Neil Diamond: Melody Road review – schmaltzy but well-crafted honeymoon album

(Virgin)

There’s soppy, there’s schmaltz, and then there’s the latest from Neil Diamond. He remarried in 2012, and much of Melody Road radiates honeymoon period: trumpets tootle cheerfully, guitar melodies beam, cherry blossom falls from flutes, and Diamond delivers platitudes such as “Marriage is not an easy thing/ But look at all the joy it brings” with balmy bonhomie. Sunny Disposition and In Better Days have all the substance of soapy, made-for-TV movie romances; Something Blue and Nothing But a Heartache are bleaker, but only to sharpen the contrast with what it is to find that one special person who “took me to a place I never knew”. Sweep away the saccharine and Diamond’s craft as a songwriter still gleams: First Time addresses both teenagers striking out on their own (it would have been perfect for the Monkees), and septuagenarians inclined to nostalgia; while the story of Seongah and Jimmy doubles as a hymn to Diamond’s native Brooklyn, set to a Burt Bacharach swoop. But Melody Road should come with a trigger warning for anyone whose relationship is nearing the rocks.

Contributor

Maddy Costa

The GuardianTramp

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