Making Chances Pay Off
BY STEVE G | There was a time when the big three were Whitney, Celine, and Mariah. Prior to the days of Rihanna, Miley, and auto-tune, these big-voiced divas owned the charts at a time when radio had room for big voices.
Celine Dion has now released a new album, “Loved Me Back to Life” and it does her proud. While Whitney’s last outing screamed “comeback album” in its sentiment and bland execution and Mariah’s recent CD and videos are largely testimony to her ability to look sexy in hot pants, Celine actually seems invested here in making a great album for her fans.
Celine Dion is back with a control that embraces today
The first single, “Loved Me Back to Life,” produced by Sham and Motesart, has a dark, moody feel. It opens with a very current stuttering chant and the track is almost a dubstep one — or as close to dubstep as Dion will ever get.
“Water and a Flame,” a Daniel Merriweather cover, is Celine in a loungey mode, using her voice to suggest a smoky late night, then morning after vibe. Her vocal is a bit weathered here and the approach works for the song and is one she adapts appropriately for the feel of a number of the other tracks.
“Loved Me Back to Life” was originally scheduled to be released in 2012 as an album mostly made up of covers of old songs and duets. That plan was scrapped in favor of adding new material, though a few of the original recordings remain. “Back to Life” includes two covers that she currently performs in her Las Vegas show. Dion duets with Stevie Wonder on his classic “Overjoyed” and she performs a remake of Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen,” produced by Babyface over a salsa beat.
Celine also duets with Ne-Yo on the song “Incredible,” which no doubt will be heard nonstop during the upcoming Olympics.
“Loved Me Back to Life” is a fascinating listen; Dion obviously brought a good deal of care, intelligence, and restraint to this collection. That’s not to say the album is lacking in big Celine ballads. “I’ll Always Be Your Girl” is a huge mountain of a song she climbs effortlessly to the top of. But “Girl,” with its familiar-style arrangement, is the exception on this album.
Celine’s last English language album was titled “Taking Chances.” Released in 2007, the collection was a failed and labored attempt to try a new direction. It seemed Dion was taking chances just for the sake of it.
With “Loved Me Back to Life,” Celine hits the mark —embracing current pop trends and projecting a more subdued vocal style onto smartly produced songs. This time out, if feels as though the singer enjoyed taking chances. A genuine sense of fun, experimentation, and joy shines through.