Let’s flashback to prom of 1970, you’re wearing your weird and puffy dress—the one with sleeves and your date is wearing a white suit with a ruffled dress shirt and those shoes (you know the kind). As the night progresses, Van Morrison’s Moondance plays through the auditorium: The love song of the time. “Well, it’s a marvelous time for a moondance with the stars up above in your eyes.” Times were just so much classier back then, weren’t they?
Okay, so must of us might not have even been born when Van Morrison released his album “Moondance” 45 years ago today, but people sure as hell still love it which is why there’s a deluxe version of the album that came out in 2013; it features Morrison and his band recording songs over and over again in the studio. You hear his producers and whoever is in charge of making sure the songs sound perfect saying things like “How does it feel Van?” and “Can we do it for the money now?” It’s actually kind of epic, if I’m being honest.
I decided to write this because I had been just absolutely in love with Crazy Love, the third song on the album, for years. It’s a song about making love and love itself, which seemed to be a reoccurring theme in the album. I was glad that this forced me into listening to the whole album for the first time ever because I absolutely loved it.
These Dreams of You is another spectacular one and it’s different than the others, while still kind of still being the same. (How Van how?) It’s kind of like that “fuck you for breaking my heart” kind of song but in the 1970’s Van Morrison type of way that’s really classy and kind of awesome. Van is such a good story-teller in his lyrics in that he doesn’t just talk about how he’s dreaming about this girl but he talks about the dreams specifically. “I dreamed we played we played cards in the dark and you lost and you lied, wasn’t very hard to do but you hurt me deep down inside.” I feel you, Van.
Besides the Moondance album being the ultimate lovemaking and romance album ever, it’s also the ultimate road trip playlist. I can totally see myself in my car that was made sometime in the 60’s, driving around with my friends and playing air instruments as Caravan came on. (When I’m not behind the wheel, duh.) “And the caravan has all my friends, it will stay with me until the end.” Doesn’t that just make you want to gather up all your friends and go on a road trip, like tomorrow?
I think my favorite thing about this as I mentioned when I was talking about These Dreams of You is the story-telling kind of aspect. Dare I compare him to Johnny Cash in that aspect? Yes, I dare. He just has this really rare quality and he shows it in this album. In the first verse of And it Stoned Me, Van and Billy are “standin’ there” as the rain keeps “pourin’ down” and a couple of verses later, the sun let out and the rain stopped. Then, they go home and sing a song and Van mentions that their throats were getting dry as they sang. That is story-telling people.
Plus, something I haven’t addressed is his incredibly soulful voice, which I would probably compare to Allen Stone; that kind of voice that hits you in the gut. You feel? Van Morrison, your voice is like the wind; you can’t see it but you can feel it. (Sorry, I had to guys)
I think the point I’m trying to make today on this great 45th anniversary of Moondance is that much to my surprise, I love an album that was created so many years ago. The messages are universal in that we can still relate to what he sings about today in 2015 and the songs are stories and I love stories. This album makes you want to slow dance under the moonlight and make love and go on road-trips with Van Morrison. We all need a Van in our lives people (or maybe his son/daughter if they take after him)
In case you were wondering, Van Morrison is currently working on his 35th album (YES 35, that’s wasn’t a typo!) and it will be released in March. The question now is, do we still care? Or do we just listen to his old stuff and bask in the glory that was 70’s music and story telling? I guess we will see. For now though, I will be listening to the Moondance album on repeat and getting strange looks from people who just don’t get it.
Happy 45th birthday, Moondance! One more decade until you’re a senior citizen and can get discounts at Denny’s!