Musically rich but lyrically weak outing from Diamond
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 03/02/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As much as I love Neil Diamond's way with a melody and as rich as some of the melodies are on this album, "Serenade" doesn't quite live up to its potential with its greeting card sentiments. Some of the lyrics are extremely good but on the whole, "Serenade" features some of Diamond's simplest lyrics in ages.
Opening with "I've Been This Way Before" Diamond is in good voice throughout really shining on "Longfellow Serenade" and "The Gift of Song" the last track on the album. "Rosemary's Wine" has one of Diamond's most interesting arrangements. This is a solid outing from Diamond with rich, fascinating musical arrangements and melodies just lacking in the lyric department.
Although not quite as inspired as the soundtrack he crafted for the awful movie "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" (the book was drivel, too)which features some of Diamond's richest melodies and beautifully crafted orchestrations from Diamond's long time collaborator Lee Holdridge, "Serenade" is less than the sum of its parts.
This edition of the CD hasn't been remastered and it features the original packaging from the previous CD edition. The album sounds really good with a nice, wide dynamic range and rich detail. It's a pity that Sony couldn't have put more effort into the packaging and include credits for the album, lyrics and additional information on the recording of the album but what matters is the sound quality. if you like this album you should definitely pick up this edition of the album. Diamond would hit a homerun with the follow up album "Beautiful Noise" produced by Robbie Robertson of The Band(!)fame a loose concept album about the experience of writing for Tin Pan Alley and his two most recent albums."