the only one that is celebratory, which may help explain why it was chosen by the compilers of The Best of Van Morrison to represent his most remarkable album.