Monday, May 04, 2009

Book 28 of 52 -- David Wild's He Is . . . I Say: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neil Diamond

This book hits a truly sweet spot where the biography of Neil Diamond, the autobiography of David Wild and a critical appreciation of pop music's most enduring singer/songwriter overlap.

The author is the rarest of beasts - a fully-anointed Rolling Stone-certified rock critic who isn't too much a rock-snob to appreciate the full scope of Neil Diamond's unique talent and legacy.

And I'm not just talking about the early recordings that even the most staunch rock snobs seem to have finally embraced, but every stage of Diamond's career--Wild does casual fans the service of picking the great songs out of Neil's overlooked albums.

More importantly, though, Wild defends the career of the man himself in a measured but passionate book that incorporates his own feelings about Neil's music with his many encounters with the man himself.

He doesn't dig for dirt in Diamond's personal biographical details, nor does he go for cheap shots at some of the man's admittedly less-than-stellar work.

Instead he makes the case for a truly unique artist who, into his late 60s, is coming full-circle to his beginnings as a songwriter and, yes, even critical success.

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