Born to Sing: No Plan B Image
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The 35th album for the Northern Irish singer-songwriter sees him returning to the Blue Note label, after several releases with Exile/Polydor and EMI.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Dec 14, 2012
    80
    Born To Sing is a return to classic form. [Nov 2012, p.86]
  2. 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.
  3. Dec 14, 2012
    80
    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.
  4. Dec 14, 2012
    80
    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.
  5. Dec 14, 2012
    70
    This is among his most overtly jazz-tinged work, produced by Morrison and recorded in his native Belfast.
  6. Dec 14, 2012
    58
    The remainder of Born To Sing is salvaged by solid, serviceable, latter-day Morrison material.
  7. Dec 14, 2012
    30
    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.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 8, 2013
    6
    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 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 Expand