A Review of Van Morrison's 'Poetic Champions Compose'

Poetic Champions Compose is a wonderful addition to Van Morrison's collection of deep, introspective meditations. Morrison has crawled back his careful Celtic muse, polishing prior triumphs and diving further into more depth at the borders of his creativity, unlike other elderly pop musicians who react to shifting trends by furiously, mindlessly pursuing patterns.

Let's have a walk back into 1987's Van Morrison album release, Poetic Champions Compose.

Composition and Recording

Poetic Champions Compose was produced in 1987 by Mercury Records. The album introduced itself as an artistic album with the beautiful beginning five-minute jazz instrumental "Spanish Steps."

Van Morrison has been releasing art recordings ever since Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, so this album isn't surprising with the record remaining completely set ballads and mid-tempos, with just Morrison's vocal to lure you into his musical style.

Morrison had planned for the album to be entirely comprised of instrumental jazz compositions but changed his mind and started his three pieces with instrumentals in"Allow Me," "Celtic Excavation," and"Spanish Steps."

The album emits a general feeling of peace and hopes with beautiful instrumentation touch. Morrison isn't a master on the alto sax, but his efforts here are as captivating as his more brilliant vocal work, and Neil Drinkwater provides precisely complementary piano solos. Thankfully, he ditched his intentions for a complete album of this and rather provided these three beauties.

"I Forgot That Love Existed," "Queen Of The Slipstream," "The Mystery," and "Give Me The Rapture" are all have a nightclub and jazz vibe to them than the earlier albums. And they're a modernized version of Van's iconic sound from the 1970s.

Critical Reviews

At the time, critics praised the album and described it as "mood music." Morrison remarked that he does his finest work while he is happy and that artists do not need to be depressed to create incredible works.

While the album also gets average reviews, according to Rolling Stone, portions of the music and lyrics are dull and accomplish nothing except build an atmosphere. Still, the album is a great entry in his series of deep, contemplative investigations even if Morrison does not improve.

According to AllMusic, the album is an arty, mid-tempo ballad giving the album a warmer and brighter side from his previous words of the 80s.

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