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Astral Weeks

Van Morrison

1968

Astral Weeks

Album Summary

Astral Weeks is the second studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was recorded at Century Sound Studios in New York during September and October 1968, and released in November of the same year by Warner Bros. Records. The album's music blends folk, blues, jazz, and classical styles, signalling a radical departure from the sound of Morrison's previous pop hits, such as "Brown Eyed Girl" (1967). The lyrics and cover art portray the symbolism equating earthly love and heaven that would often feature in the singer's subsequent records. His lyrics have been described as impressionistic, hypnotic, and modernist, while the record has been categorized as a song cycle or concept album. Astral Weeks did not originally receive promotion from Morrison's record label and was not an immediate success with consumers or critics. Its standing eventually improved greatly, with praise given to Morrison's arrangements and songwriting, and the album has been viewed as one of rock music's greatest and most important records (a reputation the singer himself has dismissed). It was placed on numerous widely circulated lists of the best albums of all time and had an enduring effect on both listeners and musicians. Forty years after the album's release, Morrison performed all eight of its songs live for the first time at two Hollywood Bowl concerts in November 2008; this performance was later released as Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.3

Votes

5445

Genres

  • Rock
  • Folk
  • Singer Songwriter
  • Soul
Reviews
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Tue Jan 26 2021
5

I like this much better than his more recent anti-lockdown stuff. Rolling Stone listed this as one of the top 20 albums of all time, and while that may be too generous, it's still a flawless album in my opinion. Classic.

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Tue Jun 01 2021
5

My fav Van Morrison album, it flits and dances around like a butterfly on a sunny spring day. Although he sings like he's got a mouthful of cotton balls, it works with the soulful music and it still holds up really well considering its over 50 years old. The only miss is Slim Slow Slider which sounds like an afterthought to the 7 brilliant songs that preceded it, so I give it a 4.5 and round it up to a 5 because its a sunny Spring day.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
5

Vantastic

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Thu Oct 21 2021
5

An almost perfect folk rock album with jazz and blues influence. Each song flows into the next, forming into one continuous musical experience rather than a conceptual album. The instrumentals backing Van Morrison's stream-of-conscious vocals and varying tone paint an image with each lyric. From start to finish, the album takes you through an emotional journey and the depth of it gets greater with each subsequent listen. Favorite tracks: Astral Weeks, Beside You, Madame George, Ballerina.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

The music gods were smiling this morning as they gave me Astral Weeks for album of the day on the morning my daughter was born and this album is perfect for holding your newborn baby...

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Wed Sep 29 2021
2

They always say to try and separate the art from the artist but as someone from Northern Ireland who has had to listen to the drivel coming out of "Van the man" in the last year and a half and having friends who have had the misfortune of trying to serve him in the various cafes and restaurants he frequents it is hard to appreciate the music when the man behind it is just such a massive ballbag.

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Wed Aug 18 2021
1

A man chats over boring music. Occasionally he sings and it's somehow worse. Boring shite and too long

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Van Morrison is best when Brown Eyed Girl is not involved. Very much enjoyed this album and a full listening gave me a new appreciation for the group. 10/10.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
5

I've never sat down and listened to this in full before. I'm aware its bang up there on most all time great list, so am looking forward to this.... This doesn't sound like an album from 1968. Clean, crisp production held together by a soaring soulful voice. Each song take you to a different place but fit together perfectly. There is no standout song as such, but the whole thing (its a proper album) is magnificent as a whole piece of work. This is going to get played to death by me from now on. Comfortably the best album we've heard so far in JLAC. 5/5

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Fri Apr 16 2021
5

This album is a classic and it is evident why. Everything about it is gorgeous. Van's soulful vocals and heartwrenching lyrics. Rich strings and brass sections. Fantastic production. Just a completely beautiful album.

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Sun Aug 22 2021
4

A list of vans in my order of preference: 5. Van Halen 4. Van Morrison 3. Van Gogh 2. The A Team van 1. The van in which SHACK picks up the kids.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
2

I always confuse Jim Morrison and Van Morrison and Morrissey. Van Morrison is the Brown Eyed Girl guy... and the guy who did this. Astral Weeks - Sort of light fluffy folksy stuff here. Inoffensive. If not for the length, I could hear this being played at a diner. Beside You - A bit more jazzy. A bit more dissonant. A bit better! Sweet Thing - I feel like all three of these tracks so far are kind of like the folksy acoustic songs that Zeppelin did, but that Zeppelin did them better. Cyprus Avenue - Okay this album is just the music that all the boomers lost their virginity to, isn't it? The Way Young Lovers Do - I feel like Quentin Tarantino likes this one. Jazzy and brassy. So far this is the best song to me. Madame George - Okay this is the best song on the album. Indelibly sad. Possibly about a transvestite. This was worth the price of admission. Ballerina - Fine. Slim Slow Slider - The only track that's not really over produced. Sad, slow. Great! I don't think I liked this one very much. Sorry, Ivan.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
1

these don't seem like songs, more like drafts of songs. I can't see how this in an important album. Every song felt like a draft or through away.

