Home Before Dark

Home Before Dark

4.7 22
by Neil Diamond
     
 

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For his second album with producer Rick Rubin, and 27th studio disc in a storied career, Neil Diamond digs deeper, producing his most honest -- and searing -- songwriting to date. Home Before Dark features a duet with Dixie Chick Natalie Maines.

Overview

For his second album with producer Rick Rubin, and 27th studio disc in a storied career, Neil Diamond digs deeper, producing his most honest -- and searing -- songwriting to date. Home Before Dark features a duet with Dixie Chick Natalie Maines.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Home Before Dark is Neil Diamond's second collaboration with producer Rick Rubin. It follows the fine but ill-fated 12 Songs, which was sabotaged by Sony's "Rootkit" program scandal: a nefarious bit of "copy protection" software that invaded the operating system of PCs and wreaked havoc. 12 Songs had to be recalled from store shelves just as Diamond received better reviews than he had in a decade. Sony reissued it in 2007, but the damage was done. Diamond, disappointed but undaunted, sought out Rubin. Rubin enlisted Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench and lead guitarist Mike Campbell, studio guitarist/bassist Smokey Hormel, and former Chavez guitar slinger Matt Sweeney. There are no drums. David Campbell did some skeletal string arrangements, but that's it. In addition, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks duets on the track "Another Day (That Time Forgot)." Home Before Dark is a more exposed Diamond than listeners have ever heard. He's out there, bashing on his guitar and singing from a position of extreme vulnerability; he's on a wire without a net. His musicians understand what is so dynamically and poetically evident in the songs, and use painterly care in adorning them. Diamond is not a young man anymore and, thankfully, he doesn't write like one -- though he sounds lean and hungry for something just out of reach. "Forgotten" has a rock & roll progression worthy of his Bang singles. Its lyric reflects the travails of a protagonist whose heart bears hurt without the grace and wisdom that age is supposed to bring. The grain in his voice is fierce; it quavers just a bit in the refrain, and Sweeney's electric guitar nails it to the wall. It follows "One More Bite of the Apple," another rollicking rocker, but this one is about reuniting with his true beloved -- songwriting itself. Home Before Dark contains some beautiful love songs, too. "If I Don't See You Again," the album's opener, reflects the bittersweet aftertaste of lost love. It's classic Diamond. His character converses with a reflection, a ghost. The gorgeously crafted instrumental bridge and the sense of loneliness in the protagonist's voice combine seamlessly. The album's first single is "Pretty Amazing Grace." Diamond sings a prayer of gratitude for rescue and restoration, whether to Divine Providence, his lover, or both; we don't know. His infectious, haunting melody is jarring, played in minor chords by fingerpicked steel-string guitars and anchored by a standup bass. Tench's piano adds tension just before the refrain where the guitars get punchy flamenco-style and break it wide open. Strings decorate the backdrop, as the lyric juxtaposes the present against the past, not as contrast but as progression. The duet with Maines, "Another Day (That Time Forgot)," has shadowy traces of the gentle but brooding intensity of the intro to "Holly Holy" in the chord progression. It's a joint confession between lovers who are lost to one another; the tragedy is they have no idea how they grew apart. Tench's piano improv fills the space between verses; he underscores the melancholy gorgeously. "The Power of Two," with multi-tracked, entwining acoustic guitar lines by Campbell, is an artful framework for one of Diamond's protagonists to realize that he finally has the ability and courage to embrace another fully, and to allow himself to become a part of love instead of remaining apart from it. Home Before Dark is a less "civilized" album than anything Diamond's done before. It is a stark and moving portrait of what an accepted artist found when he reached all the way down to face his fear, doubt, and knowledge, and brought the discovery into his work. Diamond proves not only that can he still write great songs, but also that he can deliver them with toughness and grit as an expression of real beauty.
Rolling Stone - Andy Greene
Like Johnny Cash's Rubin—produced American Recordings series, Home Before Dark cuts the music down to its essence, scrapping the overproduction that has marred Diamond's albums since the Eighties.
San Francisco Chronicle - Joel Selvin
"Home Before Dark" catches Diamond being himself, finally not trying too hard.... The old pomp and pride are back.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/06/2008
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0886971546521
catalogNumber:
715465

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Neil Diamond   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Mike Campbell   Guitar,Bass Guitar
Benmont Tench   Keyboards
Charlie Bisharat   Concert Master
David Campbell   Leader
Larry Corbett   Cello
Earl Dumler   English Horn,Oboe
Chuck Findley   Trumpet
Armen Garabedian   Violin
Gary Grant   Trumpet
Dan Higgins   Flute
Larry Klimas   Flute
Don Markese   Alto Flute
Joe Meyer   French Horn
Linda Press   Background Vocals
Robert Shulgold   Flute
Maxine Willard Waters   Background Vocals
Smokey Hormel   Guitar,Bass Guitar
Julia Waters   Background Vocals
Jonny Polonsky   Guitar
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach   Trombone
Matt Sweeney   Guitar
Rudy Stein   Cello
Julian Hallmark   Violin
David R. Stone   Bass
Nathan Campbell   French Horn
Rose Corrigan   Bassoon
Ralph Williams   Clarinet
Andrew Duckles   Viola
Michele Richards   Violin
Steven Holtman   Trombone
M.B. Gordy   Timpani

