'Have You Never Been Mellow'
Title: “Have You Never Been Mellow”
Artist: Olivia Newton-John
Release date: 1995
Favorite track: “And in the Morning'
Olivia Newton-John is the therapist you never knew you needed in “Have You Never Been Mellow.”
The English and Australian singer didn’t write the title track (John Farrar did), but she did sing the wise lyrics in the most soothing manner. It’s an ideal name for the album, because the songs are as mellow as they come. Farrar wrote and co-wrote many songs in Olivia’s career.
With titles such as “Life Stream,” “It’s So Easy” and “Water Under the Bridge,” it’s clear this album is an excellent choice for a low-key kinda day.
Olivia didn’t write the music, but it’s obvious her airy vocals and soft nature are what made her so popular.
Like many people my age, I was introduced to Olivia through the song and album “Physical” and the movie “Grease.” She was so engaging — and instantly iconic — in both.
It’s hard not to love her.
Have you never been mellow?
Have you never tried to find a comfort from inside you?
Have you never been happy just to hear your song?
Have you never let someone else be strong?
— “Have You Never Been Mellow”
If you’ve never held your tongue, took a deep breath or any other calming cliché, Olivia thinks you should try it. I’d heed her advice.
Olivia’s vocals are always subtle, but still versatile. She easily switches from folk-rock to country-rock in “Loving Arms” and “Life Stream.” I like how she set the tone for many female singer-songwriters to come.
“Goodbye Again” is one of my favorites on the record, because Olivia makes farewell sound really lovely.
I prefer “I Never Did Sing You a Love Song,” but only because songs about songs are a guilty pleasure. Wings’ “Silly Love Songs” is a favorite. Also, Olivia experiments a little more with vocal runs in that one, and it gives it a soft jazz flair. She plays with a higher register choral sound in “And in the Morning.”
“Water Under the Bridge” is a welcome mid-tempo song with more storytelling lyrics than the others. This, “Follow Me” and “It’s So Easy” are the ideal tracks for those who love country and folk music. They’re catchy with a western sound.
“The Air That I Breathe” is as breathy as its title. Olivia combines a pop style of verse with a vocally challenging chorus. It reminds me of a Jewel song. “Please Mr. Please” has the same radio-worthy pop vibe. The music twinkles like in many 1980s and early ‘90s pop music.
The photo of Olivia looking naturally beautiful and casual on the cover fits the soothing vibe of the record. It’s subtle and calm, much like the music.