So it was with Days Like This, an hour’s worth of safe adult contemporary fare with horns. Whether by design or because Van knew it would bother people, Brian Kennedy was allowed to echo every other line Van sings throughout the album. We’re spared this on “You Don’t Know Me” and “I’ll Never Be Free”, odd choices of romantic covers sung as duets with his daughter Shana. (Hindsight reminds one of the “Red Ships Of Spain” sketch with the Goulet family on Saturday Night Live.)
The lyrical content of his own songs is alternately predictable and inscrutable. He’s a “Songwriter”, in case you didn’t know, suffering at different times from “Underlying Depression” and “Melancholia”. “Perfect Fit” is an upbeat love song that says nothing new, just like the title track. “Raincheck” is sung over a complicated rhythm with no real indication as to why the narrator goes by the name of the title. “Ancient Highway” wants to badly to be one of his lengthy epics, except that Brian Kennedy’s on it, and once again Van forgets to take the harmonica out of his mouth before he starts singing. Georgie Fame is nowhere to be heard, so that must be Van himself on the Hammond organ solo.
It’s tough to recommend Days Like This except that it’s relatively harmless. If you actually like Brian Kennedy, then this is the album for you. Otherwise, tread carefully.
Van Morrison Days Like This (1995)—3