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BMG presents
Annie Lennox—Totally Diva (1992)

"Walkin' on, walkin' on broken glass."
- Annie Lennox

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: December 17, 2000

Stars: Annie Lennox
Other Stars: John Malkovich
Director: Sophie Muller

Manufacturer: Sonopress USA
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild adult themes)
Run Time: 00h:42m:48s
Release Date: October 24, 2000
UPC: 743216119691
Genre: pop


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- CC+A- D

DVD Review

BMG's Annie Lennox: Totally Diva is a nine-track music video-style production featuring Annie Lennox during her solo years between stints as half of Eurythmics. The featured songs are:

Why
Legend In My Living Room
Precious
Money Can't Buy It
Cold
Primitive
The Gift
Walking on Broken Glass
Keep Young and Beautiful


This production (originally released under the simpler title Diva) was assembled as a whole, rather than as a collection of videos under different directors over a longer period of time; unfortunately, the unity of vision proves not to be an asset. The video material was photographed by fashion photographer Satoshi and directed by Sophie Muller, who also directed several Eurythmics music videos. While the lighting, shot composition and costuming are generally attractive, a certain deficit of the imagination is painfully evident. Each segment features Ms. Lennox in a different costume and environment, singing to herself or directly to the camera, with little in the way of context or plot to anchor the material. The singer/songwriter appears in a Las Vegas showgirl outfit, Fred Astaire drag, two different angel getups, a bathrobe, Elizabethan dress and conservative 1700's attire, but the variety is purely visual - there's little to differentiate one track from another, and the visuals quickly become tiresome.

Moreover, Ms. Lennox's solo material lacks the energy and musical solidity of her work with David A. Stewart in Eurythmics. While her powerful, technically skilled vocals are as impressive as ever, the music tends to be generic; the repetitive Walking on Broken Glass is as close as this collection comes to a memorable pop tune, and it succeeds mostly on the strength of a catchy string section "hook." In many pop music collaborations, the contributions of individual members are transparent; many times a "breakout" artist like Sting, Natalie Merchant or Phil Collins is able to carry on without a discernible change in style or quality. Here, Mr. Stewart's presence is sorely missed, and it's clear that much of the Eurythmics style grew out of the give-and-take between the two artists; Lennox is undeniably talented, but the music just isn't up to snuff. Much of it sounds like the ".mod file" PC music that came out of the U.K. in the 1980's and early 90's - rhythmically competent, but melodically unimpressive.

There are a few interesting moments on this disc. John Malkovich appears in the Walking on Broken Glass video in a role reminiscent of his character in the film Dangerous Liaisons, and Lennox covers the 1920's pop tune Keep Young and Beautiful with sardonic, knowing wit and a nicely old-fashioned singing style. But the music isn't terribly strong and the visuals don't bear repeated viewing. Hardcore Lennox fans will be glad to see this material available on DVD, but I'll stick with either incarnation of Eurythmics myself.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Annie Lennox: Totally Diva is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio, drawn from a broadcast quality videotape master, though the production was shot on film originally. The image suffers from brief video glitching, scanline flickering and color instability here and there, with a generally soft look throughout. Detail is good and color is solid considering the source; I'm sure this material has never looked better in the home, and the flaws are infrequent, but it's still just slightly above average.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
PCMEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: Despite a "Remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1" sticker on the packaging, BMG's Annie Lennox: Totally Diva DVD is actually presented with a linear PCM 48k stereo track. The audio is up to BMG's usual standards, clean and solid with substantial bass, though the low end is sometimes overemphasized at the expense of Lennox's vocals. Played through a ProLogic decoder, the audio tends to cluster in the center speaker with faint left/right ambience and a bit of rear speaker bleed. I found the experience much improved after I set my receiver for old-fashioned stereo listening, preferring the diffuse, spread-out stereo soundstage for which the music was originally mixed. Your mileage may vary, and simulated surround DSP modes may provide a more enveloping experience, but the CD-quality-plus audio will pass muster any way you choose to listen.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Music/Song Access with 9 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Discography
Extras Review: This is a standard feature-free music video presentation, though its genesis as a unified production might have allowed for some director or photographer commentary. The only extra here is a discography featuring the cover art from Eurythmics, David A. Stewart and Annie Lennox albums (the same content seen on BMG's companion Eurythmics: Greatest Hits disc, though the layout has been redesigned). There are 9 song selections, though the final credits chapter (10) isn't available from the disc's menu, only through the DVD remote.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Annie Lennox: Totally Diva is a generic early-1990's video music production featuring Ms. Lennox of Eurythmics fame in solo mode. BMG's DVD is competently transferred, given its videotape source, and the linear PCM soundtrack is solid. Fans of Lennox's solo work will want to check this disc out, but I can't recommend it myself.

 


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