Olivia Newton-John – Just The Two Of Us: The Duets Collection (Vol. 1)

Primary Wave Music

Release Date: May 5th 2023

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Olivia Newton-John– Just The Two Of Us: The Duets Collection (Vol. 1) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Suddenly (featuring Cliff Richard)
  2. Jolene (featuring Dolly Parton)
  3. Act of Faith (featuring Michael McDonald)
  4. Window In The Wall (featuring Chloe Lattanzi)
  5. Take A Chance (featuring John Travolta)
  6. Put Your Head On My Shoulder (featuring Paul Anka)
  7. Face To Face (featuring Barry Gibb)
  8. I Honestly Love You (featuring Jim Brickman)
  9. The Best Of Me (featuring David Foster)
  10. True To Yourself (featuring Vanessa Amorosi)
  11. Lost Inside Your Heart (featuring Jon Secada)
  12. I’ll Come Runnin’ (featuring Tina Arena)
  13. Never Far Away (featuring Richard Marx)
  14. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart (featuring Kelly Lang)
  15. Stone In My Pocket (featuring Amy Sky & Beth Nielsen Chapman)
  16. Love Is A Gift (featuring Delta Goodrem)
  17. Hopelessly Devoted To You (Live) (featuring Mariah Carey)

Olivia Newton-John passed away in August 2022 from breast cancer. An Australian icon and legend that was much loved and respected around the world by her fans and peers and even the casual fan like myself; you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t like Olivia as a singer, as a song-writer and as a person. I will be blogging about Olivia this year or next year when I speak about her influence over all of music across all time; but even now as I write this ‘review’, it’s somewhat difficult for me. Not because I’m an avid fan and I’m bawling my eyes out every time I think about Olivia and her music. No, not by any means. But perhaps it’s because Olivia’s death reminds us about mortality and the impending issue that we all have to face. Death, the end, and what’s next. No, this won’t be a philosophical or religious or spiritual blog piece. But I do want to say that one day, all of our favourite musicians and actors and heroes and role models…well, they’ll all pass away. It’ll be a sad, sad, day when people like John Farnham, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Cliff Richard, Robert DeNiro, Elton John, Marcia Hines, Mick Jagger, David Attenborough, Michael Parkinson, William Shatner, Michael Douglas, Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton and Stevie Wonder all pass away. People will mourn, and the world won’t ever be the same again. it’s the same with Olivia Newton-John; I think the world was just in shock, probably the most shock since Robin Williams in 2014. And so, this album- this duets album and this compilation album… well, it’s a celebration of life and of a well-lived career. But the album feels hollow and empty. Even though it’s technically and objectively brilliant- there’s a bittersweet feeling that comes along with listening to Just The Two Of Us: The Duets Collection (Vol. 1).

But make no mistake, this album is a near-flawless masterpiece. Even if you aren’t a fan of Olivia; you’d be blind Freddy not to notice the time and painstaking effort and sheer determination and willpower to get this project out to the masses. There are hundred and guest vocals here, such as Delta Goodrem, Mariah Carey, Tina Arena, Richard Marx, Jim Brickman, David Foster, Vanessa Amorosi, John Travolta, Dolly Parton, Barry Gibb, Cliff Richard- even Olivia’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi. And though some of these songs were recorded way back in the day and some were newly recorded last year; the fact that all of these artists and people loved Olivia and were in one sense honouring her and thanking her for her gift of music through these songs… well, it makes for one emotional and tear-jerking album- probably the most personal and honest we’ll hear this year. It’s a weird feeling, listening to Olivia’s songs, knowing that she’s not around anymore and that she’s not alive, and that she’ll never be alive in this world forevermore. It’s a weird feeling that I can’t put my finger on (a different feeling to listening to past icons like Queen, The Beatles, Michael Jackson etc); and Olivia’s music reminds us that sometimes a trailblazer in music comes along to smash away all preconceptions and to break records. Olivia was that person, and no doubt, there will be more to come.

To tell you the honest truth, I have probably only listened to Just The Two Of Us: The Duets Collection (Vol. 1) only once straight through. Am I in a position to actually ‘review’ this album? Probably not. But the fact still remains. Olivia Newton-John is an Australian legend, and her body of work speaks for itself. And I guarantee it, one listen to these songs and a deep dive into her discography, and you’ll agree too. I’m presuming that this will be the last album from Olivia (although more could posthumously arrive…); and once we immerse ourselves heavily in the powerful and emotional and honest music that Olivia has recorded- let’s listen to it again. Greatness is greatness is greatness. And Olivia’s music is testament to this fact. How about you all, everyone? Did listening to this release bring a tear to your eye? Who are your favourite heroes that you are dreading the day of when they pass away?

5 songs to listen to: Jolene, Window In The Wall, The Best Of Me, Never Far Away, Love Is A Gift

Score: 5/5

RIYL: John Farnham, Tina Arena, Guy Sebastian, Delta Goodrem, Marcia Hines, Richad Marx, Kylie Minogue, Mariah Carey, Jimmy Barnes, Vanessa Amorosi

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