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March 06, 2006

12 Songs - Neil Diamond

The producer Rick Rubin does his magic on another music ledgend. However, there are many differences between his treatment of Neil Diamond, and his very successful albums with the late great Johnny Cash. (if you haven't heard "The Man Comes Around", or seen the video for the single from it, 'Hurt', then you're doing yourself a great disservice).

Diamond has written all twelve songs on this album (well, 14 songs oddly enough on my edition at least) specially for the album. Cash reinterpreted songs by other artists mostly. From the sleevenotes it looks as if Rubin played a big part in forcing Diamond to write better songs, to hone them to perfection, and then provided the (very few) session musicians to keep the sound small and intimate. I'm also reminded a lot of what Bruce Springsteen did with 'Devils and Dust' last year.

I'm only on about my third listen, and so this isn't a full review. I heard the first track in HMV the other day, and that decided me on buying it. "Oh Mary" is a song that instantly enters your consciousness and you find yourself humming all day from just one listen. The other songs that instantly connected with me are "Save me a Saturday Night" and "Face Me" - both slow, mournful sounding, as was "Oh Mary" - the faster tracks just haven't grabbed me yet though.
There are some very familiar sounding melodies, even lyrics, but I don't think I have a greatest hits package anywhere close at hand to give detailed comparisons - check back later for updates.

I'm not sure if it really is "His best work ever", which Amazon claims some critics are saying, but it's interesting that 'Q', Uncut and Mojo magazines all gave it very good reviews. It's great I think when a real but forgotten talent is introduced to an audience that didn't even know they existed.

Posted by se71 at March 6, 2006 03:56 PM


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