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Diamonds On The Inside

3.7 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 11, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Ben Harper makes elegant leaps from reggae to rock to folk to funk and back in his fifth studio album. The rootsy singer-songwriter with the silken tenor isn't merely genuflecting at the altar of his musical heroes, as here he shows more quirky imagination and inventive musicianship than on any of his earlier efforts. That said, "Diamonds on the Inside" is painted with the same brush that Bob Dylan used on "I Shall Be Released," but Harper adds his own Biblical aphorisms to make the song his own. Most of the songs display Harper's growth as a poet, as he ponders the dualities of life and love in tunes like the disturbing "Touch from Your Lust" and the disquietingly lyrical "Amen Omen." Harper is compelled to sing what is in his heart and to do what he can to make the world a better place. Witness the Marley-like "With My Own Two Hands." The only misstep on the whole disc is the overly humid orchestration of "When She Believes." --Jaan Uhelszki
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 11, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin
  • ASIN: B00008AY3L
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,524 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. S. Hillis on March 21, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First of all, this review will not address the actual MUSIC on this disc, which is up to Harper's usual platinum standard of songwriting and musicianship.
No, this is intended to be a warning that this CD has been laced with copy-protect technology that prevents those who paid for it from making MP3s and whatnot. It also prevents you from even listening to the disc on a computer except by using an extremely low-quality proprietary player that limits the quality to just 48 kbps -- about what you'd get from AM radio.
I own hundreds of CDs, and while my buying has slowed in recent years as family commitments and other interests take precedence, I still buy one or two discs a month. This is the first I have run across that does this. I am stunned. I bought a portable MP3 player about two years ago, and use it for all my on-the-go listening. With a baby in the house I can't even listen to much music on the home stereo. Ben Harper is perhaps my favorite modern artist, and I am furious that EMI/Virgin have carried out this underhanded assault on consumer fair use rights.
A page on the Web site of Virgin Records America confirmed the CD has been booby-trapped. A feedback form on their site did not work. I hope others are as outraged as I am and put some effort into tracking down how to voice displeasure.
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Format: Audio CD
As my non catchy title states this album is very good. It's good to see Ben with a new release out. It has been almost 4 years since his last studio release. I can say that the wait was definitely worth it. Ben makes his usual genre jumps all over the record. Its amazing how he (and the IC's) are able to pull this off. So anyway I'll give a brief description of the songs.
With My Own Two Hands - First single, reggae, reminds me of one of Ben's influences Bob Marley overall 8/10
When its good - acoustic bluesy type song, very good tune. Ben busts out the acoustic slide on this one. 10/10
Diamonds On The Inside - great song, remind me of Elvis Costello. 10/10
Touch From Your Lust - Nice effects on the guitar, got the Leslie (listen to Hendrix's Angel) effect going, straight foreward rock tune. 8/10
When She Believes - Slow ballad type song, strings used, acoustic guitar - pretty good tune 9/10
Brown Eyed Blues - The first funky sounding track on the album, pretty cool little bass line to this one. Nice little Bass solo on this also. I love this song. 10/10
Bring The Funk - This is an all out funk track, but I don't really like it to much. 6/10
Everything - another acoustic type song (has bass and percussion in it), bluesy feel to it, uplifting though - 8/10
Amen Omen - my favorite song on the album. Well crafted acoustic song. Best song Ben has written in a long time. 15/10
Temporary Remedy - straight ahead rock song. I think it needs to grow on me. 6/10
So High So Low - This is the Led Zep song of the album. Gonna be a great live song. 10/10
Blessed to be A Witness - Ben's voice is the highlight of this song. Mellow song. Beautiful. 10/10
Picture of Jesus - Acapella type song, just percussion and vocals.
Read more ›
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By A Customer on March 14, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I have every one of Ben Harper's Albums, and I can honestly say that "Diamonds on the Inside" does everything but disappoint. From the opening "With My Own Two Hands", Harper hits you with a rythmic reggae beat, ultimately making one feel that he/she too can change the world. One of my favorites on the album however is "Brown Eyed Blues". With a funky beat that even James Brown would appreciate, this track is ideal for a "Friday night before the bar pump up session". Harper's spirituality, welcomed and respected, is beautifully conveyed through songs such as "Picture of Jesus" and "Amen Omen", as well as "When She Believes".
Ben Harper is truly one of the best singer/song writer/musicians in this day and age, and it's a shame that he recieves no where near the acclaim that he has proved he deserves. While he may lose some fire in the studio as compared to the live stage, Ben Harper takes one on a funky, spiritual ride, with Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix ever present in the rear-view.
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Format: Audio CD
As a fan of Ben Harper's work from the get go this one was highly anticipated but ownership has proved a struggle.
It kickoff with a cracker 'With my own two hands' which is as reggae as Harper's ever been. With the title track and 'Touched by your Lust' it's a strong start.
Past that it's a struggle. Sure the bloke can play and play with passion. And there's no shortage of that. It's just that the latter half of the disc is melodically monotnous for my liking.
The real sticking point for me is that it is lyrically far too stuck in the religous groove. I'm happy enough to have an artist get spiritual on me but not for song after song especially when a large part of it just seems to me to be 'wailing to Jesus'. And if you aren't of that mind (like me) then it gets seriously annoying.
I suspect the bloke is exploring grooves and themes that he feels he needs to but he lost me with this one. So far. I'll keep working on it but I'm not too hopeful.
Overall it is an interesting development in Ben Harper but not one I'd wholey recommend especially if you are new to Harper. Start with 'Fight for Your Mind' and 'Burn to Shine' or even the live album. Leave 'Diamonds on the Inside' for another day.
The other superbly painful thing about this CD is the copy control software. A decent hifi player will have no real trouble with it but if you use a computer to play music, this CD (and most other Virgin CC efforts) sounds repellant. Unbelieveably it sounds even worse when you use the media player that is included in the disc. I don't object to the CC concept but truely this is a godawful effort at it.
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