Born to Sing: No Plan B


Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Mojo
    Dec 14, 2012
    Born To Sing is a return to classic form. [Nov 2012, p.86]
  2. Q Magazine
    Dec 14, 2012
    The music is fabulous, a sublime pulse of Hammond organ, trombone and piano. [Nov 2012, p.100]
  3. Dec 14, 2012
    In the last ten or fifteen years, only 2005's Magic Time has delivered more consistently enjoyable songs than this thoroughly captivating collection of rants, loves, and dreams.
  4. Dec 14, 2012
    His 35th solo studio album is his jazziest: the warm brass and catchy, sweet melodies recall 1970's Moondance. But the music's velvet glove delivers some of his hardest-hitting lyrics.
  5. 80
    Van Morrison's best album in some while is a set of songs that, despite the relaxed tone of their jazz-blues settings, foam with indignation about the venality of capitalist adventurism.
  6. Dec 14, 2012
    Like Dylan, Born To Sing will probably be an acquired taste for some (the jazzy backing may put some off, as may Morrison's tendency to incessantly repeat lines and start scatting every so often), but it's yet another example of his sometimes erratic genius.
  7. Dec 14, 2012
    The greater, constant lift is in the album's earthy-R&B roll--the slow-drag groove in "Born to Sing" suggests Ray Charles leading the band at New Orleans' Preservation Hall – and the disarming, one-of-a-kind warmth of Morrison's gift.
  8. Dec 14, 2012
    On Born to Sing: No Plan B he's compiled the various elements of his musical oeuvre and assembled them into a seamless, glorious whole.
  9. Dec 14, 2012
    This is among his most overtly jazz-tinged work, produced by Morrison and recorded in his native Belfast.
  10. Dec 14, 2012
    It is not the truly transcendent album some may have read in the runes, but it contains several hints that such greatness may, finally, be within his grasp once more.
  11. Dec 14, 2012
    Born To Sing is absolutely not all bad, but by the end of the album and rolling tally of excuses, the slack stack measures tall.
  12. Dec 14, 2012
    The remainder of Born To Sing is salvaged by solid, serviceable, latter-day Morrison material.
  13. 50
    Van feels fed up and disgusted, intense and focused, on Born To Sing: No Plan B, but unfortunately, the songs, more often than not, end the conversation there, leaving just a few hard knock lessons and some pretty jazz.
  14. Dec 14, 2012
    These soft shoe shuffles sway up and down the same few notes, with the affectionate embrace of mother of the groom dances.
  15. 40
    While there are a few gems on Born to Sing, he's riding his name through the album instead of having something to say.
  16. Dec 14, 2012
    Fans of the old stuff who long ago wrote Morrison off will find their gripes sadly confirmed on Born to Sing: No Plan B, a recession album that's four years too late.
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 3 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 8, 2013
    There are a lot of ups and downs to this album. On the positive side the instrumentation for the most part is very smooth, organic creates aThere are a lot of ups and downs to this album. On the positive side the instrumentation for the most part is very smooth, organic creates a nice atmosphere, further shown in Morrison's very distinct voice vocal delivery we've all grown to love. The melodies for some tracks can really hook you in the lyrics remain inspired for the most part, especially on tracks centered around social commentary like End of the Rainbow, If In Money We Trust Educating Archie. But there's also straightforward classic pop songs like Open the Door to Your Heart Retreat and View that work just as well. But unfortunately there's two BIG problems with Born to Sing: No Plan B, and that's the song structures lengths. A lot of songs here are very predictable, repetitive and do much more than their fair share of meandering just for the sake of throwing in another verse that doesn't add much or a 3-minute instrumental break that could've been a couple minutes shorter. This especially gets problematic with the 8-minute songs Going Town to Monte Carlo If In Money We Trust, which both start out great but I end up bored after 4-5 minutes have passed, if not sooner. The latter is affected the hardest, with a haunting atmosphere great basslines wearing off in appeal by the heavily drawn out length, which isn't helped by the repetitive lyrics. Basically, if you cut out every time a verse was repeated here, the song would be 5 minutes shorter. Unfortunately what could've been a great song is reduced to a repetitive mess. Similar problems happen in the title track Born to Sing. And moving on to more specific gripes, Close Enough for Jazz was shaping up to great little instrumental in the first half but is unfortunately interrupted in the second half by completely unnecessary verses that only bog down the song. Other songs like Mystic of the East Pagan Heart just don't go anywhere, and the place they're at can't hold my attention for their entire 5+ minute durations. Morrison just seems too content with an idea to want to develop it any further, and I think those decisions are what ultimately lead to Born to Sing's main flaws. No song here should've been over 5 minutes. Still, his all-around songwriting skills, whether instrumentally, melodically or lyrically, still shine through. Tracks like Open the Door to Your Heart, Retreat and View, End of the Rainbow, If In Money We Trust Educating Archie are probably gonna go down as Morrison discography staples for me. Score: 64/100 Full Review »