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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Songwriting Masterclass
In the early days Neil Diamond wrote certifiable pop/rock classics such as Cherry Cherry, Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon, I'm a Believer and Solitary Man. Unfortunately, as his success grew in the seventies, so did the production values on his records and the quality of the writing (still there for those who cared to see and hear) became lost in the syrup in which...
Published on 18 Feb 2006

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing
I was very disappointed with this album. It is a very depressing collection of songs and does not make for easy listening, frankly I was glad when it finished. There is a quality in the song writing however not the old Neil Diamond standard. I don't think this will be played very much by me.
Published on 5 April 2006 by Craig


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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Songwriting Masterclass, 18 Feb 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: 12 Songs (Audio CD)
In the early days Neil Diamond wrote certifiable pop/rock classics such as Cherry Cherry, Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon, I'm a Believer and Solitary Man. Unfortunately, as his success grew in the seventies, so did the production values on his records and the quality of the writing (still there for those who cared to see and hear) became lost in the syrup in which they were immersed by unsympathetic producers.
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.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy goodness, what a magnificent album!, 21 Feb 2006
By 
ChrisMkz (Hertfordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 12 Songs (Audio CD)
Once in a very blue moon I will encounter an album that is pretty near perfect, with every single track a winner. This latest offering from Neil Diamond certainly hits that spot full on.
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.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diamond geezer, 24 Feb 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: 12 Songs (Audio CD)
Neil is old (he's my mum's favourite, for goodness sake, and I'm 37) with a tendancy to schmultz and middle-of-the-road cabaret style music. I bought this album with some hesitation. I worried it would be accomplished but not inspiring. My recent buys have been Rufus Wainright, Bright Eyes and Ryan Adams.
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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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Neil Why, 28 Jan 2006
This review is from: 12 Songs (Audio CD)
Have we had to wait so long for this masterpiece !!!!!
The songs the voice the talent wasted for 30 years on karoke and spangly shirts .
This is without doubt the best Neil Diamond album for nearly 30 years beautiful songs beautifully written and sung as only a talent like Neil Diamond can sing it's a beautiful noise.
Got this album from the states early in Jan and just cannot stop listening to it, believe the hype, the reviews and every other superlative there is out about this album it is sheer quality , one man his guitar quality songwriting fantastic production .Oh have I said I like this album a lot !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars diamond and rubin at their best, 23 Feb 2006
This review is from: 12 Songs (Audio CD)
for me the songs are written brilliantly, and diamonds voice is perfect for the songs, but im more impressed with the production of rick rubin, the man is a genius . to take an out of fashion artist, strip him back to his roots and make a great album like this amazes me, he did it with johnny cash now neil diamond i cant wait to see whos next
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diamond is a genius!, 16 Feb 2006
By 
This review is from: 12 Songs (Audio CD)
I bought this album when it came out in the states a few months ago and have been listening to it almost constantly! It is a beautiful, haunting collection of songs. God given talent always shines through when the artist is stipped back to just the voice and a guitar, and Diamond certainly shines on this disc. A triumphant return to form. Pure gold.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Oldie shows the youngsters the way., 23 Feb 2006
This review is from: 12 Songs (Audio CD)
Neil Diamond has always written great popular songs and he has a pretty good voice as well.He has been a constant in the recording industry for 40 years but unlike most of his contemporaries he has not rested on his laurels and just relied on his past songbook.
This C.D. is a revelation.Stripped of all superfluous tinkering we have a man,his guitar,his voice and his songs showing the new breed of singer/songwriter how to touch perfection.
Like all great albums there is no weak track and it is almost impossible to choose a favourite but I go for 'Hell Yeah' and Save me a saturday night'
Please don't be swayed by pre-conceptions which involve sequined jackets and cuban heels and listen to a genius at work.
