Olsen Brothers latest album features Cliff Richard on two of the songs; one written by Cliff and the other one by the brothers shortly after they won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000. It is called Respect, but do Jørgen and his younger brother Niels “Noller” Olsen deserve that this time?
With the two previous albums Songs and More Songs this is considered the third album from the Olsen Brothers where they give new life to some of their own favourite songs. People seem to overlook the fact that it is their fourth as Rockstalgi from 1987 was a similar album.
Whether Respect was their third or fourth then it natural that they might be running out of songs soon and though this in general is a good album then it is time to stop and get back to writing their own songs.
One of the songs on this album is their own; Look Up Look Down from their Walk Right Back album. This was the song Cliff Richard loved so much that he wanted to make a recording with them. It is a slightly updated version compared to the original that opened the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest held in Copenhagen. Cliff’s voice however is a bit weak next to Jørgen’s and as such they don’t quite fit each other in a duet. It is different with Livin’ Doll where Cliff just sings chorus. This is really a good version that truly brings new life to the song. It is true to the original, but they have added a bit of twist, which makes it sound new.
The same counts for a song like Baby I Need Your lovin’. It matches Jørgen Olsen’s voice perfectly and proves that despite being nearly 60, he still has one of the best pop voices in Denmark. This version also seems new and fresh though it is written 40 years ago. It comes across as one of the strongest songs on the album.
Some of the songs are a straightforward copy of the original while others have been changed a bit to make it up-to-date and fit their voices. Mamma and Pappas’s Monday Monday has lost its hippie style in favour of a more rock-ish version that may attract a younger audience than the original.
On most of the album they get away with some quite good versions, but…. They should have stayed away from the two Beatles songs Obladi Oblada and Strawberry Fields. Especially the first one where they are trying to bring Beatles and Bob Marley together. It might have worked in ’67, but now it simply just comes across as too much. It is Noller who sings Strawberry Fields and unfortunately he doesn’t quite have the voice for it. They have tried to compensate for that by using a voice machine, but it doesn’t change the fact that this version simply isn’t believable.
Jørgen is one of the best pop singers in Denmark which can be heard several places on the album, but he needs to learn to give Noller a bit more space. Harpo’s Moviestar is a bit to heavy for his voice. Ricky Nelson’s Garden Party is another example. Jørgen can simply not give the song the sorrow it needs to fit with the lyrics about the lost youth. Both of these songs would have fitted Noller’s more romantic voice better. They have come a good way by letting Noller sing Everything I Own. It matches his voice perfectly, but unfortunately then they have overproduced the chorus that Jørgen sings. Had Noller sung the whole song it might have been standing out as one of the stronger ones.
It general it is a good album which is worth buying, but it is not perfect.