Coming To America,
by Neil Diamond.
My Review: 8
I grew up listening to Neil Diamond. My friend Mike Baranov is a rabid Neil Diamond fan, has seen him more than 20 times in concert, and celebrates his entire catalog. Neil Diamond is iconic.
I am still mixed on whether he really fit in well on the lineup of guest musicians in The Last Waltz, but that is another review in itself.
From left to right: Dr. John, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Rick Danko, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and Robbie Robertson
Neil Young’s anthemic ballad, Coming To America, is a wonderful song. The buildup, the chorus, the crowd, the upwelling of emotion that the song can engender in the patriotic soul… they are spellbinding . Even the initial buildup, using strings, is a wonderful piece of musical production. It’s cheese, pure American cheese, but it is so wonderful.
Baranov (mentioned above) use to egg me on to play the song on my acoustic guitar when we were at summer camp together. There is no finer moment than leading 15 or more close friends in a rollicking chorus of “on the boats and on the planes, they’re coming to America…”
What a feeling.
But sentimentality and recollection are not the true basis for the rating. The songwriting is good. Not inspirational, but it is solid. The patriotic attitude and focus are those attributes which make the song great; the attributes which make it a haven for many immigrants and an inspiration for people all over the world, these attitudes are worth singing about. And the cheese. It’s artery clogging, but it is also excellent.
I think Coming To America is a great song. And America is a great country. I’m glad Neil Diamond wrote it, and I’ll continue to listen to this song till the day I die.