.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/3502e7d865a1a4eae01df2dc414861abb95d834b.jpg Diamonds On The Inside

Ben Harper

Diamonds On The Inside

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
February 25, 2003

Even as he invokes folks such as Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, Ben Harper turns rock cliches inside out until they mean something new again. The Black Crowes-damaged title track of Harper's fifth studio album — a lush sweep of twelve-string and pedal steel guitars — is sweeter than ninety percent of the cock rock that it echoes. Often, when Harper seems to be singing about some spangly rock chick, he's crooning about the Queen of Heaven — at least that's the case with "When She Believes," a lullaby that's all accordions, harps and fuzzy-blanket chords.

Harper works out of a tradition that is older than rock: the African-American church and its more secular members' tradition of blending gospel righteousness with pop grooves. "Brown Eyed Blues" is good wah-wah funk, but it's Harper's quavering, weak-with-lust vocal that makes it irresistible. He understands that pop music isn't just a parade of brand-new things — it's about reinvention, too.

On Diamonds on the Inside, Harper does better than that: He blows up like an inheritor and improves upon his influences with a few jewels of unique and exquisitely tender rock & roll.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Bird on a Wire”

    Leonard Cohen | 1969

    While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com