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Wed Jun 30 2021
5

i love this album. Can't tell me shit about it.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
5

Ethereal and improvisational; this is the work that world forecast Morrison's depth and innovation as an artist as he headed into the 1970s. Fans looking for "Brown Eyed Girl" on repeat will be disappointed but this is a pinnacle of the blossoming singer-songwriter movement and it's the other side of the cultural coin.

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Tue Sep 07 2021
5

One of my favorite folk albums. Previously only known for pop hits "Brown-eyed girl" and "Moondance," I was pleasantly surprised by how perfect these tracks are. The music is often described as impressionistic, which means emotions are conveyed through characteristics of the music rather than the melody or lyrics themselves: The dissonance in "Beside You," the raunchy vocals in "Ballerina," or the dreamlike imagery of "Madame George." Often I hate long tracks, but there is so much variation in each track that it keeps you engaged, especially as the tracks become increasingly emotional as they go on. The opening title track is the best example of what this album is about. Masterful crafty lyrics with a higher spiritual sound, often using experimental instruments or techniques, and a highly emotional voice to reflect on the deep lyrical content. Looking at "Beside You," I notice the instruments purposely clash to create a pleasant experience. I'm no art analyst so I can't explain how it works, but I believe the lighter instruments create a busy atmosphere for the vocals to break through gasping for a platform to let out his troubles, hopes, or frustration. Segments like "you breath in, you breath out..." demonstrate the latter. Then we have the most popular song, "Sweet Thing." Unlike the others, this one is optimistic, full of aspirations of the future. My favorite instrumentation, and I love that heavy string arrangement sound bit that interrupts the lyrics. I also really like the trend of the instruments and vocals getting increasingly intense as the song goes on, only to often get a avant near the end. "Cyprus Avenue" also has pretty instrumentation work between the double bass, harpsichord, and flute. How often do you see these guys working as team players? It's like a classical arrangement but also jazzy and also blues-like. Next song is an out-of-place but still excellent short jazz arrangement. Sure it doesn't fit, but I think it's inclusion helps break up two deeply emotional and pretty tracks that reminds me of Sufjan Stevens. The next track, "Madame George," is another favorite of mine due to its nostalgic yet often distracted lyrical content. The next song "Ballerina" has my favorite vocals, changing emotions so much in those 7 minutes. Last track doesn't do anything special the others haven't already, but I do love the solemn, abrupt ending. Those last few seconds almost sounded like Velvet Underground, which indicates to me drug addiction, but then again I'm not sure VU was influential at that time. Anyway, love this album from start to finish, with something interesting about each of them. Mostly coherent (that heavy jazz track). This is something I'd only play to pay attention to, as a pleasant way to pass the time or take inspiration from.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
5

Mix of jazz, folk, soul, rhythm and blues to create something unique and beautiful. With delightful poetry. Top marks

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Sun Nov 14 2021
5

Makes me want to live at that time and in that place.

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Thu Sep 17 2020
4

Perfect for car rides and night vibes.

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Thu Nov 25 2021
4

It took 4 listens to figure out my thoughts on this album… First, I love Van Morrison’s voice. I feel genuine emotion throughout. I can feel it in my gut when he lets loose. One minor complaint is that he mumbles at times. I have no idea what most of the lyrics mean on a comprehensive level. They are “conceptual.” Whatever, it doesn’t bother me. The musicians were damn good given that Van gave them no direction on what to play. They essentially jammed to figure out the music. Considering that, Van’s lyrical delivery has a bit of an improvisational feel at times that fits. The blown out brass section on The Way That Young Lovers Do is another minor complaint. 🙏🏼 1001 albums list. Thanks, never would have listened to this and I’m happy to continue listen.

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Tue Nov 30 2021
4

What a pleasant album! Astral Weeks is a great track to start this off. Very easy to listen to.

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Tue Jun 01 2021
3

If memory serves me correctly, this is one of those albums, like Starsailor by Tim Buckley, where a folk artist pays hommage to improvised jazz and the critics love it. In some songs Van's voice seems like a long, free-form saxophone solo. For me, his voice, in the absence of song structure or melody doesn't stand that well on its own. The instrumentation is great, especially the violin & bass. I liked The Way That Young Lovers Do, and wish it wasn't the shortest song on the album.

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Tue Apr 27 2021
5

I love this album. It’s so soulful and reflective. Perfect for a summers morning!

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Wed Nov 04 2020
5

Speaks for itself

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Wed Nov 25 2020
5

so rich and shaped folk acoustic music forever

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

Owned on vinyl.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
5

Poetry. Up there with Dylan's best.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
5

Don't need any. This is one of my favorite albums of all time.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Loves the sound.

