Home Before Dark

( 10 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
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.
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...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
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.
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.

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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/6/2008
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 886971546521
  • Catalog Number: 715465
  • Sales rank: 48,908

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 If I Don't See You Again (7:13)
  2. 2 Pretty Amazing Grace (4:53)
  3. 3 Don't Go There (6:04)
  4. 4 Another Day (That Time Forgot) - Natalie Maines (6:12)
  5. 5 One More Bite of the Apple (6:39)
  6. 6 Forgotten (4:22)
  7. 7 Act Like a Man (4:04)
  8. 8 Whose Hands Are These (3:11)
  9. 9 No Words (4:49)
  10. 10 The Power of Two (4:35)
  11. 11 Slow It Down (4:55)
  12. 12 Home Before Dark (6:00)
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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 Jr. Trombone
Matt Sweeney Guitar
Julian Hallmark Violin
David R. Stone Bass
Nathan Campbell French Horn
Rose Corrigan Bassoon
Ralph Williams Clarinet
Andrew Duckles Viola
Rudolph Stein Cello
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
Vlado Meller Mastering
Jason Lader Engineer
Dana Nielsen Engineer
Mark Santangelo Mastering
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Disappointed

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    He's done it again!

    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    "Pretty Amazing Grace" - Home Before Dark

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2010

    pretty amazing!!

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    beautiful

    Once again and never disappointing

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Touched by Amazing Grace

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews