Picks and Pans Review: Neil Diamond

UPDATED 05/26/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/26/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT

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CRITIC'S CHOICE

POP

Neil Diamond's last album, 2005's 12 Songs, was a real revelation, pairing the singer-songwriter with Rick Rubin, Grammy-winning producer for everyone from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Dixie Chicks. The two reunite for this stellar sequel, which once again finds Diamond, 67, channeling the spirit of another Rubin client, the late Johnny Cash. The stripped-down tunes reveal the naked emotion of Diamond, who brings it down-home on country-tinged cuts such as the twangy, loping "Act Like a Man" and "Another Day (That Time Forgot)," his memorable duet with Dixie Chick Natalie Maines.
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