Van Morrison


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It's unusual for a decade-defining record to come out in that decade's first year, but that was clearly the case with "Moondance". While it would have been one of the finest albums of any decade, it clearly marked a turning point both for Van Morrison and for rock as a whole. Coming after 1968's expansive, acoustic, jazz-inflected "Astral Weeks", "Moondance" marks a complete about-face; instead of looking inward to the depths of his soul, Van turned his gaze towards sunnier climes, offering up a seamless disc of tightly composed and arranged tunes brimming with warmth and energy. Here the R&B influence that had been part of Morrison's toolkit since his days fronting Them truly came to the fore at last. "Crazy Love", "Caravan", and "Brand New Day" could have been covered by any great soul singer, even as they redefined 'soul' through the filter of Morrison's eclectic sensibilities. An openhearted record full of truly inspirational moments, "Moondance" is Van at the absolute top of his game, setting the pace for everyone else to follow. Nearly every song here is a stone-cold classic, and "Moondance" has become embedded in the collective pop consciousness as one of the most important touchstones of its time.

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