Saturday, February 25, 2006

12 Songs (Neil Diamond)

I'm listening to Neil Diamond's new album, 12 Songs.

I've listened to Diamond since I was young, and play a bunch of songs on guitar (there was an unfortunately ostracisizing moment where I played a medley of Jonathan Livingston Seagull songs in a grades school talent show).

But I'd kind of fallen away from him.

There was the cover to 12 Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, where he was wearing white pajamas, and sitting on a pink couch.

And then there was the day before he turned 40 or 50, he announced he was taking himself and his family deep into the desert, so he didn't have to hear the media all over the world announce his birthday. Nobody cared. (In retrospect, it was probably a smart marketing move, because nobody did care -- until he made the announcement; then he was back (for the day) on the radar.)

So, when 12 Songs came out, and was produced by Rick Rubin, I guess I was hoping for something like what came out of Rick Rubin's reminding the world that Johnny Cash mattered in 2002's American Recordings.

But, this is a little different. This is trying to make schlock matter.

It kind of works.

There are some good tracks, but I've got a bad taste in my mouth from "Hell Yeah" -- what could have been a new anthem for individualism is just self-serving and ... flat.

I'll give the album more time, but I'm a bit disappointed, overall. I'll probably pull "Hell Yeah" from my library, and see if I enjoy the album better.

And, yes, I went from the Punisher Movie Soundtrack to Neil Diamond.

That's how I roll, Dawg.

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