Album: Neil Diamond, A Cherry Cherry Christmas (Columbia)

Andy Gill
Friday 11 December 2009 01:00

The bulk of these 14 tracks were originally released on previous Neil Diamond Christmas albums from 1992 and 1994 – neither of which, one imagines, bore such a cringingly terrible titular pun.

Mostly produced by Peter Asher, they feature a range of ill-fitting stylistic strategies, from a cheesy doowop "White Christmas" and ghastly barbershop quartet medley of "Deck the Halls" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", to the heavy-handed choral treatment meted out to "Joy to the World". The best by far is a "Winter Wonderland" done as a swingy rockin' blues groove, complete with honking baritone sax, which at least sounds like fun. The title-track's terrible string of puns is made worse by their self-serving nature, with brazen references to more than just a few of Neil's previous hits – though mercifully, they should ensure it doesn't get covered too often. Of the other new tracks, "Meditations on a Winter Night" is a glum but brief piano and flute instrumental, "Christmas Dream" an uninvolving rehash of seasonal imagery, while a version of Adam Sandler's "The Chanukah Song" celebrates the Jewish provenance of famous celebs, from David Lee Roth to Captain Kirk: "Paul Newman's half-Jewish, Goldie Hawn is too – put them both together, what a fine-looking Jew!".

Download this Winter Wonderland; The Chanukah Song

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