Van Morrison

Our parents had Sinatra. If you’re above your mid-30s, you have Van Morrison. The voice, effortlessly soulful, rawly distinct, is as close to iconic as contemporary life will allow; anybody who has listened to a Van CD in a dark room in the middle of the night knows the day that voice goes, a little bit of all of us will go with it. Morrison’s self-penned confessions perch between revelation and coy distance, from “Melancholia” to “Washing Windows.” He’s at his best as a pop stylist; his latest is not that. Down the Road is the quasi-blues according to Van. While your toe will tap, curiosity will not be piqued. The arrangements are stock, the songs are of a love too familiar, and there’s not much evidence of the hard work or reflection that produced The Healing Game or Veedon Fleece. Still, he’s the only Van we’ve got, and he could teach Paul Westerberg a thing or two about phoning it in.