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Neil Diamond

Of course, its the producer who gets the performer into these pages; this look like People magazine to you, hunh? Fact is, anybody other than Rick Rubin produces this thing (and Heartbreaker Mike Campbell, Tom Waits-Beck guitarist Smokey Hormel and ex-wunderkind Jonny Polonsky play on it) and its forgotten day before yesterday. But the expectation outweighs the result, so here we are some three decades after he was...he said, wondering if the Jewish Jumpsuits been given a credibility reprieve la the Man in Black. And damned if I can tell if its any better or worse than what preceded itI havent intentionally heard a Diamond dog since 1978, when Ma and Pa Shtetl schlepped me down to Reunion Arena for a night of square music played in the round. Far as I can tell, though, its more of the same-ole with just a little less for creds sakethe Hebrew Hammer oversinging his overwrought lyrics (If your goldmine comes up empty/Ill be there to work for claims/If youre captain of a shipwreck/Ill be first mate to your shame) against a knowingly sparse backdrop of acoustic guitar and piano and the inevitable strings to make sure you havent forgotten this is intended to be his last schmaltz. Brian Wilsons here, too, on one of two cream-cheesy bonus songs; apparently, Barbra Streisand was too busy working on her disc with Jon Brion.


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