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Tue Feb 16 2021
5

Masterpiece. One of the most peaceful albums ever. 9-10/10

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

!

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Fri Feb 26 2021
5

Stone cold classic. 9/10

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

Great

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Thu Jun 24 2021
5

springtime oldie nostalgia with a cinematic orchestral backing

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

Love this. Van Morrison is the best

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Fri Mar 12 2021
5

I really loved this whole album. It's such an interesting mix of folk, blues, jazz, and other styles. I think Brown Eyed Girl is probably my only real exposure to Van Morrison, but this album really got me.

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Fri Feb 26 2021
5

Continues to make me cry. Main building at Vassar College, 3rd floor Nicks room heard from my 2nd floor corner. Kelly Nick and I sharing that. Special as heck.

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Fri Apr 16 2021
5

I'm a fan of old grumpy-boots and I know this is generally accepted amongst the cognoscenti to be his magnum opus, but frankly I don't get it. I was hooked after 3 seconds of the opening bars but after that there was a long wait to hear anything approaching coherence. The influence reaches down the decades though - just try playing David Gray's version of Say Hello Wave Goodbye then Madame George (that's only one example from that album, there are loads). At least half of this album is effectively just a two-chord backing track with The Man wailing nonsense over the top. What a beautiful noise he makes, though. At 2:30am after a couple of spliffs it can't be beaten; at 5:30pm over fish fingers and beans, it just doesn't have the same effect, but still, what a voice. There are better albums in his catalogue, though. Checkout 'Dweller on the threshold' from the opera house live in Belfast rather than this. Of course I could be wrong; I'll just play it again to be sure. Oh wow, that opening track is fantastic..

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Mon Jul 19 2021
5

Van is the man, amazing record

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Thu May 13 2021
5

It feels like the album name - astral. Love it. Hard to describe what it is as it's just different.

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Wed Jul 28 2021
5

A near perfect album of melody, instrumentals, lyrics, and harmony. Van Morrison has a great ability to captivate with his music. This is his most well crafted album. 9.8/10

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Tue Aug 17 2021
5

My favourite Van Morrison albums and one of my favourite albums full stop. A thing of beauty. A masterpiece

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Wed Oct 20 2021
5

Очень понравился альбом

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Thu Oct 21 2021
5

great album

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Mon Dec 20 2021
5

I listened to this a lot 30 years ago and expected to like it again instantly. I was put off a bit by not remembering how waily beside you becomes, but the rest of the album holds up extremely well. Layered/complex, even the long songs (Madame George) still hold their way through 9.5 minutes. It's passionate and soulful. Amazing album.

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Wed Dec 22 2021
5

Flawless

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Fri Jan 14 2022
5

Xx

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Mon Feb 28 2022
5

Amazingly chill album. One of my favorite albums to listen to on a Friday evening while chilling.

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Fri Mar 04 2022
5

This is a classic album. For me no other VM album comes close. I love the jazzy arrangements especially the opening title track which I can listen to over and over again. Other hilights; Sweet Thing, (which some younger listeners might recognize from The Waterboys brilliant cover), Cypress Avenue, Madame George, damn I could probably name every song. The arrangements are always tasteful and interesting. The guitar playing also very impressive as is all the playing on this excellent album. 5 🌟

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Wed Mar 09 2022
5

An all time classic

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Tue Mar 29 2022
5

I find something new in every listen. A brilliant and truly timeless album. Easily top-10 of the entire list.

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Mon Apr 04 2022
5

One of my all time favorites!

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Mon Apr 04 2022
5

Growing up in the 70's and 80's, this album was always put as a top ten album of all time. For some reason in recent years, you don't see it quite as high; I'm not sure why? It still sounds great and original. I don't feel this has aged any. His second album and a big change from his first more-pop oriented ("Brown-Eyed Girl" one). A fusion of Van's "Blue-Eyed Soul" and jazz musicians. Van would roughly play each song on an acoustic guitar to the musicians and they would construct the songs from that. Van stayed in a separate room from the musicians and would improvise the lyrics from the music played. Additional instruments were added after. Yeah, lots of history on the recording. Although not an overarching connection between songs, each song is almost its own separate story, the flow of the album has a distinct feel to it. Each song seems to be about romantic fantasies and/or past romantic occurrences. His lyrics tend to use imagery of nature and surroundings and improvised thoughts to progress the story: a definite poetic approach. Additional strings appear to have been added to accentuate certain parts of the songs and adds to the jazzy feel. Song highlights include "Sweet Thing", its majestic feel, "Cypress Avenue", fantasies about a girl from school, and "Madame George", don't know what it's exactly about but Van's most paasionate and emotional singing. This albums stills sounds like a masterpiece to me.

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Mon Apr 11 2022
5

Hard to describe in words, but the serenity and melancholic charm is undeniable. Love it.

