Monday, November 5, 2007
No. 222: The Neil Diamond Collection
Band: Neil Diamond
Album: The Neil Diamond Collection
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: It's the Jewish Elvis! Diamond's Broolyn-good looks and his troubadour style and crooning voice have set both Chosen Women and Shiksahs hearts aflutter forever. This 1999 collection hits his highlights, though some of his greats are absent.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I have trouble supporting a Neil Diamond record where “Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon” and “Kentucky Woman” are absent.
Best song: "I Am, I Said” is one of the strangest songs around. He's singing to a chair!
Worst song: I don't care for “Crunchy Granola Suite.”
Is it awesome?: Come on! It's Neil Diamond. Of course it's awesome!
I am Jewish (in that I was raised Jewish and am of Jewish heritage, even though I worship the sun), so an affinity for Neil Diamond is pretty much ingrained into my DNA. I have a friend who worked for the JUF and got free tickets to a Neil Diamond show.
Diamond is kind of a joke these days. Will Ferrell lampooned him in one of the best SNL sketches of Ferrell's time at the show. One of the subplots of a mildly successful movie was based on the idea that the main character was in a Diamond tribute band.
He is, in essence, the singer for middle-aged and older Jewish women. Again, Jewish Elvis and such. His open shirts and hairy chest was a kind of mating call to young Hebrew school devoted coeds. His detached indifference of a voice probably passes as “cool,” though it sometimes seems as though he doesn't give a crap.
This compilation is exactly what you'd expect from Diamond, save for a couple of missing tracks. My favorite Diamond song, “Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon,” isn't here, but many of the other favorites are. “Sweet Caroline,” “Cracklin' Rosie” and “I Am... I Said” all dot the record, so it's not a total disappointment.
It's Neil Diamond; I'm pretty sure you know what's going on here. He comes from a different era and continues to sell out arenas. Mazel Tov, Neil.