Even this far into each of their respective and expansive music careers, Olivia Newton-John and John Farnham are still surprising their fans. The end of 2016 sees them offer a personalised music gift; a collaborative Christmas album appropriately titled; Friends for Christmas. Together, the Australian icons and long-time friends have released over 40 studio albums collectively, with their latest effort focusing on the family values and cheer that surround such a joyous time of year.
The tracklisting highlights almost all of the go-to classic songs you might expect the record to feature, such as Meredith Willson’s timeless calmer; It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas and Baby It’s Cold Outside. It features a warming touch made increasingly listenable by Farnham’s moving and gentle demeanour. Olivia Newton-John delivers an equitable balance to the duet, offering an impeccable and deep singing consideration. The momentum matches the history for each of the chosen tracks, respecting the tempo of the original songs. Composed with a thoughtful integrity, the warmness and inviting ideas that come with the holidays have been immersed throughout the record. Select examples can be heard in track’s such as the Christmas staple Silent Night and the always cheery Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Showcasing a traditionalist musicality, the swinging big band sound is the main attraction on Friends For Christmas – bringing the laid back and joyous emotion needed for a festive retreat. Best of all, perhaps, is the poignant rendition of the timeless masterwork Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Olivia and Farnham meticulously reflect the Australian singing spirit in this take on a gem that’s been covered by many yet mastered by only a few. Powerful, intimate and hearty it contrastingly glorifies the calm and soothing sentiments – perfect for soundtracking the festive period.
As long as there are musician’s pushing the traditions of the holiday season with their decades of harnessed talent, we will have caring albums such like Friends for Christmas. The record is a friendly reminder that it’s the simple things that make you smile – regardless of your preferences and partialities. With little left to achieve, the pair has recorded a touching gift capable of adding that extra little bit of sentimentality for Christmas you never thought you needed.