Music is a constantly evolving beast, and as it changes, it leaves behind something greater when its era has passed: a legacy. While music is continually redefining itself, it's important to look back on the major markers that helped further the progression.
Often times, music changes with society. The songs that capture the essence of a time period are the ones most often remembered. Among the signs of the times is how the world interprets love, and how art embraces it. Van Morrison captured the romance of the 60s in Moondance perfectly, his 1970 album that put him on the map serving as a key record in music history.
Moondance is a modest album, but it tells stories that still resonates today. 'And It Stoned Me' opens the album on an almost sobering note, recalling a warm lakeside memory above sweet guitars and saxophones. Title track 'Moondance,' perhaps the most popular song off of the album, has a much more directly romantic vibe. The old-school jazz and lounge vibes really make the track standout, and Morrison's crooning of "Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love / Can I just make some more romance with you, my love" really amplifies the sense of passion the song elicits. The saxophone solo does absolute wonders, too. Even more old-fashioned is 'Everyone,' its cheerful baroque style taking you all the way back into the sound of the Middle Ages.
On top of capturing the beauty of the past, it stays optimistic for the future as well as adding in some really progressive moments. Morrison combines baroque, lounge, jazz, and more throughout the album, making Moondance incredibly diverse. The emphasis on the saxophone really adds a nice, unique flair to the album as well, especially in 'Moondance' and the calls-and-answers between the vocals and sax in 'These Dreams Of You.' Morrison's vocals shine in tracks like 'Into The Mystic,' where he keeps restrained in the verses before exploding out in the choruses. All of Moondance stays close to the idea of memories and love, 'Caravan' employing hippie imagery to capture the essence of the decade and closing track 'Glad Tidings' bringing the album to a poppy (in such a way that it feels ahead of its time) and optimistic close.
Music captures the essence of an era, and the songs that really embody the sentiments of a time are the ones that we remember forever. Whether they capture a moment in time of our own lives or comment on the state of the world, a song that takes you back to memories will always stand out. Van Morrison captured the romance of the 60s in Moondance perfectly, keeping the good memories at heart and looking ahead with hopeful optimism for the new memories yet to be made.
Favorite Tracks: Into The Mystic, Caravan, Moondance
Least Favorite Track: Everyone
Rating: 81 / 100
Stream or buy Moondance on Apple Music, and follow our Throwback Playlist on Spotify: