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Two Songs Reviewed: When Van Morrison Forgot That Love Existed, When Brad Paisley Remembered

I Forgot That Love Existed – Van Morrison – Timing is everything. If I had been writting this blog in February of this year you’d be sick of the name Van Morrison when I caught his Astral Weeks concert at both MSG and  at the Beacon Theatre. The latter being one of the best concerts of the year. But I wasn’t so I didn’t and so flipping over a twenty year old song might seem a bit weird. “I Forgot That Love Existed” ululates over a humming melody which keeps on interrupting itself with horns. It starts with a keyboard motif and a click clack drums keeping very strict time and Morrison seems to be thinking so hard about what is truly real before a horn solo interrupts. The song neither builds not subsides it moves in powerful circles of sound around Morrison’s gruff and beautiful vocals. The lyric is typically ecentric, “Oh, oh, Socrates and Plato, they praised it to the skies,  anyone who’s ever loved, everyone who’s ever tried.” It is the second best song (“Queen Of the Slipstream” is the best) and not the song he turns to from this album, “Did Ye Get Healed” would be that one. But it so deeply weird and deeply true it stands out in a long and very great catalogue.

The Wind – Brad Paisley – Did you read Ben Ratliff’s review of the Paisley concert in the New York Times? Pretty good but pretty harsh as well. He made two pretty interesting points. 1) “Mr. Paisley is a guitar geek posing as a dry wit”. Well put though Ratliff finds it boring and I don’t. Paisley hit me as the opposite of self-indulgent, every solo was in service to the song. 2)  On Paisley’s lyrics: “enlightened winks, usually counterintuitive, mixing base and noble instincts.” That is great music criticism but I think Ratliff underestimates the songs a little.

For instance “The Wind” is so good it is ridiculously good and it such a dodgy sentiment it is exceedingly difficult to pull. It is almost a put down:

“To the teller down at the bank,  you’re just another checking account
To the plumber that came today, you’re just another house
At the airport ticket counter,  you’re just another fare
At the beauty shop at the mall,  well,  you’re just another head of hair”

The payoff lyrically in the chorus is ” To the world you may be just another girl,  but to me, baby, you are the world” may read but it doesn’t sing weak.The verse is a fast country rock twang and the chorus is joyful life with background harmonies and guitar runs between the couples on the first chorus and violins on the second. Even the bridge is great. Incidentally, it would make a great ballad as well.

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