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‘Depressing rants’ – Van Morrison’s lockdown inspired album hits wrong notes with critics

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Van Morrison PIC Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Van Morrison PIC Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Van Morrison PIC Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Van Morrison’s latest album — in which he rails against lockdown — has been blasted as a series of “depressing rants” by a “conspiracy theorist”, as many critics hit out at the record.

Rolling Stone’s Jonathan Bernstein gave ‘The Latest Record Project Volume 1’ two out of five stars, branding the Belfast Blues legend’s 28-track disc “a largely unlistenable collection of rants and riffs”.

Last autumn the publication ran a scathing op-ed written by Health Minister Robin Swann who criticised Morrison’s anti-lockdown protest songs, calling them “dangerous”.

Bernstein dubbed the two-hour album a “delightfully terrible study in casual grievance”.

He added: “Morrison’s repetition sounds less like the trance-like mysticism of a Caledonia poet and more like a furious customer demanding a refund.”

However, the writer does praise track Duper’s Delight, saying it “shows Morrison at his best: letting his audience in on his own profound process of self-inquiry”.

The track-list includes titles such as The Long Con, Big Lie, Why Are You on Facebook and Stop Bitching. Do Something, reflecting targets of the singer’s ire such as ‘Big Tech’, and have been described as conspiratorial in tone.

Morrison’s latest tunes also received lower scores from The Guardian and RTÉ, with both media outlets awarding it one star out of five.

The former’s music critic, Alexis Petridis, called it a collection of “depressing rants” and a “genuinely depressing listen”.

Noting the Brown Eyed Girl singer is no stranger to “sounding like a conspiracy theorist” — referencing two songs on previous works, 2005’s They Sold Me Out, and 2008’s School of Hard Knocks —– Petridis insists the stakes were upped on ‘Latest Record Project Volume 1’ given “the sheeple are truly awoken”.

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“The tone isn’t anything as stirring or exciting as anger, just endless peevish discontent and sneering dismissal,” wrote the journalist.

Meanwhile, RTÉ’s Alan Corr hits on a slightly more positive conclusion — the record is perfectly passable, but listeners shouldn’t pay too much attention to the lyrical content.

“[It’s] a 28-track, slapdash triple album of tastefully played blues, R&B, jazz, country, and soul which will sound perfectly fine at your next Deliveroo sponsored, socially distanced outdoor dinner party.

"As long as you don’t listen to the lyrics,” says Corr.

On the track Where Have All The Rebels Gone, in which Morrison laments there is "No life, no gigs, no choice, no voice”, Corr said the veteran crooner is in a “field of his own alright and he should end up playing in a field on his own sometime this summer”.

Regardless, fans haven’t been put off: 89% of Google users have so far liked the album.


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