CD Review: Neil Diamond


Neil Diamond
Home Before Dark
Columbia
By David Chiu

Home Before Dark, Neil Diamond’s latest and finest, showcases a pop legend looking inside himself and moving forward with hope and no regrets, as indicated on the powerful opening track “If I Don’t See You Again”: “If I don’t see you again/It was a hell of a ride,” he sings. Working again with producer Rick Rubin has brought the best out in Diamond’s music first with the 2005 album 12 Songs, and now on this set. The music on the record is very moody and atmospheric dominated by acoustic guitar and piano that lends a folk and country feel— the songs are reflections on romance (“Pretty Amazing Grace,” “One More Bite of the Apple”) and soul-searching (“Slow It Down”). Absent on Home Before Dark is that Las Vegas showbiz approach that is usually associated with Diamond’s stature as a popular entertainer, although his distinctive vocal delivery remains. Rather It’s no surprise— perhaps sweet vindication for a 67-year-old artist who has been around for so long— that this album hit already #1 on the Billboard charts. It’s Diamond’s most satisfying and reaffirming.

Watch Neil Diamond perform “Pretty Amazing Grace”:

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