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

I give it 9/5 but I’m extremely biased..Van has been my favorite artist since 1970( have all his music plus bootlegs). This is a very good album but in my humble opinion not his best.His songwriting/ poetry is inspiring, love his horn playing.I’ve seen him 3 times in concert( 2nd row in Toronto)…love him…..

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Fri Apr 22 2022
5

A goto sunday morning album. The way the songs hold together is spectacular. There are places where it feels that it could unravel but beautifully manages keeps it together.

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Thu May 05 2022
5

Astral Weeks is one of my favorite albums, one I can listen to endlessly on repeat. It's such a pleasure to hear. This is an album very much of its era, but somehow also out of time. I love the intermingling of jazz and folk, the delicate little baroque touches, the use of flute and vibes and that marvelous double bass. The style of the album is distinctive, improvisational, loose and dreamy. Morrison's lyrics are an eloquent stream of consciousness, best enjoyed as impressions of memory and feeling rather than analyzed for their content. The album was a deeply personal expression for Morrison, and it feels intimate to listen to, like we're privy to his deepest memories. I can't think of another album like it. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): Astral Weeks, Madame George, Ballerina, The Way Young Lovers Do, Sweet Thing, Cyprus Avenue, Beside You, Slim Slow Slider

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Thu May 05 2022
5

Probably one of the greatest albums of all time. Constantly in my Top Three

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Thu May 12 2022
5

I don't always love his singing, but I love his song writing.

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Fri May 13 2022
5

One of my all-time favorites, an album my parents played a lot in my house growing up and one I continue to listen to on a regular basis. The music is magical to me. The arrangements are rich and layered but they feel so natural and organic. The songs flow like water. Van Morrison’s vocals are stunning. He bends and stretches his voice in ways I’ve never heard before or since. Sometimes I just have to laugh at the way he delivers a line. He’ll slur through his words and I’ll have no idea what he’s saying but I feel the emotion! It’s an amazing performance. Loose and jazzy and full of life! I definitely have favorite songs and favorite moments but I tend to think of the album as one piece of music. When I think about it, I remember the big, sweeping emotions and the sound of all these instruments (the strings, the flutes, the piano, the guitar) and how they blend together for one unique sound. Just beautiful. (So funny to get this album right after the Nick Drake album after I compared him to Van Morrison.)

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Mon May 23 2022
5

I think this is Morrison’s best. Tremendous musical range, a cinematic expansiveness in the sound, masterful composition and performance and yet with a genuine feeling of spontaneity and looseness.

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Thu Jun 02 2022
5

There’s not much between this and Moondance in the classic stakes. While a slightly preferred the latter, this is a complete one off.

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Mon Jul 11 2022
5

Guitars and auxiliary instruments sound perfect. Almost a little too sprawling, but really enjoyable.

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Tue Jul 12 2022
5

Van the Man's all time greatest statement, the back story of which is one of the wildest and most batshit insane in all of music. That shouldn't detract from the beauty that still emanates from this album almost fifty-five years on. From the first verse uttered to the last verse sung, Van's voice flows with such grace and effortlessness that one can only wonder... and listen in awe. I still do.

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Thu Aug 11 2022
5

PERFECT

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Thu Aug 18 2022
5

Music at its most mystical.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

Great work. Another classic.

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Mon Sep 05 2022
5

So awesome

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Sun Sep 11 2022
5

Sehr entspanntes nices Album!

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Mon Sep 19 2022
5

Just an unbelievable album and one of the best "vibe" albums of all time. Van Morrison and his band take you on a musical journey which at times feels both timeless and otherworldly. While clearly influential on Bruce's The wild, the Innocent I can't think of anything else that sounds like it. The fusion of folk, jazz, soul, rock, and pop is simply remarkable and his voice is not bad either. Easy 5.

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Mon Sep 19 2022
5

At first I was going to give this a 4, but after a second listen, I think it deserves a 5. Morrison covers a variety of ground from folk rock to Soul/R&B to almost Jazz and it all flows together seamlessly. There are a couple of really great songs like Astral Weeks and Cypress Avenue and everything else is really good. Too bad he's turned into a curmudgeon.

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Mon Sep 19 2022
5

An album that seems to spring out of a place and a time. An organic music cycle. I would consider this a continuous suite more than a series of songs. Much of it seems improvised and most of it is excellent. Cleary Van's muse took him many places over his career. Here, the focus is inward, but not in a spiritual way. It is more inner observations set to a combination of folk, jazz, rock and soul. The songs themselves always seemed to me built on simple structures that progress as a series of layers. It is haunting and meditative at the same time.

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Mon Oct 10 2022
5

What more can you say about this. Beautiful, devastating, a masterpiece. I’ve listened to this record hundreds of times yet I’m overjoyed to have it pop up here so I can listen again.

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Tue Oct 18 2022
5

I just love Van's voice so much

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Sat Oct 29 2022
5

9/10 super fun I just think Van Morrison’s voice gets a little annoying after a while but yeah the music was great!

