Friday, June 21, 2024

Van Morrison Released a Stealth Album Last May That Sold Just 10,500 Copies, Almost No One Knew


Did you know Van Morrison released an album this year? It came out in May and was called What’s It Gonna Take?

Total sales were just 10,500. Almost no one knew about it, and no one bought it. How those 10,500 did is a mystery to me. There were almost no reviews except for one that called it insufferable.

There are 15 songs on “What’s It Gonna Take?” The first nine have lyrics that are jus rants against the government — American, Irish — for putting us in lockdown and making people get a vaccine. Van doesn’t like to be told what to do, he’s made that clear. Some of those titles are “Fodder for the Masses,” “Fighting Back is the New Normal,” and “Money from America.”

The other six songs are actually pretty good. If we could stand Van anymore they’d be hits. The best of them is “Pretending” at six minutes, forty seven seconds. That’s not the longest song on the album. That would be the turgid seven minutes and forty seconds of “Dangerous” that kicks this thing off.

If we could take those six songs and chuck the rest, I’d be happy. Van’s voice is just wonderful in all its soulful splendor. The music for each song, and the band’s execution of such, are delicious. I could listen to instrumentals of these songs all day. Many kudos to the band, from piano to horns. Couldn’t be better. Soul. blues, New Orleans jazz filtered through Ireland. As a musician, Van stands tall. He should just stay clear of politics and polemics.

I listened to “What’s It Gonna Take” on Spotify, which used its algo to start another album right after without asking me. Thank goodness. The other album was Paul Carrack’s “One on One,” released last year. Top to bottom, start to finish, this is a winner. It’s on deep rotation for me now and I’m ordered the CD. Carrack has another album coming soon, with a new single (See below).

You know Paul Carrack’s voice. He had his first hit, “How Long,” with Ace, in the 70s. He sang lead on Squeeze’s all time smash, “Tempted.” He’s had incredible under the radar career. His voice is like dessert. Once you’ve heard it, you’ll want more.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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