http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/d13672e24ef63f1115dfb40b7597da83726f8a80.jpg Pay The Devil

Van Morrison

Pay The Devil

Lost Highway Records
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
March 28, 2006

"How polished is Van Morrison's brand of musical mysticism? On last year's Magic Time, he sang a list of smutty British films and made it sound like cosmic wisdom. After forty years of astral moods, Morrison seems to have realized that his talent for elevating the everyday into the profound would serve him well in country music. So when he sings ""My Bucket's Got a Hole in It,"" he finds the same fertile territory that Hank Williams Sr. did, balancing between a quotidian complaint and Sisyphean dread. Pay the Devil, Morrison's squintillionth album, contains twelve covers of classic country songs, from ""Things Have Gone to Pieces"" to ""Your Cheatin' Heart,"" and three new compositions that work well right beside them. The album is pleasant but uninspiring, perhaps because Morrison's whiskey voice matches up so easily with these bourbon-soaked songs. While Morrison does nothing discreditable with this material, he also finds nothing new in it."

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Santa Monica”

    Everclear | 1996

    After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

    More Song Stories entries »