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Sat Nov 05 2022
5

Van the Man has been Van the Crank for about as long as he was great at this point, but his first Warner Bros. album is one of his all time best. It is etherial and hypnotic and hazy and clear all at the same time. "Sweet Thing" is probably the best Van Morrison song and that is with some tough competition. For better or worse (and I think most likely for better), this album was of the "calm down in case of panic" albums in constant rotation on my ipod during my first year of college.

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Thu Nov 17 2022
5

haunting and lyrical

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Sat Nov 19 2022
5

This is such a brilliant album. A revelation when I first heard it. I'm not even a Van Morrison "fan", but every song on this album moves me. Beautifully arranged and produced with flourishes of folk and jazz and classical each listen yields something new and fresh to enjoy. The title track and Sweet Thing (try the Waterboys cover of Sweet Thing too, it's excellent) are obvious standouts but to single out any particular song does the album a disservice. It really should be taken as a whole piece. The definition of a timeless album. 5 stars

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Fri Dec 02 2022
5

Just an amazing and my favorite Van Morrison album. It's just a great album to listen to start to finish but it hits the peak with Madame George and Ballerina. The recording and production is outstanding, plus all the various instruments used, strings, harpsicords, flutes, vibraphones, they just create this wonderful tapestry that perfectly accompanies but never steps on Vans vocals. This is the perfect album to set back and let spin on vinyl. Easy 5+++ stars.

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Thu Jan 07 2021
4

I liked it, but it kind of started to blur together at times.

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Fri Dec 11 2020
4

I don't dislike Van Morrison, but he's always seemed to me to be the product of the English press trying way too hard to make him into an Irish Bob Dylan. The lyrics here are mostly non-sensical, and there's way too much flute, but it's a solid album. I get why it's on this list, but I don't get why it's treated as if it's part of the Pantheon of Great Music. Best track: Cyprus Avenue

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

verbal

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

Van the man

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

Surprisingly good.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

It's a sweet album with a lot of nice instrumentals. A lot of surprising little instrumental moments that fit really well in the overall context of the album. I can't say that it really grabbed me, but there's also nothing to take issue with. A great album to play in the background. Very summery feel. It drags a bit at the end, though it is overall a very pleasant listen. I might be even more fond of it if Van Morrison wasn't a COVID-denying dick.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

Did get a chance to fully listen

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Sun Jan 17 2021
4

It’s got a good feel to it

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Sun Jan 17 2021
4

@@@@. Very nice acoustic album.

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Tue Mar 16 2021
4

Really love this album. A voice like no other.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

Fine music for a lazy summer day

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

I get the feeling I would need to listen to this record multiple times to appreciate it. I have purposefully avoided Van Morrison in the past because of "Brown Eyed Girl," a song I don't really like much. Hearing this record might make me reevaluate looking into his work. The background behind the album and the "mystique" it has garnered are interesting. Seems the type of record where knowing the lyrics would enhance the overall impression. I enjoyed listening, but I did not hear anything that jumped out to me as a truly transcendent track.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
4

En otrolig resa mellan fantastiska texter och melodier. Instrumentation fantastico. Historisk skiva under musikens, troligtvis, mest intressanta och viktigaste tid.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

Was alright! again, all songs of Van Morrison I like were in this album, so worth listening to again.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

Liked the sound

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Tue Jun 22 2021
4

I guess you had to be there. It's good and all, but it doesn't feel like some turning point in music like the music writers make it out to be. Great lyrics, some wonderful licks and passages, but the songs themselves meander too much.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

Beautiful instrumentation. Melodic, but dreamy and wandering. Very raw. Great flow and consistent concept. However, Morrison's screams of anguish become repetitive and songs lack some needed focus or change-up.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

This album is clearly top notch late 60's/ early 70's singer-songwriter stuff. It's got a great sound, but I kind of have to agree with Van Morrison himself about dismissing the transcendental and exalted position of this album. On the one hand, I can ABSOLUTELY see why people put this up on a tower for all to see - I can totally interpret the music that way. On the other, I can also see Van Morrison saying literally nothing at all and just delivering pretty meaningless stuff in a super competent soul/R&B manner. Maybe that's the genius?

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Fri Apr 02 2021
4

not much to say other than Van Morrison is king

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Wed Jan 20 2021
4

Amazing classic, can be a bit slow at points

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Tue Apr 27 2021
4

Always beautiful to listen to this classic album by Van the Man

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

lovely

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Tue Jan 26 2021
4

Solid.

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Tue May 11 2021
4

A classic.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

Van Morrison siempre me ha sido un si pero no. Tiene cosas que me gustan como este disco y trabajos completamente infumables.

