Extreme Makeover: Rubin Edition

“‘I am,’ I said, to no one there, and no one heard at all, not even the chair,” is a typically opaque lyric. [Neil] Diamond’s new album, “12 Songs,” which was produced by Rick Rubin, exhibits both his chivalrous approach to romance and his awkwardly phrased enthusiasms, qualities that have been evident since the start of his forty-five-year career. Happily, Rubin reins in Diamond’s floridity more than any other producer he has worked with since the sixties, highlighting the weird mixture of guilelessness and gravitas at the center of his work.”
This week’s New Yorker music feature, excerpted above, focuses on Neil Diamond and the renaissance of cool that he is sure to experience as a result of his collaboration with producer Rick Rubin. The effect of the Rubin touch is nothing new. Rubin has managed to polish dull, timeworn careers like those of Diamond, Johnny Cash and Tom Petty to reveal a surface of previously unknown potential that also manages to repel dust and gleams like nobody’s business.

Rubin’s producing is akin to having a life coach who recognizes the skills you have and the skills you didn’t even know you had and has you apply them in the perfect way for optimum living potential. Which is why I smell a tv show…ummmmm…Extreme Makeover: Rick Rubin Edition?! Are you old and unsatisfied with the output of your life? Rick will work to find you a collaborator, friend and life partner you never would have considered in the past to create a fusion the world has never known the likes of. The Run DMC to your Aerosmith, perhaps. Walk this way, toward a new you.

Young and popular but looking for a way to become even more young and popular? The Justin Timberlake (new album dropping in ’06) approach could be considered. Sure you’ll be able to showcase your natural talent and charm, but Rick will undoubtedly sprinkle his MSG Magic on you and enhance your flava, too.

Side note, I didn’t realize that RR was the music supervisor for Less Than Zero, but I will no longer feel embarrassed for loving the Bangles’ version of “Hazy Shade of Winter”. It all makes so much sense now and I will no longer just think of that song as an anthem for Andrew McCarthy’s miscreant cocaine use. It has levels, people.

If only we all had our own pocket sized Rick Rubin to guide us through life, we would be so much more complex and lushly orchestrated. Or stripped naked, beating an upside down garbage can in our living room. But Rick Rubin is able to tell which method is right for you, and that’s something maybe we can’t determine for ourselves.
Rick Rubin

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  1. Frankly, the idea of a pocket-sized Rick Rubin has been terrifying me for the better part of this last weekend.

    • Natasha
    • January 25th, 2006

    I love Rick Rubin! i find it strange to have a favorite producer, but he is mine. everything he touches I love. Musically. I’m sure he physically touches a lot of things that I am ambivalent about. He even made Lenny Kravitz sound not cheesy when he produced that song he did with Mick Jagger.

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