Daniel O'Donnell

Songs from the Movies (And More)

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Despite his ability to make Cliff Richard appear cutting edge, Ireland's most old-fashioned pop star, Daniel O'Donnell, is still effortlessly racking up the kind of chart stats that most of the acts who regard him as a laughingstock could only dream about. Incredibly, the number seven peak of Songs from the Movies (And More) means he has now entered the U.K. Top 75 with a new album every year for the last 25 years. It's an even more remarkable feat considering that his sound hasn't changed one iota since 1988's From the Heart. Still struggling to acknowledge the fact that music has moved on since 1960, his follow-up to 2011's Moon Over Ireland is yet another collection of wartime and postwar singalongs that are likely to have anyone under the age of 65 reaching for the sick bucket. In among lifeless renditions of Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In," Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again," and Hank Cochran's "A Little Bitty Tear," O'Donnell also revisits several much-loved musical numbers from his most cherished era, from Calamity Jane's "Black Hills of Dakota" to Doris Day's "Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" to Doctor Zhivago's "Somewhere My Love (Lara's Theme)" in a manner that is almost offensively inoffensive. Indeed, O'Donnell's voice could never be described as anything less than pleasant, but it's frustrating just how little effort he makes to display any kind of personality, while the production is so syrupy that the album should come free with a batch of ready-made pancakes. Of course, his army of increasingly elderly female fans won't mind a jot, while it's impossible not to admire his longevity. But it's telling that after 25 years of hit albums, there isn't one song that O'Donnell has managed to make his own.

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