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A Few Best Men (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Remixes)

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Album Review

Olivia Newton John's scene-stealing turn as a coke-snorting mother of the bride in 2012's Aussie comedy A Few Best Men came as something of a shock, considering she'd spent the decade prior seemingly content to drift into late middle age with a string of easy listening covers, duets, and spiritual albums. This unexpected wild streak appears to have carried over to its official soundtrack, with the 63-year-old reinventing herself as something of a dance diva on 14 club-friendly renditions of classic '60s and '70s songs heavily featured in the Stephan Elliott-directed film about a young groom (Xavier Samuel) traveling to the Blue Mountains with his three best friends. This Cher-like change in direction works wonders on the classy, progressive, electro cover of the Seekers' "Georgy Girl," her slinky R&B treatment of the Cowsills' "The Rain, The Park & Other Things," and the Goldfrapp-esque electro-glam interpretation of Suzi Quatro's "Devil Gate Drive," while the filtered house adaptation of Jack Jones' "The Love Boat" theme and original composition "Weightless" recall the unashamedly campy pop of her "Physical" heyday. But there are occasions when the impressive array of remixers gets it hopelessly wrong, whether it's Chew Fu's HI-NRG trance-pop take on the Monkees' "Daydream Believer," Archie's heavily Auto-Tuned drum‘n'bass reworking of Melanie's "Brand New Key," or Pablo Calamari's glitchy techno edit of the Mixtures' "The Push Bike Song," all of which try far too hard to propel the vintage material into the 21st century. The six contributions from the rest of the cast (credited here as "the Wedding Band") are no more enjoyable, turning the Rascals' "A Beautiful Morning" and Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight" into novelty reggae numbers, while one of the actors seems to think he's in a different movie altogether, judging by the pirate-esque sea shanty vocals on Mental as Anything's "The Nips Are Getting Bigger" and Skyhooks' "Living in the 70s." A curious affair then, and it's certainly not without merit, but Newton-John would have perhaps been better off saving the best songs for a new studio album rather than frittering them away on a mixed bag of a soundtrack which makes the fatal mistake of being more fun to record than to listen to. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi


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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