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Tuesday, November 02 2010 00:00

NEIL DIAMOND - DREAMS (Review)

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51WbNlFkVZL. SL160 I have a fear that with the continued decline of the music industry, new generations of listeners will miss out on hearing some truly great songs performed by some of music's finest voices, and that's a damn shame. You'd be hard-pressed to find a young audience that identifies with the music of NEIL DIAMOND, and while his legacy includes nearly four decades of  output as a performer and songwriter, it's likely that DREAMS (out today on Columbia) will become one of his least-selling albums.

With performers like ROD STEWART milking "The Great American Songbook" on a regular basis, it would be quick to dismiss DREAMS as a nostalgic cash-in, but that's not the case at all. Like JOHNNY CASH and GLENN CAMPBELL before him, NEIL DIAMOND has crafted an excellent album of cover tunes that pays tribute and respect to the source material (ranging from Bill Withers to The Beatles, Randy Newman, Leonard Cohen, and more),  while breaking down the arrangements and rebuilding them with purity and sincerity.

DIAMOND's voice shines as it finds itself joined by acoustic guitar and piano through much of the album, occasionally accented by soft percussive elements.

His dramatic reimagining of his own "I'm a Believer" (of which THE MONKEES rode to fame in 1966) could easily become a hit once more, and will likely begin popping up on film soundtracks in the very near future.

There's a lonliness to DREAMS that peaks with DIAMOND's take on THE EAGLES' "Desperado," before the fairly upbeat album closer "Don't Forget Me," taken from the catalog of the late HARRY NILLSON wraps things up in a manner that makes you ponder if there's a message to be received in DIAMOND's choice of that song to end the album.

Rating: 4/5

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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