Singer Van Morrison says he is not a fan of the modern incarnation of the musical genre that inspired his career, dismissing today’s R&B as “terrible” and “robotic”.
Morrison, who is releasing his 35th studio album this month, grew up listening to jazz and blues – music that was “esoteric, stuff that you had to think about”, he told The Times.
He said: “It’s about jazz and blues as opposed to rock. I didn’t grow up on Top Of The Pops. It wasn’t like, turn on the radio and get the Top 10. So that is where I am coming from – jazz, blues, folk, the beat thing.”
But the Northern Irishman, who has spent almost 50 years in the industry, was withering about today’s descendants of the musical styles he loved as a young man.
Morrison, 69, said: “I can’t relate to it now, what they call R&B. It doesn’t have any rhythm in it. It doesn’t have any blues.
“To me it is very unrhythmic. It’s very robotic. Words take on different meanings after a while.
“It’s like soul. I don’t know what that is now. To me, soul was like Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Bobby Bland, Solomon Burke, Bobby Womack. But what is it now? It is just a word. It can mean anything.
“What is jazz? Some of the stuff that they say is jazz, I don’t know what it is. Blues also.”
Morrison blamed his reputation for being grumpy and never having a laugh on “lazy journalists” who “keep the mythology going”, and revealed he feels a very different person from the man he was at 40, when he says he “didn’t know anything”.
He said: “I still don’t know much. When you’re 40 you think you know everything. You realise that the older you get, how little you actually know.”
His new album, Duets: Re-working The Catalogue, is released next Monday.