Stephen Holden

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 126

Neil Diamond's quasi-classical melodies and oratorical vocals evoke a Hollywood Moses gesticulating wildly toward the heavens. This hasn't always been the case. In the late Sixties and early Seventies, Diamond was content to churn out cheerful pop-country hits ("Sweet Caroline," "Cracklin' Rosie") that had no artistic pretensions. But with Jonathan...

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Neil Diamond's quasi-classical melodies and oratorical vocals evoke a Hollywood Moses gesticulating wildly toward the heavens. This hasn't always been the case. In the late Sixties and early Seventies, Diamond was content to churn out cheerful pop-country hits ("Sweet Caroline," "Cracklin' Rosie") that had no artistic pretensions. But with Jonathan Livingston Seagull, his music became curdled with intellectual self-importance.

On the Way to the Sky is a typically overblown collection of tuneful trifles that aren't nearly as strong as last year's score for The Jazz Singer….

Though Diamond is unfailingly melodic and his booming bass-baritone smolders with emotion, the arrangements and lyrics here are pure Las Vegas kitsch.

Stephen Holden, in a review of "On the Way to the Sky," in Rolling Stone, Issue 365, March 18, 1982, p. 67.

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