Picks and Pans Review: Three Chord Opera
Neil Diamond (Columbia)
His chest hair may have gone gray by now, and he still looks like he wandered in from a Vegas dentists' convention, but Diamond can blast away in that Big Bertha baritone like no one else. Thirty-five years after he hit the pop charts with "Solitary Man" and "Cherry Cherry," the Tin Pan Alley vet continues to produce heroic, shirt-rending pop anthems. The Brooklyn native kicks things off with "I Haven't Played This Song in Years," a lovelorn ballad with strings and timpani heightening the show-tune dramatics. "We tried to set the world on fire/And almost did with our desire," he bellows at the crescendo. All 12 songs display Diamond's patented Wall of Bombast sound, which could be the product of a collaboration between Phil Spector and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Bottom Line: Fans rejoice, Diamond glistens
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