It's Almost Never A Good Idea To Click On An Article About Van Morrison
Van Morrison has an extremely good singing voice, he is an extremely talented musician, and all of our moms love him so, so much. And it is for that reason that we all kind of collectively agree to pretend that Van Morrison The Singer is a disembodied voice that is completely separate from Van Morrison The Actual Human Being. Sort of the same way we all pretend that we don't know "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" is supposed to be about God, because that just makes it weird. Like when you think about "Mandy" being about a dog. The non-musical words that have come out of Van Morrison's mouth have, traditionally, been pretty jerky.
Thus, it's not that much of a surprise that he is an anti-masker. Like, of fucking course he is. And now he's planning on releasing three anti-lockdown "protest anthems" over the next month or so, to be titled "Born to Be Free," "As I Walked Out," and "No More Lockdown." On the bright side, for all of our moms, Michael McDonald is not doing anything like that (as far as we know).
"I'm not telling people what to do or think, the government is doing a great job of that already," Morrison said in a statement. "It's about freedom of choice, I believe people should have the right to think for themselves."
People do have the right to think for themselves. They can think the lockdowns are stupid, they can think the masks are stupid. They can also think many other laws and regulations are stupid — I know I do! But sometimes things are not about one's own personal preferences so much as the safety and health of other people. Also because it's better to nip things in the bud than to keep spreading this virus among the population, ensuring that we'll eventually need to go full lockdown again. Duh.
And that's not what freedom of choice is. You don't get "freedom of choice" when your actions affect other people. For instance, we do not have the freedom of choice to murder people or not. I mean, technically we do, but there are consequences. There are also consequences for not wearing a mask and for not locking down during a pandemic.
The lyrics that have been released so far are no "Tupelo Honey," that's for sure, but unfortunately, it is very difficult for anything to actually be bad while being sung in the voice of Van Morrison.
"No more lockdown/ No more government overreach/ No more fascist bullies/ Disturbing our peace/ No more taking of our freedom/ And our God given rights/ Pretending it's for our safety/ When it's really to enslave," he sings in the lyrics to "No More Lockdown." The message on "As I Walked Out" has a similar cast, with the opening lines, "As I walked out/ All the streets were empty/ The government said Everyone should stay home/ And they spread fear and loathing/ And no hope for the future/ Not many did question/ This very strange move."
Both songs attack government figures, celebrities and, on "Lockdown," the "Imperial College scientists making up crooked facts," with the chorus of "Born To Be Free" stating, "The new normal, is not normal/ It's no kind of normal at all/ Everyone seems to have amnesia/ Just trying to remember the Berlin Wall."
The lyrics to "As I Walked Out" also note that "the government website from the 21st March 2020/ It said COVID-19 was no longer high risk," though The Guardian noted that the virus is still considered highly infectious, with officials confirming a 75% increase in positive weekly cases across England last week.
Those lyrics sound extremely bad and also factually inaccurate, and yet ... gallingly enough, the songs themselves will probably be pretty good. Like there is only so bad a Van Morrison song can be. Even the 31 purposely terrible songs he once recorded in order to fulfill his contractual obligation to Bang Records are still kind of awesome.
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It is a time-honored practice to avoid knowing anything about Van Morrison The Human Being, and honestly, it's probably best for all of us to just memory hole this whole thing and never speak of it again. It's embarrassing and jerky but not necessarily straight up evil, so we probably don't need to give up Astral Weeks just yet.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse