Saturday, April 5, 2008

"Surprise, Surprise," Céline Dion is All Heart on New LP

After three decades in song (English and French), Dion's album Taking Chances (2007) showed that Dion couldn't be hampered by any change in the musical landscape. That change being that the diva friendly skies of the 1990's, ruled by the triumvirate of Dion, Houston, and Carey, was no longer as fair to singers of that ilk.

Dion's voice, a precise tool that could cut through the coldest hearts and drove home a slew of classic pop, could sometimes be her worst enemy. It finally slips into adventurous territory on Taking Chances by marrying her technique with more subtle emotional texture.

Dion worked with a range of producers on this effort: Peer Astrom and Anders Bagge (Janet Jackson, Madonna), Christopher "Tricky" Stewart (Mary J. Blige), John Shanks (Alanis Morrisette, Sheryl Crow), Linda Perry (P!nk, Christina Aguilera), Ben Moody (formerly of Evanescence), and Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame). I'm sure some of the folks mentioned have eyebrows raised, fear not. This is still Dion's adult contemporary pop trade, but it steps out a bit more, without the cloying after effects from previous sonic experiments.

Dion rode the urgency of "Shadow of Love" with bite and passion, while the snake-like "Eyes On Me" dealt a smokier, Middle Eastern hand. Dion on the title track is brisk, her nuance and inflection in great form. "Right Next to the Right One" and "Skies of L.A." stand as the two achievements on Taking Chances by being grounded in vulnerability and restraint.

But what of vintage Dion you ask? Look no further than the diva posture of "That's Just the Woman in Me" or the confidant swell of "Surprise, Surprise" where Dion offers herself to the adult contemporary firestorm in the latter mentioned track. Thematically, it is all affirmation, conflicted evenings without the one you love, and self-love musings. By this point Dion has her lyrical niche, that shouldn't change, if anything it has truly become believable.

"Taking Chances"
Directed By: Paul Boyd

Dion taking a "less is more" position helped her make a record that was interesting without compromising what a Céline Dion record is. Four out of five stars.-QH 


S. Flemming said...

I still can't believe I don't own any of her albums. It's good that she's trying a variety of styles and textures. She can sing pretty much anything.

RhythmicSoul said...

I love this album, like you said, i think Celine did a perfect job at conveying each song without over doing it vocally, every song had just enough of everything. Its just such a sassy record lol. Im gonna go listen to "Cant Find the Feeling" and do somethin sassy right now!! lol

Anonymous said...

Your comments regarding her latest release makes me want to go out and buy it, sight & unseen. I haven't heard anything from this release. I only own 1 cd of hers. The reason being is because they play her music so much, radio & television, I didn't see a need to own it.


Matthew said...

Another one of my guilty pleasures. The things that this woman can do with her voice is simply amazing. Another great album to add to the collection. Simply Brilliant !!!