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Van Morrison

Back on Top

  • Virgin

Throughout the 1990s, Van Morrison's recordings have been extraordinarily consistent, but there are some signs that complacency may be starting to settle into his work. On Back On Top, his singing is still remarkable — check out how he turns the darkness of “Precious Time” into spiritual enlightenment — but the majority of this set lacks the intensity of his typical fare. That's clear from the surprisingly mundane album opener “Goin' Down Geneva” right through others like the gentle but uneventful “Reminds Me of You” and the equally subdued “High Summer.” Every Van Morrison album has a great love song, though, and this one is no exception. “When the Leaves Come Falling Down” is this disc's picturesque diamond, a beauty that has the potential to go down as one of his classics. Too bad there aren't more moments like it on the rest of the set.

Kevin O'Hare