Producer Rick Rubin deserves great credit for showing us another side of the incomparable Neil Diamond.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden oldie makes stunning comeback, 27 Feb 2006
By 
Lumpster (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: 12 Songs (Audio CD)
Like previous reviewers, I saw Neil Diamond as basically someone my parents used to listen to years ago and even 20 years ago, his music seemed dated! However, I bought this CD (with a sense of trepidation!) on the back of some stunning reviews combined with the genius of Rubin and it has fairly blown me away. Beautifully recorded, quite raw and acoustic, with some really strong tunes....and whatever you think of Diamond, he has one hell of a voice. Could Neil Diamond be doing a Johnny Cash and becoming a trendy artiste? On the strength of this album, it is definitely possible.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diamond's forever (in blue jeans?), 5 April 2006
This review is from: 12 Songs (Audio CD)
Those who take a serious interest in music will find that their taste in CDs or records - and tapes and 78s in my case - probably says something about them. As a teenager my preference was for garage, surf beat and punk, with a particular fondness for the Ramones, Link Wray, The Residents (who can ever forget their classic album "Meet The Residents") and The New York Dolls. I enjoyed the negative reaction the music got from those I played it to, and in particular my poor long-suffering mother.
Through the decades my taste became catholic. Now my collection, which probably runs to about 1000 LPs in one format or another, encompasses most genres: classical; jazz; funk; reggae; rap; and world music from Albania to Zanzibar. In fact, just about anything except prog rock and its modern equivalent, techno. Oh, and Coldplay!
My epiphany, if I can call it that, happened around 1982. I came across Tom Jones's first album, "Along Came Jones", at a jumble sale. At the time he was a has-been, performing regularly for the soup-in-a-basket Las Vegas crowds. The LP was raw and demonstrated that, even if only for a fleeting moment, most performers are capable of producing a few good songs before they find that a high degree of comfort takes the edge off them (yes, except Coldplay).
Most performers seem to lose the creative urge after the first flush of success. While Neil Young may be an honourable exception, others such as Elvis Presley are unable to reproduce the standards set by their first recordings.
Johnny Cash is an example of a hugely influential writer and performer who proved that it doesn't have to be that way. After his successes throughout the 50s and 60s, he spent the 70s and 80s in a relative wilderness. But he was rescued by the pioneering rap producer, Rick Rubin, and the four albums they made together, known as the American Recordings, between 1993 and his death ten years later, are as good as anything Cash did before.
Which brings me to Neil Diamond, a singer whose work I first explored when, during the 80s, my favourite band was the US psychobilly group, The Cramps. I knew he wrote Red Red Wine, popularized by UB40, and I'm A Believer, The Monkees' 1960s hit, and decided that, despite his MOR status, he clearly had a talent that was being overlooked by the critics. I used to be of an age when, dressed in ripped jeans and who knows what else, I thought that going into a record shop and asking for, "Neil Diamonds Greatest Hits" showed a wonderful sense of irony. (I'm now at an age where such requests are expected. In fact as soon as I walk through the portals of HMV I'm sure the assistants check the computer for their stock of Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields.) But I never got beyond his 'best of' collections...until now.
12 Songs is Neil Diamond's latest CD and it is, quite simply, very good. Produced sparingly by Rick Rubin with none of the cheesy overblown orchestration that frequently swamps Diamond's other works, it is a masterclass performance of carefully crafted originals written by a 65-year-old singer-songwriter who is clearly at the top of his game. He may not have achieved the iconic status of Johnny Cash or Muddy Waters, but this CD should ensure he is not only remembered for the satin shirts and schmaltz of his earlier days.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NEIL DIAMOND 12 SONGS, 22 Feb 2006
By 
David Crabtree "davidcrabtree2" (BINGLEY W YORKSHIRE) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 12 Songs (Audio CD)
Heard the reviews and hype and decided to buy the album. The hype was right, this is one of his finest if not the definitive Neil Diamond album. Hell Yeah is bound to become a standard classic and Save Me A Saturday Night is the old romatic Diamond.
Excellent value, an album to have.
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