AltSounds Official Seal Of Approval, Tastemaker Recommended

Donny & Marie – Donny & Marie [Album]

Donny & Marie – Donny & Marie [Album]

Decca Records

Review 4875 Views
Last Edited by: Chris MUG5 Maguire February 2nd, 2010.

There are basically two types of people likely to buy a Donny Osmond album: your mum, and those ironic hipsters who think that uncool stuff is cool. Still, having seen Donny strutting his stuff with Weird Al Yankovic, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Within a couple of minutes, I knew that I was going to have a problem. The opening track 'A Beautiful Life,' (as well as, later, 'The Good Life') is a country rock number with two penniless lovers singing to each other about how they may be broke but as long as they’ve got each other, they’re happy. Now this is fine in theory… but the two people singing about just needing each other are brother and sister, which introduces a whole new level of creepy to an otherwise reasonably unremarkable track. The other issue, meanwhile is having two rich people declare that “Hey! You don’t need money! It’s all good!” whilst we are in the depths of a substantial economic depression. I don’t know about you, but that sort of crassness just leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

Moving on, we find the Osmonds paying tribute to the town where they have a regular gig at the MGM Grand Hotel. There’s the obligatory mention of Elvis (but, sadly, no mention of CSI) and the creepiness factor works its way back in when you realise that this is a song about a couple eloping ("Your momma's gonna cry and your daddy might be mad but only ‘til he figures out we saved them all that cash"). Still, it’s a stomping little pop rock number filled with brass and swagger and diverting enough that if you can get past the undertones, it’s enjoyable enough in its own dubious way.

In fact, there’s a surprising number of rockier tracks available here. Sure, it’s the kind of soft, middle-of-the-road rock that Heart FM plays when it’s feeling “daring” and, no, none of it is anywhere near as rocking as 'Crazy Horses' but at least there are moments that they’re not playing it 100% safe. 'I Have You To Thank' for example, sounds a lot like modern-era Take That (unsurprisingly since Gary Barlow has written a number of songs for Donny in the past), features Richie Sambora on guitar and is actually (whisper it) quite good.

But then we get to the wasteland that are the Ballads. 'You Can Do Anything' wouldn’t sound out of place over the end credits of a Disney cartoon. 'My Reflection' is almost a West End musical monologue. 'The Best of Me' brought back unwanted flashbacks of 80’s music videos, full of big hair, clenched fists and gritted teeth and some guy walking in slow motion across a beach. 'Touch' meanwhile was so boring that I tuned out after about 30 seconds and started browsing the web instead until it finished. Having said that, 'One Last Goodbye' was a Goo Goo Dolls-esque number that actually made a good impression and was a guilty pleasure to listen to.

However, any goodwill directed to Donnie and Marie is instantly obliterated a few minutes later when they cover All-4-1’s “classic” single, 'I Swear.' In all fairness, I loathed the original but this version just amps the blandness all the way up to 11 and then refuses it to turn it down. Marie’s cover of Brenda Russell’s 'We Will Find A Way' lack’s Brenda’s smoky vocals which means that the song itself just seems stripped of passion and glossed over with technical ability instead.

Should you buy this? Well, there are a couple of good tracks on here but not enough to warrant buying a whole album. Mind you, Mother’s Day is just around the corner so you could always get her this and sneak in a couple of listens to the good stuff when no one’s looking…..

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