18 June 2006

Reelin' and Rockin'

Days Like This    It's a lazy day 'round these parts, the Doc's ambition roughly that of a sloth's.  At least, however, I managed to convert a few more CDs to MP3 files so I'm not always fumbling with clutter & clobber.  In doing so, though, I wound up listening to Van Morrison's Days Like This for the first time in a very long while.  An imperfect but generally underrated album at the time of its release (1995), it's one of those easy Sunday-afternoon albums that grows with repeated listenings.  Largely a piece of mellow grooves, it's also a work of restlessness searching for rest, as many Morrison recordings are.  Differently, though, this one finds rest (after a fashion, anyway) not in contemplation or nostalgia, but in an expression of carnality with the stepping romanticism of its closing track, "In The Afternoon."  It's after that song's bridge that flight is assumed, or rather a kind of dizzied ascent, Morrison's voice alternately soaring and growling as he declares how his lover has got him "rollin' and tumblin' / and talkin' all out of [his] mind."  Okay, so the lyrics aren't John Donne, but the inflections and cadences are superb, simultaneously liberated and muted; there's something almost perfectly checked about the delivery, as if the album has somehow shifted from being shaken to being stirred right at its finale.  There's also something playfully steeling about it all--- and perfectly appropriate for a Sunday (er) afternoon.  Carpe meridianus?

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