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Keep It Simple

At this point in his career, Van Morrison is less interested in surprises than in further exploring his long-standing obsessions: surviving the shocks of this life and rising gracefully toward the next one. Keep It Simple finds him looking back on his sixty-two years, filled with longing — for home, for deliverance from the world’s demands, for spiritual transcendence. He boasts of surviving the “School of HardKnocks,” wryly chronicles a newfound sobriety in the aging roust about’s lament “Don’t Go to Nightclubs Anymore” and sails into the mystic on the album closer, “Behind the Ritual.” Typically, the band settles into a comfortable groove while Morrison lifts off into the trancelike realm he calls “entrainment.” Meanwhile, the arrangements are elegantly spare: subtle works of guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, occasional backup singers and, at the center of it all, Morrison’s incomparable voice, as expressive as ever. “Only a fool could think that things would ever be simple again,” he sings on the title track. But on this simple, soulful record, that kind of foolishness feels like wisdom.

In This Article: Van Morrison

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