Ben Harper’s fifth studio album, “Diamonds on the Inside,” brings together all the diverse elements of Harper’s previous releases and makes for a superb musical journey.
The album is such a great eclectic blend. Harper displays that he has mastered the various styles of music that inspire him. “Diamonds” gracefully flows from Marley-style reggae to moving gospels, heavy funk and rock, with hints of country along the way.
The first single, “With My Own Two Hands,” has a great reggae vibe. However, what really makes the song stand out is Harper’s passionate vocals and inspiring lyrics.
Harper sings, “I can change the world with my own two hands…I can make peace on earth with my own two hands.” In the end, Harper calls on the listener to stand up, and “use your own two hands.”
Harper literally shows us he can bring it, with “Bring the Funk” on the seventh track.
Harper truly succeeds, at his foray in funk, with “Brown Eyed Blues.” It’s not as heavy in the funk as “Bring the Funk,” and maybe that’s because “Brown Eyed Funk” just wouldn’t sound as cool. Still, “Brown Eyed Blues” is a song that will have you hooked and hitting the repeat button. The range of vocal expression that Harper is known for has never been more apparent.
At times Harper’s vocals and lyrics are so powerful and haunting it becomes difficult to describe. It’s just one of those things you have to experience, and once you have, you’re likely to be entranced by it.
“Amen Omen” and “When It’s Good” are just a couple examples when Harper displays this kind of power.
Yet, on “Diamonds,’ Harper doesn’t forget to rock out.
The album’s tenth song, “Temporary Remedy” shows that Harper still enjoys screaming along with some incendiary guitars. The next track, “So High So Low” continues with Harper’s harder side.
“Diamonds” ends with several gospel-inspired pieces that Harper crafts beautifully. It creates a mellow and reflective finish to a wonderful album.
Ben Harper has put together an album that, from start to finish, is absolutely amazing. “Diamonds on the Inside” embodies what rock ‘n’ roll is all about.