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Van Morrison finished the 1970s on a high note, with the single 'Into the Music' in 1979. Fans first received a glimpse of Morrison's dissatisfaction with the 1980's 'Common One,' an experimental six-song collection focused on the 15-minute ballad "Summertime in England."
The album's jazz undertones and overall absence of radio-friendly melodies split fans, with some reviews dismissing it as uninteresting or musically vague — and, as Morrison's fans soon discovered, it was only the beginning of an often mystifying period for the iconic musician.
Let's turn the clock and review Van Morrison Beautiful Vision album.
Beautiful Vision, Morrison's thirteenth album, was released in February 1982. Morrison returned to his origins with Beautiful Vision, and while each of the album's ten songs excelled on its artistic qualities, the album as a whole took on a strongly Irish feel.
The first song, 'Celtic Ray,' is unmistakably Irish, with Morrison pining for his homeland. He sings that he's been gone for much too long in the song.
Morrison resided in the Vanlose area of Copenhagen with his northern lover Ulla Munch for a brief period in the early 1980s, and his surroundings influenced his music. 'She Gives Me Religion,' 'Scandinavia,' 'Vanlose Stairway,' and the title track of Beautiful Vision were all inspired by this.
Beautiful Vision symbolizes the period when Van Morrison began to fade from the spotlights, and his music began to appeal to a smaller fan base. The soundtrack has fallen into soft jazz patterns, like a calmer version of Into the Music's sound, and it's also rather isolated.
Even though it's less experimental and broad than his early work, Beautiful Vision is one of his most consistently positive albums.
There is also "Dweller on the Threshold" and "Cleaning Windows," two appealing singles. The former is mixing sad lyrics with a quick beat. The latter is a presumably historical narrative influenced by R&B from Morrison's days in Belfast.
"Across the Bridge Where Angels Dwell" is the album's outstanding piece, fusing R&B, Jazz, and Gospel into a lovely combination, with Morrison's voice flowing over the female backup voices.
Beautiful Vision got positive reviews but had moderate chart success, reaching number 31 on the UK album charts and ranked 44 in the US Billboard 200.
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