Wednesday , February 28 2024
I think just about everybody has a favorite Neil Diamond song, don't they?

New Album Releases 05/06/08: Neil Diamond, Elvis Costello, Last Shadow Puppets, Clay Aiken, Barenaked Ladies, Toby Keith, & More

I think just about everybody has a favorite Neil Diamond song, don't they?

I'd probably have to narrow mine down to two. I just can't decide between that first song I ever heard that I knew was his — the mid-sixties pop-rock chestnut, "Cherry, Cherry" — and "Holly Holy," his uplifting anthem from a little later that same decade.

But that's just the kind of legendary songwriter (and of course, performer) that Neil Diamond is. Like Dylan, Lennon and McCartney, and maybe Paul Simon — Neil Diamond falls into that unique category where you can pick just about any one of the dozens of great songs he has written over the past — what? five decades now? — and remember exactly where you were the first time you heard it.

Although Neil Diamond lost some of his luster with the hipster crowd in the seventies and eighties when he headed straight for the middle of the road with songs like "September Morn," he began to regain that about ten years ago when Urge Overkill covered his "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" for the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

That transition was completed when he began making records with producer Rick Rubin, who revived Johnny Cash's career in much the same way in his final years just before he passed away.

Home Before Dark is Neil Diamond's second collaboration with Rubin, and it heads up this week's new releases. The sound is stripped down to a minimum core where Diamond's voice, guitar, and mostly his songs — which are among his most vital-sounding in years — take center stage. He is joined occasionally here by Heartbreakers Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell, and noted session musicians Smokey Hormel (Tom Waits, Joe Henry), and Matt Sweeney (Chavez).

Although somewhat overshadowed by the Neil Diamond release, the arrival this week of Elvis Costello & The Imposters' Momofuku is also a pretty big deal. An album which, if reports are to be believed, came together almost by accident, this is Costello's first record of pop-driven songs in some time. As such, it is sure to make fans happy who have long been waiting for exactly that. Momofuku also arrives just in time for a string of dates with the Police this summer.

Other noteworthy arrivals this week include the Last Shadow Puppets Age of the Understatement, a collaboration between Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner and the Rascals' Miles Kane that is said to be heavily fueled by early David Bowie. Barenaked Ladies are also back with what is apparently a children's album (at least judging by the song titles) called Snacktime!.

American Idol Clay Aiken returns with On My Way Here. All American Patriot and sometime Ford Truck pitchman Toby Keith has a double disc of his 35 Biggest Hits, that also includes a new song, "She's a Hottie."

Mark Saleski and Tom Johnson did not contribute picks this week (those bastards!).

Here are all of this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:

Elvis Costello & the Imposters
Lost Highway
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Rock & Roll

Gavin DeGraw
Gavin DeGraw
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Neil Diamond
Home Before Dark
Singer/Songwriter, Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary

The Last Shadow Puppets
Age of the Understatement
Indie Rock

Mindi Abair
Smooth Jazz, Jazz-Pop, Instrumental Pop

Clay Aiken
On My Way Here
Adult Contemporary

Misha Alperin
Her First Dance
Modern Creative

Ersi Arvizu
Friend for Life
Latin Jazz, Contemporary R&B, Latin Pop

Barenaked Ladies
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Sing-Along

Dierks Bentley
Greatest Hits: Every Mile a Memory
Contemporary Country, Neo-Traditionalist Country

Brian Blade Fellowship
Seasons of Changes
Post-Bop, Modern Creative

Blank Blue
Western Water Music, Vol. II
Neo-Psychedelia, Dream Pop, Post-Rock/Experimental

Christine Brewer
Christine Brewer Sings Songs by Wagner, Wolf, Britten and John Carter
Wigmore Hall Live
Romantic, Post-Romantic, Modern and Contemporary Vocal Music

Nothing Without You
Alternative Pop/Rock

Confederate Railroad
The Very Best of Confederate Railroad
Neo-Traditionalist Country, Honky Tonk, Contemporary Country, Country-Rock

Taylor Eigsti
Let It Come to You
Post-Bop, Modern Creative

Ghost Notes
Alternative Country-Rock, Indie Rock

The Golden Hour
Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock

Tim Fite
Fair Ain't Fair
Indie Pop, Alternative Country-Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Nik Freitas
Sun Down
Team Love
Indie Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Pop

Josh Groban
Awake Live [CD/DVD]
Classical Pop, Adult Contemporary, Vocal Pop, Euro-Pop

Scott Hamilton & Friends
Across the Tracks
Standards, Mainstream Jazz, Neo-Bop

Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Schumann: Das Paradies und die Peri [Hybrid SACD]
Romantic Choral Music

Peter Homans
Peter Homans: A Prague Spring
Contemporary Chamber and Orchestral Music

William Kapell
Kapell Rediscovered
Piano Selections

Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward
Experimental Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental, Modern Composition, Avant-Garde

Toby Keith
35 Biggest Hits
Show Dog Nashville
Contemporary Country

Scott Kelly
The Wake
Alternative Singer/Songwriter

Hal Ketchum
Greatest Hits
Neo-Traditionalist Country, Contemporary Country

The Long Blondes
Rough Trade
New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Indie Rock

The Supreme Balloon
Experimental Techno, Electronica, Ambient Techno

Midnight Oil
Diesel and Dust [CD/DVD]
College Rock, Album Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Aussie Rock

Machine 15
Punk Revival, Punk-Pop

Mint Condition
Caged Bird/Image
Contemporary R&B, Urban

Jeb Loy Nichols
Days Are Mighty
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

No Age
Sub Pop
Indie Rock, Lo-Fi

Original Sountrack
Ironman [Original Soundtrack]
Lion's Gate
Original Score, Film Music, Soundtracks

Evan Parker/Transatlantic Art Ensemble
Boustrophedon (In Six Furrows)
Free Jazz, Avant-Garde, Structured Improvisation, Experimental Big Band, Orchestral Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz, Modern Composition, Free Improvisation

Edith Piaf
La Vie en Rose 1935-1951
French Pop, Cabaret, Vocal Pop, Torch Songs, Nostalgia

Russian Circles
Suicide Squeeze
Experimental Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental, Instrumental Rock

Chris Sligh
Running Back to You
Alternative CCM

Spread the Rumors
Drive Thru
Indie Pop, Indie Rock

Charlotte Sometimes
Waves & the Both of Us
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Pop/Rock

Steve Turre
Rainbow People
Afro-Cuban Jazz, Post-Bop, Latin Jazz

Armin van Buuren
Club/Dance, Progressive Trance, Progressive House

Various Artists
Ayombe!: The Heart of Colombia's Musica Vallenata
Vallenato, Son, Traditional, Merengue

Various Artists
Soul Messages from Dimona
Psychedelic Soul, Chicago Soul, Northern Soul, Jazz-Funk, Funk

Steve Von Till
A Grave Is a Grim Horse
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Americana

Marcin Wasilewski Trio
Modern Creative, Post-Bop

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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