REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/21/2009
Olivia Newton-John’s Christmas Wish was released in Australia in 2007 and migrated to the United States courtesy of Target stores a year later. The year 2009 finds it being released into the American mainstream.
Now, about forty years into her career, Olivia Newton John is just who she is. She has been a pop diva who has sold tens of millions of albums worldwide, played the female lead in Grease -- which has proven to be one of the eternal musicals of American cinema -- and built a loyal and devoted fan base.
Christmas Wish is a gentle holiday album and fits her style well. Her angelic soprano voice may not have the power of her ‘70s and ‘80s pop heyday, but still is more than adequate and has retained it tone and clarity despite the passage of time.
The album was well-produced by Canadian songstress/actress Amy Sky, who has worked with Newton-John in the past. Sky has brought a vision to the release by connecting the twelve complete tracks with short musical interludes comprised of traditional holiday pieces, which greatly enhanced the albums flow.
The material is a combination of well-known holiday songs and original compositions. There is nothing wrong with hymns such as “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “We Three Kings,” and Newton-John’s duet with Jann Arden on “Silent Night,” but they are just the lead in for the original songs, which form the heart and soul of the release.
“Mother’s Christmas Wish” is solemn and tender and includes a duet with Jim Brickman. “Every Times It Snows” is another duet, this time with Jon Secuda, and is a Christmas tearjerker. “Christmas On The Radio” may be the best song on the album. It is upbeat and perfect radio fare.
Olivia Newton-John has produced a mellow, respectful, soothing -- and in many ways traditional -- holiday album even with the original material included. Christmas Wish contains a lot of enjoyable music and is a fine addition to anyone’s Christmas catalogue.