Well today’s little obsession takes me back a bit and certainly ain’t going to win me any “cool points”. Listening conjures up fond memories of my dad’s 8-track player in his car, of simple, yet over-emoted, pop songs by a guy with an obvious stage name, a decent mop of hair, and enough chest hair to keep him cozy during the next ice age. Yep, I’m talking about…Mr. Neil Diamond…
Well the hair and name are still the same (albeit, cut a bit shorter), and the chest-hair probably stays a bit covered (or maybe manscaped?), but his sound moved on, grew bigger, more anthem-ic. Then came the 90’s and early 00’s and besides the occasional Christmas album, I heard hide nor hair (ha!) from Mr. Diamond. But along came Rick Rubin. The man who re-kindles careers, helps lost souls find their old-sound and old-charm, or something like that. Well, it was just the kick Diamond needed resulting in 2005’s 12 Songs, a bit dark, stripped-down, invoking a bit of Cash and Cohen, but still decidedly Diamond, because, after all, Diamond isn’t and can’t be Cash or Cohen. Nor should he be… He’s Diamond and that’s all he needs to be.
The album and tour did well, and so the collaboration didn’t stop and now we have his latest, Home Before Dark. Which expands on 12 Songs, fleshing things out a bit, bringing the uplifting feeling Diamond uses to get 45 year old women to throw their panties on stage, but still not over the top, keeping it reigned in. If 12 Songs was his debut album, this would make for a really nice sophomore effort. The result is just really good Neil Diamond pop songs, reminiscent of the “Forever In Blue Jeans” days. And that’s alright by me! My only question…. will this come in 8-track???
Connected through the years
and somehow took us both in separate ways
it was on a day that time forgot
Another day that time forgot