Song Of The Day 3/20/2015: Van Morrison - "Satisfied"

Five Van Morrison Songs I Just Met: Finishing up this week of SXSW counter-programming (to be honest, the ratings are tanking) is a track from Van Morrison’s 1980 album Common One, the listening of which eluded me for 35 years. The reviews I read when it first came out all painted it as an extraordinarily strange album with jazz elements, two 15-minute odysseys called “Summertime in England” and “When Heart Is Open,” and no commercial chances whatsoever. I’m happy to report all of that is true, except for the implication that it somehow makes Common One a mediocre-at-best album. If you’re troubled by a challenged attention span you might not like it so much, but I think it’s a brilliant revelator that amply rewarded the risks Morrison took. No, I didn’t hear a single. I found more than a single. I found at least a seeing-eye double with an extra base on a throwing error.

“Satisfied” is my favorite song on the album, and I freely admit about 50–60% of my love for it is centered around that lethally insane organ part. It’s built on a dyad in which the two keys are separated by a half-step creating a sort of dissonance that throws the song just that much off. The beautiful thing is that this two-note figure recurs throughout the entire song, which means all six minutes sound like one long nervous tic. Sign me up. It does sound a little like a Steely Dan outtake, but I’m one of those people who likes Steely Dan so that’s ducky with me. A nice little big-band call-and-response brings the whole thing around.

All right, that’s it for the Van-tensity of these last few weeks. I think we can move on.

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