He wrote some of the most popular songs of the last century. He’s been a movie star and sells out stadiums worldwide. His latest offering, “12 Songs,” was called “his best work in ages,” by E! Online and the “most entertaining, satisfying album Diamond has ever released,” by All Music Guide.But can Neil Diamond be cool again?
Some, including more than a few loyal Diamond fans, wonder if his latest effort falls between his old audience and a younger, hipper crowd, raised on Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“He’s not going to win over any younger audiences,” Rodd Wayne, music director at KOOI-FM said. “It’s weaker than the songs that put him on the chart, and not hip enough to make it on an iPod.”
For the album, Diamond relied heavily on the instincts of producer and Def Jam Records founder, Rick Rubin.
In an interview with “Rolling Stone Magazine,” Diamond said: “Rick’s got instincts and vision, and I go with that. He’s a peaceful person, a kind of spiritual guru.”
Diamond is not Rubin’s first stab at reinventing an aging songwriter. In the ’90s, Rubin produced four highly successful albums for country singer Johnny Cash, which many credit for renewing interest in his earlier work.
Regardless of reviews, customer demand for the album is strong, Julie Powell of Borders Books & Music said.
“We get a lot of requests for it and sales are great,” Powell said. “As far as age goes, it’s been all across the board.”