Warner Bros. CD 3212-2
(Live bonus tracks recorded at the Roxy Theatre, LA, Nov 26, 1978)
Review by Scott Thomas:
Some of the album's low points: "Venice U.S.A." repeats a one-dimensional melody and hare-brained lyric ad nauseam. "Lifetimes" is a boring soul ballad adorned with chintzy electric guitars and a mawkish background chorus. "Santa Fe/Beautiful Obsession" seems to go on forever, and "Take It Where You Find It" is so terrible, it deserves special attention. Conceived, apparently, as a multi-section rock operetta about Van's coming to America as an immigrant, its very pretentiousness makes its failure all the more spectacular. The sad fact that the lyrics are among the most inept of Van's career (Check out the first stanza!) is compounded by a melodramatic ending which, with its overblown swell of white bread choruses and synthesized strings, brings Barry Manilow to mind.
Now and then, however, when the material is sturdy, Morrison sounds more exuberant and sexier than he has on any album since Tupelo Honey. "Kingdom Hall" is a classic, up-tempo raver in the tradition of "Domino" and "Wild Night." The optimistic "Checkin' It Out" depicts a couple engaged in trying to work out their differences. "Hungry for Your Love" successfully recasts the hormonal lust of "Gloria" in an adult setting.
It is in the title track, however, where Morrison's fleeting pop music aspirations are fully realized. For starters, he comes up with a great hook. The phrase "wavelength," with its long "a" vowel sound, is custom-made for Van's melisma and rife with potential metaphors. With the hook firmly in place, he constructs the rest of the song around it, sometimes leading the listener to it directly, sometimes circuitously: half the fun lies in waiting for it to arrive.