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Fri Jun 11 2021
4

This one is so deep and really a great listen when you’re in the mood for it. Not a very uplifting album, but unique in its own way

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Fri Feb 26 2021
4

It's not as good as Moondance or Blowin' your mind but it's still damn good

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Sat May 01 2021
4

Zeer rustgevend album, met een pure sound

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Sat May 01 2021
4

Zacht en mooi.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

Sweet Thing is pretty sweet

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

I liked his high vocal range. Didn't pay much attention to the lyrics. Some songs seemed pretty similar to me.

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Tue Jun 22 2021
4

Supposedly, there has never been an album like Astral Weeks--certainly, I've never heard one. Compositionally, the songs are dead simple--they're just vamps, repeated endlessly over which Van Morrison vocalizes his poetry. There aren't a lot of real melodies--rather, Van Morrison improvises modally over the vamps. And these songs aren't short either--the longest is almost ten minutes and three others top the seven minute mark. So it's a minor miracle that Astral Weeks isn't a complete snooze. Why not? Well, probably the credit can be split between arranger Larry Fallon and the band. The band consists mostly of jazz musicians, which doesn't mean this is a jazz album in any way. It's pure, if ruminative pop. Rather, the musicians percolate through the vamps with subtle variations that average session musicians wouldn't have been able to manage. Bassist Richard Davis gets the honors here, with his full round bass tone and aggressive attack. And the inventive and tasteful arrangements of Larry Fallon makes these skeletal vamps seem more like full fledged songs than they have any right to. Okay, I'll give Van Morrison himself a little credit, too. His lyrics, mostly ruminations about places and people from his past--if you're in the mood to drift with the atmospheric vamps--weave an undeniable spell. And his vocalizations disguise the threadbare character of the compositions. I don't hear folk or the blues here, by the way. I'm more reminded of Sam Cooke's vocal inflections. So, how to rate something like this? Considering what Van Morrison is going for here, it's how to imagine how it could have been better done. But would I choose to listen to an album of poetry sung over vamps, however pleasant? Probably not. As usual, I'll try to err on the side of generosity.

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Sun Mar 28 2021
4

Good - enjoying it

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Mon Mar 29 2021
4

Super chill vibes from this album, but not my kind of music. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it! It transports you to a simpler world - "in a different place, in a different time".

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Sun May 09 2021
4

Fav tracks: beside you, madame george, slim slow slider, have i told you lately that i love you (hermosa canción, suena a amor puro) Me gustan los arreglos de guitarra, violines, saxo la reverb del saxo paneada a un lado suena genial es el tipo de música que hubiera hecho si hubiera nacido en los 70 De hecho, algunas canciones de Podría terminar pronto... tienen detalles parecidos Música para viajar en carretera por zonas desérticas, rurales, etc...

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Fri Jun 11 2021
4

Early, raw Morrison. Very lyric heavy, fairly slow. Good listen.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
4

Classic rock. Favourite track The Way Young Lovers Do. Needs a relisten.

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Wed Jun 23 2021
4

Nice

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Tue Aug 03 2021
4

Interesting blend of orchestral sounds against the backdrop of Morrison voice. Would listen to again

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Fri Aug 06 2021
4

Shame he's a massive whopper

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Fri Aug 13 2021
4

Needs more listens

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Tue Aug 17 2021
4

An astonishing album to this day.

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Mon Aug 23 2021
4

Opening song is unreal. Reminds me of Tony B Rip

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Tue Aug 24 2021
4

The "Vertigo" of Albums: Few cared about it when it was released, but many now consider it one of the greatest albums ever made. It's not on this album, but "Tupelo Honey" is possibly my all-time favorite song. At least it is on most days. There are hints of "Tupelo Honey" here. But his next album is really when he gets into Tupelo territory. Like Hitchcock's "Vertigo", I think this album has been overpraised to the point where it's a tad overrated. The real magic awaits on Van Morrison's follow up. There are three types of women in this world: Those who think "Brown Eyed Girl" is about them (this group has never heard of Astral Weeks); Those who only know Van Morrison's "hits" and are aware that "Brown Eyed Girl" was recorded and sung by Van when he was a member of the band Them (these women don't especially care for Brown Eyed Girl); and those who own Astral Weeks on vinyl. If a woman in the latter category invites you to her place, chances are she'll put this on and pour country club portions of red wine until one of you cries listening to young Van marvel at the way young lovers do. But there's a good chance you'll get laid before "Slim Slow Slider". So at least you have that going for you.

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Thu Oct 07 2021
4

Interesting album. Thoroughly enjoyed start-to-finish, although one or two songs could have ended a bit sooner. Minor complaint overall.

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Thu Oct 07 2021
4

I wish that - at least once - Van would sing a big long high note on the syllable AAHH.

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Wed Oct 13 2021
4

Lejrbålsmusik møder cirkus. Dejligt legende og svævende. God stemning hele vejen igennem

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Thu Oct 21 2021
4

favorite songs are beside you, madame george, & slim show rider. has jazz/blues elements, stream of consciousness style of writing.

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Thu Mar 18 2021
4

Gorgeous.

