|1. Oh Mary|
|2. Hell Yeah|
|3. Captain of a Shipwreck|
|5. Save Me A Saturday Night|
|6. Delirious Love|
|7. I'm On To You|
|8. What's It Gonna Be|
|9. Man of God|
|10. Create Me|
|11. Face Me|
|13. Men Are So Easy|
|14. Delirious Love|
With this in mind, Rubin has taken some of Diamond's most committed songcraft in years and stripped it back to its bare bones. It leaves Neil's voice up close and personal, defiant and markedly opposed to his long-standing reputation as a purveyor of sunshine pop trivia. Especially on the bullish "Hell Yeah".
What shines through is a man who's master of his idiom, he's in full possession of his power to use words to move. It may have been wiser to play down the spiritual side of his persona ("Create Me", "Man Of God"), but 12 Songs may just finally make Neil Diamond hip. --Chris Jones
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I've always had mixed feelings about this guy, occasionally squirming at his more MOR offerings and at other times being blown away by the beauty of some his more lyrical songs such as "Stones" and "I am I said" This album is quite simply packed with songs composed and performed from the heart, with a exquisite maturity of voice that is unmistakably Diamond, but a Diamond that has seen life - all the blood, sweat and tears of it.
The only tiny fly in the ointment is the fact that the track with the chorus line "Love is all about we" has my 2 children in stitches as they hear it as "love is all about wee" - an unfortunate choice of lyric!
Apart from that...
Tremendous songs, tremendous production . A winner. Buy it.
Now, Neil has finally turned again to a producer who understands the craft, Rick Rubin. These songs have, for the most part, minimal production interference. The songs and the voice are front and centre. They are masterful
Oh Mary is as beautiful a ballad as one could ever hear, with Diamond's inimitable baritone coating it in velvet. Evermore is powerful and emotionally draining. Man of God is inspirational.
Hell Yeah is Diamond's affirmation of a life well lived. Face Me is soul destroyingly painful. Create Me is almost hymn like. Delirious Love is evocative of the best of Diamond's 'thumping' uptempo songs.
I'm On to You is jazzy and a perfect kiss off song. Save Me a Saturday Night and Captain of a Shipwreck are wonderful love songs. What's it Gonna Be is a confident seduction. We is funny and simple and unbelievably catchy and Men are So Easy is an effective plea for understanding.
A mature, thoughtful, intelligent Diamond has delivered, along with Rubin, one of the records of this or any other year.
On first play, I was impressed, but not delighted.
On fifth play I was hooked and now nothing else can edge in.
This is a great album. You'll love it. Your mum will love it. Your daughter will love it. Your son won't, but he's not emotionally mature enough, that's all.
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