BEST OF OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN
Review by Ed Nguyen
Audio: English PCM
Video: Color, full-frame
Length: 17 minutes
Release Date: March 30, 2004
get physical, physical, I wanna get physical..."
remember Olivia Newton-John? She
started out in the 1970's as a sweet and pretty country music star, winning a
handful of Grammies along the way. For
many, she was the very personification of the girl-next-door.
However, towards the end of the decade, particularly after starring in
the smash hit film Grease, she underwent a sultry image transformation from an innocent
Sandra Dee type into a sexy pop star. Many
of her biggest hit songs came during this latter period of her career.
brings us to this disc, the latest addition to the 20th-Century Masters DVD
Collection. This series offers a
partial "best-of" compilation of any particular singer or band's music
videos. Other acts also available
in this Universal music series include KISS, Kool & the Gang, and Donna
Summer. It's obviously a very
seventies-oriented collection. Anyway,
for this disc, five of Olivia Newton-John's later songs have been selected.
Three of the songs come from the album Totally
Hot (1978), with one from Physical
(1981), and one from her Greatest Hits
Vol. 2 compilation (1982).
is a list of the songs/music videos:
Physical - Shot on video tape, this
music video looks rather corny (and even homoerotic) today, but the song itself
is as good as ever. Once, Physical
even held the record for the most consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboards
singles chart. This was
coincidentally Olivia Newton-John's biggest smash hit.
The video is set in a fitness club, with Olivia Newton-John as a health
instructor whipping some weight-challenged fellows into perfectly chiseled
A Little More Love - This track is
essentially a compilation of studio shots of Olivia Newton-John singing the song
with scenes from the photo shoot for her Totally Hot album. The
song is fantastic and really shows off Newton-John's vocal range, plus she still
has that girl-next-door quality about her in this video.
Deeper Than the Night - This track
from the Totally Hot album follows the
same visual style as the previous track; it mixes studio shots with shots from
the album cover photo shoot. The
song is catchy with a slight country rock twang to it.
Heart Attack - A new song recorded for
Greatest Hits Vol. 2, it has
synthesized eighties-pop written all over it.
The music video was shot on video tape and has Olivia Newton-John in that
weird, big-hair fashion that was such a fad back then. On the other hand, the video also features the negligee-clad
chanteuse walking around, napping on a bed, and being locked in a cage, so it
isn't altogether so bad after all.
Totally Hot - The title track to the Totally
Hot album, this video features Olivia Newton-John wandering around a city in
a leather jacket and hot-pants. From
the looks of it, she could have just stepped off the set from the Grease finale, and in fact, this video obviously plays to that
image. It ends with the singer in a
sizzling dance duet. The song is
infectiously catchy in a disco-lite sort of way and was the single that, upon
its original release, signaled a new direction for the singer's music.
that's it - five early music videos to a selection of Olivia Newton-John's top
hits. It's not much, and at barely
seventeen minutes, this EP-length DVD will be over before you can blink.
Still, if you're a fan of this wonderful Aussie pop singer, do give the
disc a spin!
videos used to be photographed on video tape back in the early days of the
format. Frankly, those music videos
typically look rather cheesy now, not to mention that video tape always seems to
appear ghostly in transfers to the DVD format. Fortunately, only Physical
and Heart Attack were photographed on
video tape, with the remaining songs coming from grainy and occasionally dusty
film stock. The picture quality is
okay but nothing spectacular; then again, who really cares how it looks?
This is a music-DVD, and that is where the DVD really excels.
audio is in a PCM 48Hz, 24-bit format. Don't
let that fool you, though, because at any volume greater than minimal, this DVD
will blow out your eardrums. Fortunately,
the sound is well-balanced so the bass isn't overwhelming and the subwoofer
doesn't decide to stomp all over on your guts.
That being said, the best way to listen to this DVD is to place the
amp/receiver on a very low volume setting and then dial up to personal comfort.
The sound, needless to say, is quite phenomenal and really rocks, as
should be expected for any audio-DVD.
there's nothing here. You do get
the option of listening to all the videos back to back or separately, though.