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Sat Oct 23 2021
4

I'm not sure if I've listened to this album before or not. I know that this album is regularly cited as some of Van Morrison's best work. All the tracks felt new to me, but they also had a familiar 'Van Morrison' sound. I could easily listen to this album again.

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Tue Oct 26 2021
4

Classic wandering Van album. In a lot of people's top ever albums. I like, but don't love and prefer other albums from '70s/'80s

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Wed Oct 27 2021
4

Surprisingly enjoyable

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Tue Nov 09 2021
4

too many flutes, only critique

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Fri Nov 12 2021
4

felt like a well balanced album. liked it. nothing much more to say.

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Mon Nov 22 2021
4

Awesome, loves it!

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Mon Jan 03 2022
4

Good listen, few songs i hadn't heard

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Wed Jan 12 2022
4

Didn't know the artist, this album is a nice surprise !

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Mon Jan 31 2022
4

Pleasantly surprised as an only-brown-eyed-girl-knower-normie

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Mon Jan 31 2022
4

It made me feel exactly what I imagined being in my twenties in the 1960s would feel like

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Mon Jan 31 2022
4

I liked this. It was a little meandering at times, but it was very emotive in the storytelling and made me nostalgic (?) for a time I wasn't even alive and for things I didn't actually experience.

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Thu Feb 03 2022
4

Classic Van Morrison

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Tue Feb 22 2022
4

Van Morrison may be an anti-vax asshole, but damn if he’s not able to write a good melody. I do prefer Moondance, as the tracks here go a little too long for my tastes, but the songwriting is just splendid throughout. B

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Sat Mar 05 2022
4

I loved this album. Polarising as an individual but musically what a talent.

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Wed Mar 09 2022
4

Decent 70s chill.

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Mon Mar 21 2022
4

Rock de Van Morrison. Demasiado lento para el vinilo.

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Sat Apr 02 2022
4

Beautiful album. Enjoyed the music and the lyrics

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Tue Apr 12 2022
4

Mystic. Cosmic. Ecstatic. Romantic. Contemplative. Meditative. Pastoral. Joyful.

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Tue Apr 12 2022
4

Great album. A little meandering at times, almost sounding like some stream of consciousness from Van, but it works. 4 stars.

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Tue Apr 19 2022
4

Easy classic. A quite singular creative vision

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Tue Apr 19 2022
4

Mega-cheelin

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Mon Apr 25 2022
4

I wonder what we'd think of Van Morrison if we didn't have Brown Eyed Girl. Personally I like his 1979-1991 period the best, but this is a great, great early album.

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Thu Apr 28 2022
4

The way young lovers do and sweet thing are definitely my favorite (maybe because they're the shortest in the album lmao) but Ig that won't be my favorite album of Van Morrison

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Sat Apr 30 2022
4

Not my favorite

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Mon May 09 2022
4

I enjoyed it and everything suggested subsequently! Would listen to more. : ]

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Tue May 10 2022
4

I really like the "disjointed but worked" aspect of Astral Weeks. It's full of little instrumental arrangements here and there, but it never seems completely written. Van Morrison seems to have no qualms about expressing himself a bit more eccentrically than other folk singers of the time. I wouldn't listen to this record every day, but I always liked it.

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Tue May 10 2022
4

Classic Van from before he was eaten alive by his ego.

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Tue May 10 2022
4

Enjoyable and diverse album with folk, pop, rock, psychodelic elements. No song really stands out but it's an overall great album

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Tue May 10 2022
4

No particular song stands our, but the passion and purity of his voice put the lyrics to life. It was really enjoyable to experience.

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Mon May 30 2022
4

You have to be able to enter Van Morrison's dream space to bear him, but I'm often able to do so and was in an especially good position for it tonight. Highly noodly, the songs hang together in sequence better than they ever do internally. Not a boring dream, musically speaking: We move through substantial terrain.

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Tue May 31 2022
4

Fantastic album. You feel the highs, the lows, the triumphs of a successful love. For the majority of the LP, I felt as if were walking through an open tree-line thanks to the acoustic guitar. A couple of the songs drag on, but that's supported by the wonderful horn section, and Morrison's rising and lowering voice that keeps the energy of the song intact. Overall, sweet experience.

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Wed Jun 01 2022
4

Mijn held Jeff Buckley heeft veel nummers van Van Morrison gecoverd. Dus 3 nummers van dit album kende ik eigenlijk alleen in Buckley uitvoering. Erg tof om ze nu ook een keer in de originele versies te horen. Prachtige stem heeft die Van.

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Wed Jun 01 2022
4

Madame George, dat maakt het voor mij een prachtalbum.

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Wed Jun 01 2022
4

muito bom mas a concorrência tava o aço

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Tue Jun 21 2022
4

Great little album. Loved the jazz influence.

