Another batch of reviews for Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, with thanks again to Carlos Lopez for many of these links:
Jim Fusilli, The Wall Street Journal:
At its best moments, the album finds Ms. Hatfield paying respect, but not fealty, to Ms. Newton-John’s familiar versions. Its best cuts—including “Dancin’ ’Round and ’Round” and “A Little More Love,” both from “Totally Hot”—call to mind not the originator, but the bright side of Ms. Hatfield, thus liberating the recording from the glum responsibilities of a nostalgia exercise.
Maura Johnston, Rolling Stone:
Pop supernova Olivia Newton-John and alt-pop heroine Juliana Hatfield both possess winsome sopranos, and this delightful album filters Newton-John's biggest hits through Hatfield's slightly grungier sensibility. Hatfield's obvious affinity for the source material is evident throughout, with her coy take on the late-Seventies smash "A Little More Love" and her heartfelt version of the Grease showstopper "Hopelessly Devoted to You" being particular highlights.
Robert Peacock, The Wee Review:
This album’s niche, then, but not pure gimmick. You might need to love both women to truly love this album, but you wouldn’t be disappointed if you were a fan of either, or even a curious bystander. Respect to Hatfield for being so hopelessly devoted to Newton-John and full marks for the cover art which does a good job of capturing the vibe.
Grant Walters, Albumism (5/5):
If you’re a fan of Newton-John’s or Hatfield’s, there are plenty of reasons you’ll want to put this record on and bask in its thoughtfulness. If you’re not familiar with either but appreciate an intuitive, talented artist giving voice to a batch of compelling compositions, this album’s for you too.
Jeff Rogers, saukvalley.com:
That new take on old songs works best where you might least expect it. Hatfield’s version of “Physical” is fun, where the original was kind of annoying. A reworking of “Xanadu” dials down the gloss just enough to let the subtle, fuzzy guitar give the undeniable earworm of a song an interesting twist. Same with “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “A Little More Love.”
Hyperbolium, No Depression:
Hatfield has internalized these songs and their artist in a thousand bedroom and car singalongs, and filters them through the original artistry they helped inspire. The contentment of “Have You Never Been Mellow” retains its optimistic mid-70s introspection while being deepened by Hatfield’s additional decades of life experience, and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” could just as easily be Hatfield singing about Newton-John as it was Sandy singing about Danny. This is a treat for fans of both Newton-John and Hatfield, and the only thing missing are some Grease photo cards to stick inside your locker.
Ian Rushbury, Under The Radar:
There's a great mix of reverence and alt-rock on this record, which moves Sings Olivia Newton-John from an idea that was better in planning than in practice onto a different level. About two or three songs into the album, you'll forget that it's a "concept" album and just enjoy it for what it is—a really strong collection of songs that just happen to come from an unlikely source. Now all we have to do is wait for the Olivia Newton John Sings Juliana Hatfield album.