Keep It Simple is at once
Van MorrisonKeep It Simple(Lost Highway)
Keep It Simple is at once “nothing special and extraordinarily wise,” said Ben Ratliff in The New York Times. At 62, Van Morrison has mastered his craft. His gruff yet inviting voice remains untarnished and ever expressive, his musicianship impressive, and his songs pointed and meticulously structured. As its title implies, Morrison keeps this album simple and never strays from his usual form. Yet the Irishman, like many of his musical peers, has become ruminative in his old age and thus has written an “album about calming down after a life of rigmarole.” These songs offer a personal look at the life of the incredibly private Morrison, said Anthony DeCurtis in Rolling Stone. He reflects on a past “filled with longing—for home, for deliverance from the world’s demands, for spiritual transcendence.” He reminisces about being reared by the “School of Hard Knocks,” touches on his newfound sobriety on “Don’t Go to Nightclubs Anymore,” and “sails into the mystic” on “Behind the Ritual.” Morrison could sing “blah-blah-blah”—which he actually does in that last song—and “still suspend your entire sense of self,” said Pete Paphides in the London Times. He might be playing it safe as he gets older, but he shows himself to have grown wiser as well.