Album review – The Soundtrack Of My Life (Deluxe version)
I often feel like this world has gone mad and I believe there are so many reasons to lose faith in humanity, these days. However, I have my very own natural mood-enhancing secret. Am I exaggerating when referring to Donny Osmond? I leave this to your judgement but I suppose everyone has a getaway and mine is turning back the clock. Donny and his family have been a significant part of my young life. I have bought all their records, then somehow lost interest as I was entering into adulthood. When I reached my forties, I felt the urge to get back to those sweet and innocent times and rediscovered the pleasure of listening to the Osmonds music. I have always favored Donny over his siblings, although I admit most of his early 70’s songs were quite honeyed. Once in a while, I like honey, don’t we all?
Maturity has improved Donny. With his latest CD “The soundtrack of my life“ (his 60th release!), Donny Osmond offers his audience a generous piece of sophisticated master cookery. His candy pop tunes have indeed turned into delicacies. His covers are top-notched tracks from his youth era. Capturing musical milestones in his life, the man has chosen key works of essential artists: Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Andy Williams, Diana Ross, Peter Gabriel, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Prince and more. He even talked Stevie Wonder into featuring a few harmonica notes on “My Cherie Amour“.
His clear-cut voice reveals all its amplitude and nuances, as well as the cozy softness of his vocals. Donny is emotionally involved and it shows. He is not just delivering a polished and riveting performance, he is infusing his flow, unveiling his soul.
Originally sung by Michael Jackson, “Ben“ was however composed for Donny Osmond but he was incidentally on tour with his brothers, so the song was offered to Michael Jackson instead. Donny renders a decent cover of this classic, although the melody was tailored for a high-pitched voice. Donny is taking it slow and mellow. Not as dramatic as Michael’s version but Donny remains quite bottled up on this one, although he did take liberties, throwing in a few grace notes here and there.
My top three covers are: “Long and winding road“, “Don’t give up“ and “Nothing compares 2 u”. This last song is mostly inspired by Prince’s original version, hence more of a gospel song than Sinead O’Connor’s. Peter Gabriel’s ballad is almost cloned, Donny is even replicating the phrasing, the occasionally wailing and raspy voice of Gabriel. Beautiful vocals and fresh interpretation on “Long and winding road”. Which makes me think of a funny story mentioned by Donny himself. In the 70’s, Paul McCartney, along with his young daughter, happened to ask Donny Osmond for an autograph. Years later, Donny asked McCartney if his recollection was accurate because it seemed so surreal to him. McCartney did not only corroborate but also emphasized that his autograph was one of the few he had kept.
Spoilsports will probably hate it but who cares? Donny Osmond’ charm is still working for me. If you think that his sugar-coated music is only causing addiction and leading to diabetes, then you certainly will despise this CD. But if, like me, you enjoy indulging in good ballads supplied by a velvety and caressing voice, then, you’re in for a smooth trip. I’m in!