For the music...
A. Dumville | Providence, RI United States | 01/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was tempted to replace my 1990 release of one of my favorite Van albums for its touted remastering and bonus tracks. Neither aspect is worth the cost of this newly released version.
In A/B testing, I could not discern a difference in sound quality between the original and remaster, certainly not one that would compel me to replace my collection.
The bonus tracks are cool for the serious Van fan, but again, one could live without them.
Still, it gets five stars for superlative music. If you don't yet own "Enlightenment", buy it."
An overlooked gem
finulanu | Here, there, and everywhere | 10/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most obscure entries in Van's catalog, but I rather enjoy it. It's mostly a very melodic, soothing bunch of tunes. The exception to this is "Real, Real Gone," one of Van's typical infectious R&B rave-ups. Otherwise it's pretty laid-back, with several great tunes (title track, which actually questions the nature of enlightenment; "So Quiet in Here," "Avalon of the Heart," with nice if slightly overdone orchestration - incidentally, it name-checks the previous album, the slightly creepy "See Me Through," which ends with a gripping romantic monolog). And the super-extended track, "In the Days Before Rock `n' Roll," almost works - great jazzy vamp, and the sections Van sings in his normal voice are thrilling. But when he adopts the heavy Irish accent that already ruined "Coney Island" for me, it gets annoying. Still, I can just ignore that and focus on the aforementioned great jazzy vamp, which I absolutely love. The full-on, loose, swinging jazz of "Starting Over Again" also makes for good listening. I'll admit I'm not a fan of the accordion breaks on "Memories," but none of these songs are bad. Few are exceptional either, but I enjoy it quite a lot just the same."