Diamond first came to the attention of UK record buyers as a third of Pd.D who had a number three hit with 'I Won't Let You Down' in 1982. It's rather ironic that his second appearance in the charts was with a song that showed he broke that promise big time.
There's no point in my beating around the bush with this so I'll say right upfront that I cannot abide this song. I didn't like it in 1984, and if anything I like it even less now. Why do I hate it so much? Well not primarily because of Diamond's insistence on randomly singing along to a melody that only he can hear and one which does not follow the simple synthesised plod of the music.
Neither because of the ghastly lyrics that are meant to portray some heartfelt confession but instead clunk like a seatbelt and sound like a drunk burbling to the barmaid at last orders (the bad grammar on "I've never loved no one as much as you" grates like sand in vaseline too). And not because of the general way the song so obviously models itself of Nilsson's arrangement of 'Without You', albeit by someone who has only read about that song second hand and hasn't actually heard it for themselves.
And it's not even because of the overall conceit and overbearing self centred, self pity that runs through the song as a whole which I admit passed me by in 1984 but which now throbs like a hammered thumb: Jim has obviously been horsing around and telling lies to his wife/girlfriend/lover and now she's dumped him because of it:
"I should have known better to lie to one as beautiful as you".
he whinges, but what do you mean Jim? Are you saying that it would be perfectly ok to lie to her if she was ugly? Surely a lie is a lie and you should know better than to lie to anybody? It goes on:
"I saw you walking by the other day.
I know that you saw me, you turned away and I was lost.
You see, I've never loved no one as much as you.
I've fooled around but tell me now just who is hurting who"?
Who is hurting who? What on earth is that meant to mean? Does he think she's ignoring him out of spite? Obviously he does, because he goes on:
"I cry, but tears don't seem to help me carry on".
Now there is no chance you'll come back home, got too much pride"
Again, the egotistical view that only her pride is keeping her from falling back into his arms is breathtaking in it's arrogant self delusion. Not once in the lyric does Jim say he's sorry, it's just one long stream of head in hands self pity and the only thing missing is the usual weak and last resort threat of the coward that he'll kill himself if she doesn't come back. Those supremely irritating "I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I's" on the chorus (which I DID hate in 1984) would be far more honestly expressed as "me me me me me me's" because that's all that Mr Diamond is thinking of here - just who on earth was falling for this rubbish back in 1984?
No, what raised and raises my hackles more than any of this catalogue of annoyances is the strange, grunting exclamation that Diamond makes at 3:08. I have no idea what he's trying to say or what emotion it's meant to convey, but if that's the way he usually carries on then no wonder she dumped him. Good on her I say; if she's as beautiful as he makes out then she can do better than a midget who looks like a spring onion and she's better off without.