Van-the-Man Morrison has a new plan for western man.
By Carl Scott

Van Morrison's version of 'woke' is his awakening to the conclusion that for the West, the sun has set.

Van-the-Man Morrison has a new plan for western man.


Sir Van saw a bright future when he recorded 'Astral Weeks.'

But 'Astral Weeks' was many years ago, and from where he now stands, the future's looking dim and dark.

By the metric of lyrical quality and relevance alone, the best song of 2021 was Van Morrison’s “Western Man.”

Although undramatic in manner, it’s the wisest response-in-song to 2020 that I’m aware of.

As Morrison sings, the Western situation is “not going back to the way it was.”

Whatever comes next for the West, as Morrison sings, the Western situation is “not going back to the way it was.”

God blessed Van with the gift of golden vocal cords, and remarkably, a gift that would extend—even grow?—into his 70s.  Maybe there is some connection there with Van being one of the few Boomer songsters to have kept his soul, one who could rise to the challenge of our society’s present, yet late-in-the-hour-for-him, crisis/revelation, one that calls for reassessment of a good deal of the ’60s/’70s culture revolution that he was very much a part of.

And in “Western Man,” Van’s lyrics consist of two little stanzas that make upfront statements connected to the song’s title, and a larger one that presents a parable-like event set in the countryside.


        Western Man has no plan,

        since he became complacent.

        Stopped believing in himself,

        and let others steal his rewards,

        while he was dreaming’. 

        …Now Western Man is adrift, and under attack.


Here is a longer stanza in its final version, although bits of it appear, with some slight variations, earlier in the song:


        Now there’s no other bite,

        no other bite of the cherry,

        unless he’s prepared to fight–

        start on, a new path to freedom.

        The horse has bolted from the stables,

        the lunatics have taken over the farm,

        caretakers have taken over the main building.

        The governors have gone, over the wall!

        Plan to start meetings in the forest.

        Not going back, not going back to the way it was. 

        While he was dreaming,

        Others were scheming.  (repeat w/ variations)


Most of the interpretation here is not complicated, but lest we miss one of the noteworthy points by interpreting too quickly, let’s lay them out.

First and foremost, we have already lost the main battle.  Other songs from the 2021 album, Latest Record Project, Vol. 1, are titled “They Own the Media,” “Big Lie,” “Double Agent,” and speak of a “long con” or even of a “they” who “control everything you do,” and that one sketches a situation where a society’s “governors have gone over the wall,” and its former “caretakers” have “taken over the main building.”

According to Van, we have already lost the main battle.

Second, Van indicates that Western Civilization itself is what is under attack.  There is no way anymore to conduct a defense from the “walls,” because the home-grown, educated enemies of the West now control most of what’s left inside.

Third, our defeat is so total that we have to conclude, not only that “going back to the way it was, now just seems near impossible,” but that we need to adopt a vision of Western freedom that is in some respects a “new path.”  A “new path” that might require “meetings in the forest.”

Fourth, our struggle will involve reconstructing manliness—which has suffered under deconstruction. With this song, Van is declaring that he is no longer going to bother himself about the supposed concerns—for in our day, 19 times out of 20, these are nothing but a form of bullying pressure, the kind of thing that sophisticated persons might raise about our speaking of the basic goodness of the West, and of masculinity.

Morrison does not call for actual fighting, but for being “prepared to do so.”   Other lyrics on the album, especially several in “My Time after a While,”suggest that it could be the case, that the success of the elite “Dupers” of our day may be passing soon, as more and more persons awaken, as Van has, to the depth of their vileness, and the alarming extent of their existing power.

Carl Eric Scott is an independent scholar living in Utah, where he leads the Provo Great Books Club. This is a shortened version of a piece originally published on Substack, as Carl’s Rock Songbook No. 127:  Van Morrison, “Western Man”