Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

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Review: Boney M – Diamonds

3 min read

I love my job as a music reviewer. I love the opportunities I get to discuss records that mean something to me. I love interviewing artists, both established and upcoming. But perhaps most of all, I love the fact that when people ask me how I spent my Easter Saturday I can sincerely answer “by listening to almost four straight hours of Boney M.” I’m living the dream, make no mistake.

Boney M - DiamondsTo call Diamonds, the three disc Boney M career retrospective that so wholly dominated my Saturday a massive release is a bit of an understatement: it’s the Sistine Chapel of 80’s disco retrospectives. The work kicks off with Baby Do You Wanna Bump, a track that has been kicking around the planet Earth for four decades. It’s impossible to deny the fact that the tune is showing its age; halfway through I expected it to start cracking dad jokes, or asking me where it could score a doobie.

But despite how dated so much of Boney M’s music sounds, it’s impossible not to love it. Whether I’m only typing those words because so much Boney M has given me an odd form of Stockholm Syndrome, I’m not sure, but the facts remain the same: though at times listening to Diamonds felt like an incredibly glitzy form of water torture, on the whole, I recommend the experience, if only because it leaves you a changed human being by its conclusion.

Diamonds gives Boney M fans everything they could ever ask for: hit singles like Daddy Cool, Rasputin and Brown Girl In the Ring are here, of course, but so are lesser known gems like El Lute and I See A Boat On A River. There are covers, most notably of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry, but also a compacted version of Iron Butterfly’s Gadda-Da-Vida.

There are remixes too, some more successful than others. After all, the task of contemporizing a song like Daddy Cool is akin to trying to turn your dad’s flared jeans into a pair of skinny hipster denims; you might be largely successful, but the stitching is always going to show.

Really, I should have found myself hating Diamonds. Boney M aren’t exactly the most diverse band in the world, and by an hour in all that slap bass and bizarre lyrics were starting to blend into one, sloppy whole; the musical equivalent of a pile of sweaty disco clothes, deposited by an exhausted John Travolta look-alike at two in the morning after a particularly intense Saturday Night Fever-esque dance binge.

But I didn’t hate Diamonds. I didn’t hate Diamonds at all. Indeed, I almost loved it: I loved it for its cheesiness; for its madcap, demented upbeat feel. I loved every single one-note, repetitive tune, from the unbelievably kitsch Rivers of Babylon to the demented Bang Bang Lulu. No part of me weeps for my lost Easter Saturday: I wouldn’t trade in the hours I spent listening to the work for a moment.

All in all Diamonds is a determinedly thorough, unapologetically epic release: a shimmering, towering tribute to humanity’s obsession with glitzy pop and the endless fashion opportunities provided by corduroy.