I know what most of you are thinking, why is an alternative music site reviewing a Neil Diamond album?
Well, apart from the fact he’s one of our–or should I say, your parents’ generation’s–finest songwriters, there’s something else about this album that might make you want to give it a listen.
After the success of the Johhny Cash cover version of Hurt, many younger music fans got turned on to the genius of Johnny. One of the big selling points of that song, and his last few albums, was the amazing talent of producer Rick Rubin, who has been in great demand since and who produced this album for Mr Diamond.
When listening to 12 Songs you can hear the similarities in production to Rubin’s work on the Johnny Cash albums. There’s something in the feeling of warmth and closeness in the recordings that grabs you. You know there’s been a lot of work done to bring it to this final stage, but still somehow it seems to hold on to that feeling of a raw sound.
Production aside, the songs themselves are works of art. Most of the tracks are just Neil and a guitar, maybe a little acompaniment in the background–a couple of them being a bit more uptempo with more instrumentation. There are at least five real stand out tracks and nothing that I’d call an album filler.
Give it a try, then go home and shock your parents by telling them you’ve been listening to Neil Diamond.
12 Songs is out now on BMG.