Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Outside of the circles of his most dedicated fans, the arrival of a Van Morrison album in the 21st century has not been a news event. That trend stopped last week, however, when Morrison, 75, released "Latest Record Project, Vol. 1," a 28-track double album that includes eyebrow-raising song titles such as "Where Have All the Rebels Gone," "Why Are You on Facebook?" and "Stop Bitching, Do Something." This album is now very much news: Variety published a list of "The 10 Craziest Lyrics" from the record, while the Jerusalem Post rounded up all of the claims of anti-Semitism implied in his song called "They Own the Media" and other lyrics scattered throughout.
This turn toward the alt-right didn't come out of nowhere. Broadly speaking, Morrison's career arc looks something like this: He went from being a brash teenage wunderkind with his band Them, to a promising young solo artist ("Brown Eyed Girl"), to a moody, soulful poet casually creating masterpieces ("Astral Weeks" and "Moondance"), to a middle-aged curmudgeon showcasing occasional moments of brilliance ("Common One"), until he slowly devolved into a boozy-uncle type, cranking out boilerplate blues LPs while leaning on his earlier legacy to fill concert halls.
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