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Thu Jun 23 2022
4

Fav songs: - Sweet Thing

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Tue Jun 28 2022
4

Nice

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Thu Jul 14 2022
4

I've heard this album several times. It always makes me feel like I'm 12, in the backseat of my parents' car, trying to fade into sleep during a road trip by watching the moon through the moon roof. I'm sure that never actually happened, but that's the part of my brain Morrison's unique drug of a voice triggers.

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Mon Jul 18 2022
4

Lost my notes! I thought it was beautiful and definitely worth your time. Inventive, intricate folk songs.

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Tue Aug 02 2022
4

Van Morrisons voice is such an incredibly powerful instrument. They could’ve stripped the record of instruments and it would still sound intriguing. The songwriting is beyond incredible (especially on Beside You), even though the scarce instrumentation is beginning to wear out towards the very end. It’s feels like one cohesive stream of consciousness - and what a journey it is.

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Thu Aug 11 2022
4

Sounds like Morrison. great background music but nothing i'd probably go out of my way to play, but this album will go on shuffle

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Tue Aug 16 2022
4

Already owned, so obviously I quite like it; although it's not in regular rotation and evokes memories of 15-20 years ago. The title track stands out.

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Fri Aug 19 2022
4

so. here's the deal. van morrison was my first album. so whenever this playlist starts I hear. and it stoned me. whenever this playlist I'm building ends I hear. and it stoned me. sometimes I just hear and it stoned me. in my thoughts. this man's voice is in my head a lot. so, now, i like it more thank i did. it.wore.me.down.

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Fri Aug 19 2022
4

I never this was Van Morrison. Lots of sentimentality and candor. Killer combo for me.

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Tue Aug 23 2022
4

És un disc que a l'escolta sempre promet més del que dóna. Curiosament, o precissament per això, sempre s'acaba escoltant de nou, trobant-hi nous detalls per disfrutar

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Mon Aug 29 2022
4

All I knew was brown eyed girl previously. This was a great listen.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
4

Simple, classic flower child music

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Thu Sep 01 2022
4

Great album. I do prefer No Guru, No Method, No Teacher.

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Wed Sep 21 2022
4

Good style enjoyed its folky ness

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Fri Oct 14 2022
4

Folk rock with jazz influence? Sign me up for that! Love the mix of styles here and his lyricism seems fantastic. I should dig in more.

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Sat Oct 22 2022
4

Artsy! Sounds like something that people who smoke cigarettes and drink wine listen to.

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Mon Oct 24 2022
4

Holy cow, this album must be responsible for the conception of so many children.

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Wed Nov 02 2022
4

almost perfect

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Mon Nov 07 2022
4

Great Van album

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Wed Nov 09 2022
4

Astral Weeks - amazing song Sweet thing - very solid song. fun guitar work Cyprus Avenue - fun song The Way Young Lovers Do - really good song. jazzy

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Wed Nov 16 2022
4

I've never given Van a chance! I think I wrote him off as a hippie, Bob Dylan wannabe, but he's so much more. What a nice surprise!

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Tue Nov 22 2022
4

Liked some songs more than others, but overall a pretty good album. 4/5

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Fri Dec 02 2022
4

Really surprised by how much I liked this album. I don't know much about Van Morrison outside of his few hits. But this whole album works. Good stuff here.

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Fri Dec 02 2022
4

Completely unexpected.

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Fri Dec 02 2022
4

Beautifully recorded and some of Van Morrison’s strongest songs. But his vocals/phrasing and songwriting are what make this album special.

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Fri Dec 02 2022
4

I wasn't excited going in, but I ended up really enjoying this.

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Wed Nov 04 2020
3

It’s good and that but not super engaging

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Wed Jun 16 2021
3

3.5

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Sun Jan 10 2021
3

Morrison's soothing voice backed by the beautiful strumming of the guitar took my mind to another place and almost put me to sleep.

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Mon Feb 22 2021
3

Only somewhat did it for me

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Wed May 19 2021
3

It's good, I don't think it'll be on the regular rotation. 3 star

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Tue Jan 26 2021
3

ANTI MASKERRRRRRRR. Really too bad because this really is an exceptional record. It would’ve been a 5 but I’ll give it 3 because of his recent transgressions and being an old loser boomer.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
3

Nice voice but songs are too long

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Mon Mar 22 2021
3

This album suffers from the same thing many do for me, it's too much of the same thing. Maybe it's an issue with me. I like Van Morrison, Moondance is among my most favourite songs, and there are great songs on here. It's just too much Van Morrison in one go though.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
3

Melodious. Different instruments in left and right channel. Long tracks. Voice easy to listen to and rides the instrumentation well. Nice flourishes of single wind or string instruments. Not sure what the lyrics are alluding to, don't have a good imagery of the emotions presented. Presents a sad but hopeful mood.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
3

Another album known to me. The only Van Morrison album I've ever listened to.

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Thu Jun 24 2021
3

ok. would listen to it again.

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