Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2019 March 04 • Monday

Mark Barkan and Ritchie Adams's music from the Olivia Newton-John movie Toomorrow is our 559th Soundtrack of the Week.

The first song, “You’re My Baby Now”, is a sunshine pop masterpiece and one of my favorite songs. Olivia Newton-John shows up about two minutes into it to add support and be part of a call and response section.

“Takin’ Our Own Sweet Time” starts out as a tough organ funk jazz rocker but then these outer space synths grab the wheel and when the vocals come in they drive the whole thing off a sunshine pop cliff. It’s another completely awesome song.

Then it’s lounge time for the “Toomorrow” instrumental with smooth horns, twinkling electric keyboards, roving electric bass and of course a laidback groovy beat.

Things get just a touch acid rocky with the relatively aggressive “Let’s Move On”. It’s a decent number but not as special or as interesting as the others. There’s an instrumental (with wordless chorus) version of it later that I like better.

This is followed by another instrumental, “Walkin’ on Air”, which reminded me a bit of Lesley Gore’s “Consolation Prize”.

Olivia Newton-John and the male vocalist duet on “If You Can’t Be Hurt, You Can’t Be Happy”, an inspirational song whose title pretty much gives you all the information in it. Some sick drumming and keyboard playing, though.

After that comes the vocal version of “Toomorrow”: “Toomorrow is the answer that I will give / If you ask me where do I live / Where do I stay”. It’s a soft rock/pop/lounge sort of song and Olivia Newton-John gets a good chunk of it, much to the listener’s benefit.

“Look at the rainbow / Look at the moon glow / Look at the clouds roll by / Baby just you and I / Walkin’ on air” is how the vocal version of “Walkin’ on Air” starts and since Olivia Newton-John sounds so good singing it, I’m not going to question the probability of being able to look at a rainbow, the moon and clouds all at the same time. It’s kind of crazy but it just might work.

A change of tone is the first thing you’re likely to notice about the next track, “Spaceport”. The change in tone comes with a change of composers as well, as this outer-space secret agenty cue that sounds somewhere in between Lalo Schifrin and John Barry is brought to you by Hugo Montenegro. It’s excellent.

“Happiness Valley” brings us back to sunshine pop but this time in a minor key and with a quality reminiscent of the Velvet Underground. Though more restrained than the other songs I love here, this one is great too.

Finally, there’s “Goin’ Back”, an Olivia Newton-John feature with a country feel to it though there’s still that synth in there. It’s a bittersweet song about nostalgia and really nice.