Wednesday, June 27, 2007

...of Two Cheese Maestros

a) Neil Diamond

b) Tom Jones
Place your vote.


  1. Oooohhh! Welll
    ...while I am more intrigued by the nature of Neil Diamond's place as a maestro of surreal and almost hypnotic line-walking between popular music and conceptual performance, ballyhooed by a number of respectable and discerning friends and aquaintances, I'd say Tom Jones is a performer I totally "got" right away, and dug.

    They both clearly parody their own performance, always a plus in my book. I do not think EJ truly ever did that. I think Diamond believes it a little more (a debatable plus/ minus), which makes more room for believing the music can be a "jagged" experience.

    I'm more fascinated by Diamond, definately, but I actually rock out to TJ.
    So, he's my wheel of cheese.

  2. now this pairing turns my previous criteria completely upside down. In the comparison between BJ and EJ, it seemed correct to impugn EJ for his shameless commercialism/superficial vapidity, and to reward BJ for being, however flawed, a real person.

    But Neil Diamond and Tom Jones? Neil's "realness" is portrayed in a pageant of such sincerity (the sweating, the wincing, the exhausted slumping at the end of a song), one cannot help but suspect he actually believes his stuff (even if no one else does). He so sincere it's kind of terrifying.

    TJ, on the other hand, is into one thing only, everybody knows what it is, and that's why he does it. With that voice, he could sing a Burger King menu and still get panties thrown at him.

    ND thinks he kills, TJ kills.

    How about:

    Barbra Streisand

    Celine Dion

  3. Anonymous9:43 AM

    I saw Tom Jones live once at the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa in Clear Lake, CA. I was disappointed that he only got thrown one pair of panties, although given the age of the crowd he was lucky not to get Depends.

    I once again think Garth is right on about the character of the cheese maestros. Part of Billy Joel's advantage is that there's a sense that he feels himself trapped in cheese and can't get out. But Neil Diamond doesn't feel trapped. He doesn't think he's cheesy. He thinks that he is more real than anyone else. And Tom does indeed acheive a purity and honesty in cheese that our other characters have not.

    However, I do have to say that Neil's music is a lot better than Tom's. If you can temporarily suspend your inner anti-cheese, Neil is very enjoyable. Whereas I find it hard to take Tom seriously even when the anti-cheese is suspended. I don't even believe he really loves Delilah--and the "pussy-cat nose" gives me the creeps. His cheese artistry is impressive, but it leaves me cold. Neil is welcome to my car radio anytime (or anywhere I'm safe from the sweat.)

  4. wait, are we voting on *most* cheesey, or most "ok" despite the cheese?

    i saw tom jones perform on david letterman a few years ago wearing a *mesh* t-shirt. gag. so he's cheesiest in my book for that alone.

    "it's not unusual" to be nauseated by a 60 year old man in a mesh shirt...

  5. most "ok" despite the cheese

  6. Anonymous2:10 PM

    Can mesh T-shirts find their way into a Battle Royale?

  7. Anonymous2:21 PM

    Another question: do any of you think Tom Jones is partly responsible for begetting David Hasselhoff?

  8. My brain just exploded!

  9. Anonymous8:13 AM

    you gotta be kidding comparing Neil Diamond to Tom Jones.Neil Diamond who can actually sound hard rock at times (as on 'Gold:Live at the Troubodour and Hot August Night).Who writes his own songs that countless "serious rock" bands have covered.Who released one of the most praised albums of 2006 by rock critics.To Tom Jones?What a joke.You obviously only know Neil Diamond by just his media image,and a few hits.In a recording career that began in 1962 with "At Night" and then "Solitary Man".

  10. Grumpy, grumpy.

    I vote Neil Diamond, by the way. Tom Jones' songs have a sort of glib infectiousness that's fun while it lasts but leaves a sugar-buzz hangover. Neil digs down deep.

  11. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Slimbo, sometime ask your father about Tom Jones, Welsh cod pieces, and merlins!