This 2003 release, Van Morrison's 31st (!) post-Them studio effort, is his first for the legendary jazz label Blue Note, but don't expect a jazz album from the notorious unpredictable Irish bard. He already went down that road a few years earlier. Instead, WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE is a mix of blues (the demystifying "Too Many Myths"), jazzy R&B ("Whinin' Boy Moan"), rockabilly (a hopped-up take on Lightnin' Hopkins's "Stop Drinking"), and the kind of lush-but-rootsy pop/rock that can only be described as Van Morrison music.
The trend he began in the early '90s of decrying his celebrity status in song is in full effect here, on the aforementioned "Myths," "Goldfish Bowl," and the lay-it-on-the-line "Fame." Despite chronicling the vagaries of the music business in such detail, though, Van closes the album with the wistfully upbeat "Get On with the Show," a statement of intent to persevere. Needless to say, Morrison's vocal performances are uniformly excellent as usual; he remains one of the most soulful singers to emerge from the post-Beatles rock era, not to mention one of the most consistent.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (12/25/03, pp.108-9) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2003"
Rolling Stone (11/13/03, p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Eclectic and ambitious without ever seeming forced, Morrison is relaxed throughout this entire set. There is no filler or slackness here, either. In fact, there is nothing wrong with this picture."
Entertainment Weekly (10/31/03, p.74) - "...A hard-hitting mixture of rollicking piano, groovy organ, jangling guitars, and tart horn lines, but it's Morrison's voice [that remains as] soulful as ever..." - Rating: B+
Uncut (11/03, p.109) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...He covers familiar territory with customary tenacity and still manages to unearth some fresh delights..."
JazzTimes (12/03, p.101) - "A vivid pastiche, both stylistically and thematically..."
- What's Wrong With This Picture?
- Whinin' Boy Moan
- Evening In June
- Too Many Myths
- Meaning Of Loneliness
- Stop Drinking
- Goldfish Bowl
- Once In A Blue Moon
- Saint James Infirmary
- Little Village
- Get On With The Show
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