Sunday, July 20, 2014

Neil Diamond - Primitive

Today (July 20th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Primitive, the sixteenth studio album from Neil Diamond. This 1984 release hit number 45 in Australia, number 35 on the US Billboard Album chart (with a twenty-five week total chart stay), and number 7 in the UK.

Side one opens with the tender ballad “Turn Around”. The lyrics are a plea to keep trying to make a relationship work. As the lead single, it went to number 62 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

The title track “Primitive” was released as the second single. The song has a pop-rock rhythm to it that cuts directly to a primal nerve.

The cautionary “Fire on the Tracks” has a South American carnival vibe to it. I particularly enjoy the steel drums.

The B-side to the first two singles was “Brooklyn on a Saturday Night”. I instantly had a late 60’s West Side Story flashback from it. I think that comes from the finger-snapping accompaniment through out and the gritty, urban narrative of the lyrics.

The ballad “Sleep With Me Tonight”, the third single, hit number 24 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

“Crazy” was the B-side to the fourth single. This mid-tempo tune is the first on the record that has a very typical 80’s sound, from the synths to percussion.

Side two begins with “My Time With You”. The simple piano and string accompaniment works well on this ballad.

The mid-tempo “Love’s Own Song” reflects upon the good times of a couple‘s past.

“It’s a Trip (Go for the Moon)” keeps things up-beat.

“You Make It Feel Like Christmas”, the final single, hit number 28 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in December of 1984. I was first exposed to this heartfelt track a number of years back on a Diamond career-spanning compilation.

The closing track “One By One” was the B-side to the third single.

I have been a Neil Diamond fan for a number of decades. Even so, this was my first listen to most of Primitive; back in 1984 I was hardly listening to much adult contemporary music. I certainly enjoyed the record enough, from Diamond’s amazing songwriting to the tight music production, to make it a candidate for a future download.

For more of my blog posts about Neil Diamond and his music, click here.

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