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Album Review

"Physical" became such a monster hit — not just a hit, but a pop-culture phenomenon that was impossible to escape — that it became difficult to view its accompanying album as anything other than a conduit for the single. The thing was, Physical was a damn good record, in many ways one of Olivia Newton-John's very best. Picking up where Totally Hot and Xanadu left off, Physical skillfully balances catchy yet mellow dance cuts with immaculately crafted adult contemporary pop and ballads. The title track, of course, is the best example of the dance side, but "Landslide," "Make a Move on Me," and "Promise (Dolphin Song)" illustrate that Physical wasn't a one-hit record at all — if anything, they hold up better than the big hit. There is some filler here — none of her records were free from that curse — but it's well-made filler and helps make Physical one of the most enjoyable albums of her career.


Born: 26 September 1948 in Cambridge, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Olivia Newton-John skillfully made the transition from popular country-pop singer to popular mainstream soft rock singer, becoming one of the most successful vocalists of the '70s in the process. The transition itself wasn't much of a stretch -- her early-'70s hits "I Honestly Love You" and "Have You Never Been Mellow" were country only in the loosest sense -- yet the extent of her success in both fields was remarkable. As a country singer, her first five charting singles all went Top Ten in the...
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Physical, Olivia Newton-John
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