Christmas music is cheesy, right? And Neil Diamond is totally shameless. So it stands to reason that a Neil Diamond Christmas album would be like a drunken Vegas soirée catered by the Melting Pot. It’s true that Diamond’s gut-busting style sometimes misfires—“The Christmas Song,” for instance, has a backing track that sounds stripped from a karaoke machine. But more often, it’s pretty juicy holiday ham: See the guttural “Later on—ach!—we’ll conspire” and the totally hammy chorus-girls ending of “Winter Wonderland.” Or the opening track, “Cherry Cherry Christmas,” which we know Diamond wrote because it mentions about 57 of his earlier songs: "Let's raise a Christmas toast of red, red wine / We'll even sing 'Sweet Caroline' / While the whole world sings along.” And Diamond really does save the best for last: “The Chanukah Song.” That’s right, the Adam Sandler one. As in, “Paul Newman's half Jewish, Goldie Hawn's half too / Put them together, what a fine-lookin' Jew.” There’s even a session-dude cock-rockin’ a guitar solo. It is—there’s no other word for it—totally festive.
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