Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Olivia Newton-John

  • Have You Never Been Mellow [MCA, 1975] D+
  • Olivia's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 [MCA, 1982] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Have You Never Been Mellow [MCA, 1975]
After checking out the competition--I've given up on Helen Reddy, Anne Murray repeats herself, and Loretta Lynn's latest is a bummer--I began to entertain heathenish thoughts about this MOR nemesis, whose mid-Atlantic accent inspired Tammy Wynette to found a country music association designed to exclude her. At least this woman sounds sexy, says I to meself, but Carola soon set me straight. "A geisha," she scoffed. "She makes her voice smaller than it really is just to please men." At which point I put away my heathenish thoughts and finished the dishes. D+

Olivia's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 [MCA, 1982]
With a kick in her pert little butt from John Travolta, the Melbourne chameleon has abandoned her conquest of Nashville for a funkier brand of perky, with seven more top-ten singles her reward, and she's sexier than Barbara Mandrell for damn sure. Any heterosexual man who can deny "Physical," with its detonating blonde bombshell switching off from "physical" to "animal" for the grand finale, needs his monkey-gland shot--to dismiss it as an aerobics song is brunette chauvinism, period. The rest you can pass on to your exercise teacher without permission from the Board of Health. B-