Van Morrison: Into the Music

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Into the MusicA fresh dose of inspiration and often-subtle stylistic changes have resulted in Van Morrison’s best album since at least 1971. The singer’s spiritual/romantic orientation and trance-like vocals remain essentially intact, as does his longstanding blend of American rock, folk and blues and Scottish/Irish elements.

But Into the Music, which finds Van in an exuberant, highly involved state, employs horns and female singers more sparingly and successfully than on recent LPs; another plus is the emphasis on strings, which had been notably absent on Morrison’s last few albums. Among the cuts that make this a contender for best-of-1979 lists: “And the Healing Has Begun,” an atmospheric look at Van’s present mood; and “It’s All in the Game,” where he turns Tommy Edwards’s excellent old pop tune into a transcendent bow to love’s powers.

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