Days Like This (Van Morrison album)

Days Like This is the twenty-third studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1995 (see 1995 in music). It is a diverse group of songs offering a variety of moods and styles. It ranked No. 5 on the UK album charts and was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

Days Like This
Studio album by
Released5 June 1995
Recorded1995
Windmill Lane Recording, Dublin, Ireland; The Wool Hall and Real World Studios, Bath, England
GenreCeltic, folk rock
Length57:33
LabelPolydor
ProducerVan Morrison
Van Morrison chronology
A Night in San Francisco
(1994)
Days Like This
(1995)
How Long Has This Been Going On
(1995)
Singles from Days Like This
  1. "Days Like This" b/w "I Don't Want to go on Without You"/"That Old Black Magic"/"Yo"
    Released: May 1995
  2. "Perfect Fit" b/w "Raincheck"/"Cleaning Windows"
    Released: September 1995
  3. "No Religion" b/w "Whenever God Shines His Light"/"Have I Told You Lately"/"Gloria"
    Released: November 1995

Composition

His daughter, singer-songwriter Shana Morrison performed duets with her father on two tracks, "You Don't Know Me" and "I'll Never Be Free". "Ancient Highway" is nine minutes long and contains the lyric "praying to my higher self/Don't let me down". It is said to be the one song on the album where he comes closest to following his muse.[1] The title track has continued to be a popular song in concert to the present day. Most of the songs are reflective and seem to come during a time of self-examination. "No Religion" came about Morrison explained when he was thinking: "Wouldn't it be great just to be born and nobody told you there was such a thing as religion? Say it didn't exist and you were just told that all you've got is this life and that's it...and there's no heaven, no hell." The song, "Songwriter" spoke of his songwriting techniques as a practical application instead of inspired as in the past.[2] "Melancholia" and "Underlying Depression" continue the theme of soul searching.

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic[3]
Christgau's Consumer Guide[4]
Entertainment WeeklyB[5]

At the time of its release in 1995, Days Like This was Morrison's best selling non-compilation album and was nominated for the Mercury Music Award.[6] David Sinclair in Q describes the album as a "glorious return to form", while the Entertainment Weekly reviewer found that "Days Like This, is too perfunctory to call it a return to form, but surprisingly, there is real spark."[5] Other reviews were less enthusiastic: Tom Moon's Rolling Stone review states: "There are moments of genius followed by lavish displays of questionable taste, sometimes within the same song."[7] In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau named "You Don't Know Me" and "Songwriter" as highlights, while summing the record up with a quoted lyric from the latter song: "I'm a songwriter, and my check's in the mail".[8] The Music Box rated it with 3 stars and mildly endorsed it: "The latest release from Van Morrison is really only for his true fans. It's enjoyable, but it doesn't seem as inspired as his last few albums."[9] Allmusic summed it up as an album that is a "completely competent yet completely uninspired pop-R&B workout, with Van sounding as if he couldn't care less about the words leaving his mouth." [3]

Cover

The cover of the album showed Morrison and his then-girlfriend, now ex-wife, Michelle Rocca walking a pair of greyhounds.[10] It was his first album in 24 years to feature a female companion on the cover. The last had been the cover of Tupelo Honey with his then-wife Janet "Planet" Rigsbee.

Track listing

All songs by Morrison unless noted otherwise;

  1. "Perfect Fit" — 4:33
  2. "Russian Roulette" — 3:56
  3. "Raincheck" — 5:53
  4. "You Don't Know Me" (Eddy Arnold, Cindy Walker) – 4:32
  5. "No Religion" — 5:14
  6. "Underlying Depression" — 4:35
  7. "Songwriter" — 2:50
  8. "Days Like This" — 3:13
  9. "I'll Never Be Free" (Bennie Benjamin, George David Weiss) — 3:37
  10. "Melancholia" — 3:56
  11. "Ancient Highway" — 8:53
  12. "In the Afternoon" — 6:21

Personnel

Musicians

Production

  • Production: Van Morrison and Phil Coulter
  • Recording: Mick Glossop, Walter Samuel and Brian Masterson
  • Assistant engineers: Matthew Lawrence, Greig Sangster, Avril Mackintosh, Jamie Cullum, Alastair McMillan and Meabh Flynn
  • Mixing: Walter Samuel and Mick Glossop
  • Mastering: Ian Cooper and Tim Young
  • Horn arrangements: Pee Wee Ellis and James McMillan

Charts

Album

UK Album Chart

Year Chart Position
1995 UK Album Chart 5

Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1995 The Billboard 200 33

Singles

UK Singles Chart

Year Single Position
1995 "Days Like This" 65
1995 "No Religion" 54

Certifications and sales

Region CertificationCertified units/sales
Ireland (IRMA)[11] Platinum 15,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[12] Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[13] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[14] Gold 500,000^
Worldwide N/A 1,000,000 [15]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Notes

  1. Heylin, Can You Feel the Silence?, p. 457
  2. Rogan, No Surrender, p. 435
  3. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Days Like This". Allmusic. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  4. Christgau, Robert (2000). Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan Publishers. p. 211. ISBN 0312245602.
  5. Scherman, Tony (23 June 1995). "Days Like This (1995)". ew.com. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  6. "1995 Shortlist - Barclay Mercury Prize". mercuryprize.com. Archived from the original on 2 January 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  7. Moon, Tom (2 February 1998). "Days Like This Rolling Stone review". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  8. Christgau, Robert (14 November 1995). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  9. Metzger, John (June 1996). "Van Morrison: Days Like This". musicbox-online.com. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  10. "Singer Van Morrison denies 'unfounded baby' story". BBC News. bbc.co.uk. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  11. "Platinum Van". Billboard. 27 January 1996. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  12. "New Zealand album certifications – Van Morrison – Days Like This". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  13. "British album certifications – Van Morrison – Days Like This". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 3 June 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Days Like This in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  14. "American album certifications – Van Morrison – Days Like This". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 3 June 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  15. "Who's Selling Where". Billboard. 17 February 1996. Retrieved 29 April 2018.

References

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