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4.5 out of 5 stars
Days Like This
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Strangely enough, it seems in my survey that most hard-core Van Morrison fans despise this release, just absolutely loathe it, and I can't quite figure out why. While not necessarily my favorite VM album of all time (Live at the Grand Opera House-Belfast,No Guru, No Method, No Teacher), this is one I keep coming back to on a regular basis, and usually listening all the way through, at least four or five times through.

The tone for this recording is set on the first track with the irresistible "Perfect Fit." If you don't find this song entertaining and infectious with its rhythm, horn arrangements, and simple yet compelling backbeat and bass line, then you're musically inaccessible and/or dead.

The album is a superb collection of songs exploring common emotions and situations with which we are all familiar, yet those not too often explored by the more mainstream artists, or let out into the open by us, the public. A great example is "Underlying Depression," exploring the blues we are all susceptible too, the blues which are caused by and obvious in everything around us, yet which communicates an unspoken hope. The same is true of "Melancholia." Then there is the subtle it's-me-against-the-world message of "Russian Roulette." The same is true on "Days Like This" with its "poor me" attitude couched in a naturally seductive melody.

Also on the CD are a two odes to Morrison's Christian mysticism, "No Religion" and "Ancient Highway." "Religion" laments the distractions of modern life and the inherent contradictions which challenge faith. "Highway" is a serene and finally intense emotional exploration of inequity, betrayal, falsity, and VM's stated requirement for a spiritual grounding in order to escape and ultimately triumph over the difficulties we experience each day. "Highway" is highly reminiscent of "Rave On" from the "Live at the Royal Opera House" release.

An interesting bit of VM trivia: both "Raincheck" and "No Religion" are banned in Malaysia. Both are considered to be subversive, and possibly even heretical in questioning the authority and the strength/presence of religion.

All in all, this is one of my favorite VM recordings, getting play at least four or five times a month. It is thematically and musically consistent and fluid throughout, an enjoyable musical experience, and a vigorous emotional, spiritual, and intellectual workout if you choose to take that challenge.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 1998
Format: Audio CD
From the head-bouncing opening riff of "Perfect Fit" to the rambling, sensual fade out of "In the Afternoon," this album is a Morrison masterpiece. Spirited love songs alternate with poetic musings on mental health and spirituality, taking you on a musical journey of discovery you'll want to listen to over and over again. Van's cover of the Walker/Arnold classic "You Don't Know Me" is reason enough to buy this CD.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
When this album was released, my interest in Van had been piqued only 1 year or so previously. From the moment I heard Days Like This over the radio, I was hooked. This was classic Van Morrison with a new, jazzier, twist. My first dance at my wedding was to "Days" and several people, including my brother-in-law inquired about the album, and went on to buy it and love it. Thanks Van, for an original and inspiring album.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 1998
Format: Audio CD
The first time I listened to this album I was disappointed. Only "Songwriter" "And Days Like This" immediately struck me as any good. I gave it a second listen some days later and was surprised to hear some interesting things pop out that I missed the first time around. It's only gotten better with repeated listenings. This album has a way of growing on you...only one or two weak songs.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2001
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Admission: I wasn't the biggest Van fan. I knew the hits and the early stuff from the radio--it was all good. But I never got the Mystic trip, mostly ignorance on my part. Luckily, a few fellow travelers insisted that I listen closer. "Days Like This" quickly became the key that unlocked the whole Morrison catalog for me. I suppose it's never too late to arrive at a good party.
I can't imagine a collection of songs with more bounce, intelligence, insight and soul than "Days Like This." An example of an artist at the height of his powers--which seems to be the norm for Mr. Morrison.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
This Van release from '95 really has an upbeat feel overall, and the recording, production, and horn arrangements are all very well done. I especially like the Van albums with Pee Wee Ellis arranging the horns, he makes a great musical partner. I don't think Shana Morrison is as bad as other reviewers have expressed, but I do think that the two songs with her are the weakest on the album. I especially like "Perfect Fit", "Melancholia", "Songwriter", and "In the Afternoon". I'm not so crazy about "Ancient Highway," it just seems like a rehash of his common themes and is rather redundant. But the few flaws are easily overshadowed by the brilliancy of the other songs. This is a CD to be played over and over again and you don't get tired of it.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Just like most Van Morrison albums, you can put "Days like this" on and just play it straight through and enjoy. I consider Van to be one of the best songwriter's of our time and he proves it again with this album and there isn't really one true commmercial hit on this album, which is unique. The title track along with others are enjoyable but other tracks like "underlying depression" and "Ancient Highway" are truly touching and emotional. I would recommend it to any old or new Van Morrison fan. I rate it in my top three favorite Van albums of all time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I heard "Days like this" in the movie "As good as it get's" with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, for the first time some years ago. That song has "come and get lost" in my head for several times. Now I've finally bought the cd, and wonder why I haven't done that before. Anyway, this is a cd that you becomes happy of listen to. You have "Perfect fit", "Russian roulette" and "Raincheck" all very happy and with rythm. And the lovely "Ancient highway", "melancholia" and "In the afternoon". This is a cd to fall in love in, or fall in love to. ;o)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Like the title of the first song, this CD is a "Perfect Fit". And as the second title states, you won't be playing "Russian Roulette" with this baby! There will be no need for a "Rain Check"... have a "Day(s) like this" anytime "In The Afternoon".
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I consider Days Like This one of Van's all-time best albums and a good lead-in to The Healing Game. Among the standouts are Days Like This, Ancient Highway and In the Afternoon. Feel safe buying this album if you are new to Van's music; it is a good sample of some of the best aspects of his other works.
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