Technical Credits

Neil Diamond   Composer,Liner Notes
David Campbell   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements,Woodwind Arrangement
Rick Rubin   Producer
Bernie Becker   Engineer
Andrew Scheps   Engineer
Greg Fidelman   Engineer
Mary Maurer   Art Direction
Jason Lader   Engineer
Dana Nielsen   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Home Before Dark 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A simple, sincere, convicting & beautiful worship song ever written so far, in the 21st Century! One man's genuine expression of how Amazing God's Grace truly is! Thanks Neil for the gift of this gripping worship song to the world at large....I am sure people will take notice if they care to listen! What a treat it will be when people are convicted and gripped by the song....and search the pages of the BOOK you refer to in the song!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Neil Diamond fan. I love about everything he does. Sadly, Home Before Dark has been a disappointment to me. If you really like the Rick Rubin-inspired stripped down version of Neil's music, the first Rubin produced CD "12 Songs" was much better. As for me, I'll go back to his older music, such as Three Chord Opera and Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am very pleased with this album. I find the song with Natalie Maines to be the best. Thought-provoking lyrics are outstanding in all his songs, and he does not disappoint with this album
Guest More than 1 year ago
Neil's got the touch! This really was a beautiful album. I love the acoustic sound, and the piano parts on the 1st and 4th tracks are lovely. I could fall asleep listening to this (in a good way). Thanks, Neil! Keep them coming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this CD. Neil Diamond never disappoints but, this time, he's outdone himself! I admit to being stuck in the 60's & 70's musicwise so it's not often that I so thoroughly enjoy an entire new group of songs. It's hard to pick a favorite but Pretty Amazing Grace may just be it with all the rest tied for a close second.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It has been a long time since I was amazed by a new "take" on such a standard hymn. The whole arrangement was an instant "WOW,I gotta listen to this"! And then add to it that Neil Diamond is singing it! I heard it on American Idol and logged on to look at the whole album which I am now anxiously awaiting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again and never disappointing
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a mature, deep, simple yet well crafted song... love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The words are deeper, the hooks are all there. This is Neil at his most mature and definitely at his best. Outstanding!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This song is fantastic. Sung from the heart. It really moved me. To sustain a listeners interest for 7 minutes plus is a long time and I just didn't want this song to finish.I can't wait to hear the rest of the songs on this album.If they are anywhere near the standard of this one this album will be a sellout very quickly and one you will want in your collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i've been in love with this man's music since junior high, and have seen him 9 times. i'm 54 years old ,and finally i'll see him again in tampa this month. the only song i've never heard him not sing live that i wanted to was the OH NO song. it doesn't really matter, because he can sing whatever he wants!! Tina has her song simply the best, but mr. diamond has far surpassed her and many of the the other greats. as far as your latest cd, it's as good as gold. imagine that!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just viewed the video of "If I Don't See You Again, & "Pretty Amazing Grace" from another web site. Both left me speachless. As with every N.D. album I can't wait to hear more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After having the 12 Songs dvd, I did not think Mr. Diamond could top it. Well, I find myself having to hear at least one of the songs every day. They keep running through my head, so I have to hear them again and again. My favorite is "Pretty Amazing Grace"...the music, the words..everything is close to perfect about it. What about his voice....I think I like it even more than I did 30 years ago! What a great CD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
neil diamond has raised the bar again..can't miss with his words and music,what solo artist has maintain this for over five decades.Mr.Diamond has produced a gem.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've always thought "I Am...I Said" was the best song ever written, but "If I Don't See You Again" is right up there with it. I can't seem to stop listening: the lyrics are poignant, the structure is superb, and I don't care if it's 7 minutes long. If this song had been written before the age of video music, it'd have been huge. I hope Neil is as appreciated for this one as he should be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan since high school - had a teacher who played Neil all the time. I have been hooked ever since. I have been to four concerts and plan to go again this time around. Keep it coming - love, love, love the music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ihave just watched the 'If I don't see you again' video. Fantastic song, great lyrics, This one will grab you. Neil's voice in its usual superb form. Neil's fans will enjoy this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again a song that touches us. Thank you for the beautiful music your fans can always count on. So much changes but at least we have your music to hold on to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never thought that the man could get any better but this album is just soul touching. I have just finished listening to "Home Before Dark" and it seems as though he has bared his soul. Simply brilliant.
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