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Product: Audio CD
Title: Warm and Tender
Label: Geffen Special Prod.
Artist: Olivia Newton-John
Rating: 1/5
Customer rating - 1 out of 5
Snoozefest 1989


I admire Olivia for trying something different. However it must be said that the experience of falling pregnant and giving birth must have fried poor Liv's brains a bit if she ever thought an album of kid's lullabies would give her a massive chart hit.
Whatever small momentum her previous rock/pop epic 'The Rumour' gave her was completely thwarted by this dull, banal release. There are a couple of highlights, mainly the beautiful piano ballad 'The Flower That Shattered The Stone', Olivia's uplifting cover of 'Reach Out For Me' which should have been a big adult/contemporary hit, and her slow jazz / orchestral version of 'The Way You Look Tonight'. The title track is also quite lovely, and is the most 'pop' song on the album. Unfortunately, the overall effect of 'Warm And Tender' is horribly Disney.
In 1989 Olivia still had one of the best voices in pop music (and, for that matter, still does). Good intentions aside, it is embarrassing to hear her reduced to the status of a watery Barbra Streisand. Olivia's previous records were innovative and exciting, but this is one you can easily skip.
It gets one star simply because Olivia sounds divine as always.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Bach - Matthäus-Passion / Prégardien, Goerne, C. Schäfer, Röschmann, Fink, von Magnus, Schade, M. Schäfer, Henschel, Widmer, Harnoncourt [with Enhanced CD-ROM]
Label: Elektra
Artist: Dietrich Henschel, Michael Schade, Marcus Schäfer, Elisabeth von Magnus
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
Missing the mark, and rushing to do so


The "enhanced CD" part of this recording ironically underscores the problem with the performance. Look at the score, by all means! There, in red ink, is Bach's gripping engagement with this story of stories: this is not only music, it is a total intellectual, emotional and spiritual response to the meaning of the text that is set. To mis-interpret the obvious musical gestures that Bach uses to reinforce that meaning does both him and the listener a profound disservice. No one wants Mengelberg back - but can we at least go with what's on the page?
For example: when Bach sets the legato, tortuous threnody of "So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen" into motion, then shatters it with "Lasst ihn, haltet, bindet nicht!" how can the choir sound so languid and unconnected? Nor do the crowd's brutal shouts of "Barrabam" and "Lass ihn kreuzigen" have any real conviction. Again and again, the choir seems to be "just singing" - and their lack of connection with Bach's obvious dramatic intentions leaves the work half performed.
All of this is by way of contrast to the magnificent and convicted solo singing, especially that of Matthias Goerne, whose Jesus rings with vivid, masculine life. Simon Heighes' review hits the high (and lesser) points on the other soloists as well - many of these arias are extraordinarily well sung.
... However, it is in the area of tempo that I find Harnoncourt really adrift. The tempos are absurdly fast in places where the music cries for breath and breadth. This reaches unfortunate levels at the cross itself, with the sublime alto aria, "Sehet Jesus hat die Hand," moving so quickly that neither oboes nor choir can possibly sound their parts adequately. And the tempo of the fabulous bass aria, "Mache dich mein Herze rein" turns it into a jolly, oversung ditty - totally missing the mixture of resignation, joy and bitter pain conveyed by the major key, compound meter and rich scoring.
All these criticisms come together at what ought to the emotional climax of the piece, the penultimate "Nun ist der Herr zur Ruh gebracht", in which each soloist offers Jesus their personal farewell. The solos are fabulous - tender and resolute - but the choir flips it off: "Yeah, yeah, good night already." I don't know what Harnoncourt was thinking, but it's quite clear that Bach had something much more profound in mind.
All this begs the old question: to what extent can strictly historical understandings of performance practice dictate interpretation? The answer all to often these days is "totally" - and Bach's masterpiece suffers for it. Three stars for the soloists (especially Goerne) and the enhanced CD, but look elsewhere for the depths this work demands.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Stripped
Label: RCA
Artist: Christina Aguilera
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Don't Let Her Style Fool You


Many people have been complaining about Christina's fashion sense, (I mean I don't like her style either), but fashion has nothing to do with her singing talent. This is one of the few album's I own, where I don't have to skip any of the songs.
1. Stripped Intro - 9/10 Features people including Fred Durst at the begining talking about her, then she starts to sing. It is short but a very good intro.
2. Can't Hold Us Down - 9.5/10 Would have given it 10, but there are other tracks I like a little better. Lil' Kim is featured in this track. It is very catchy.
3. Walk Away - 10/10 This is about smeone who can't walk away from a bad relationship, it's powerful and moving. The chorus is great.
4. Fighter - 10/10 Christina's third single is basicly the second part of "walk away". Where after walking away from the relationship, she thanks the guy for making her stronger. This is one of my favorites.
5. Primer Amar Interlude - 9/10 Although I can't understand everything she says in this interlude, (because it's spoken in spanish) it's still good.
6. Infatuation- 9.5/10 Very catchy, this should probably become one of her singles.
7. Loves Embrace Interlude - 9/10 A perfect interlude to get us into the next song.
8. Loving Me 4 Me - 9.8/10 Pretty much perfect, it is a beautiful song about loving someone for who they really are. Great melody.
9. Impossible - 9.2/10 I think the reason I don't like this as much as others is because their are not as many lryics, and pure emotion as there are in other songs, don't get me wrong I still love it, and think it's an amazing song. Sung beautifully by Christina. Alica Keys worke on this song.
10. Underappreciated - 9.1/10 Once again this song is catchy. My favorite part is the chorus.
11. Beautiful - 9.8/10 A beautiful song. Her second single. I actually like this song more and more, everytime I listen to it.
12. Make Over - 9.5/10 This song has more of a rock vibe. And it's a great song because of it.
13. Cruz - 9.5/10 Another beautiful Christina song, Even though it's got short chorus, it is still a great one.
14. Soar - 10/10 One of my favorites, a powerful piece about beinging who you really are.
15. Get Mine. Get Yours - 9.8 Great beat, and catchy chorus, Although, the song talks about wanting to just have casual sex, and no real relationship, which may bother some people.
16. Dirrty- 10/10 Christina's first single, is still as great as it was the first time I heard it.
17. Stripped part 2- 9/10 She continues from where she felt off in Stripped intro. Short, but again good.
18. The Voice Within - 9.5 Another powerful song, she sings it well!
19. I'm Ok - 9.8/10 This is about her father, it was recorded with Christina lying on her back, on the floor, in just one take. It's wonderful.
20. Keep on Singing My Song - 9.5 A great track to end the album with. I hope Christina does continue to sing her songs.
Even if you don't really like Christina as a person, you should get this, every track is incredible.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Don't Bore Us Get to the Chorus : Roxette's Greatest Hits
Label: EMI Int'l
Artist: Roxette
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
A collection-item for Baywatch-fans !


Also for Baywatch-fans this CD from Roxette is a worth recommendation to their collection. The CD contains the smashing hit "The look", that were used for the Baywatch-episode "The cretin of the shallows" (1989 / season 1). While hearing this song, you'll remember a young guy falling in love with Shauni (Erika Eleniak) on the beach.

If you are interested in songs that featured on Baywatch, you can buy here on Amazon.com the Book: "Baywatch - Rescued from Prime Time". This book contains all credits from songs/artists (like Roxette), that you can buy here on Amazon.com

The soundquality of this CD is excellent.