Celine Dion‘s first English language studio album in six long, painful years hits retailers today (November 5) and has music critics buzzing about the diva’s eclectic collaborators (Sia, Ne-Yo and Eg White among others) and slightly more contemporary pop sound.
In my review of the endearing LP, I argued that Celine gave her trademark ballad-heavy sound a highly flattering facelift but stumbled at the final hurdle, regressing to old, middle-of-the-road habits on the album’s final few tracks. See what other critics had to say about the Canadian diva’s latest opus after the jump.
:: New York Daily News gave the album a glowing review, praising both Celine’s choice of producers and vocal talent: “Dion’s youth mission just proves once again this woman can do anything with her voice. She may have pop’s most flexible instrument, as well as its loudest.”
:: Not so glowing was Slant Magazine‘s summation of the musical endeavor. “Dion has always chased the most unfashionable elements of whatever’s currently in fashion, and that intrinsic ungainliness is one of the things that’s made her so endearing,” they mused. “If Chaka Khan was every woman, Dion is and ever shall be every awkward soccer mom.” Interestingly the LP was still awarded 3/5 stars.
:: USA Today was more kind. They labelled Loved Me Back To Life “accomplished adult-contemporary pop that celebrates love, and occasionally laments its elusiveness or loss”. As for the highlights? “Didn’t Know Love” and “Thank You” offer softer, grittier vocals and more nuanced drama than previous power ballads.”
:: Much like myself, AllMusic felt that the big-lunged diva didn’t quite follow through with the promise to shake things up but still delivered the good: “There’s no question this is a Celine Dion album, a record that flirts with new ideas but never hooks up. Yet, that flirtation counts for something: it means the album is livelier, less self-conscious, less beholden to the expected.”
:: Newsday disagreed, finding the diva “almost unrecognizable”. They praised her new sound, saying: “Dion has stripped away her vocal tics and a tendency to overwhelm songs with her powerful voice and opted to, well, play it cool.” Daniel Merriweather cover “Water And A Flame” was their highlight.
:: Not sure if Boston Globe heard the same album as I did because they found it more slow than usual and missed her trademark “up-tempo tracks”. (What?) “The first English-language disc in six years from Montreal native Celine Dion is littered with syrupy, easy-listening, trite-lyric ballads that undersell her talent,” they lament.
:: Embrace You described Loved Me Back To Life as a great comeback and singled out “Breakaway” as a highlight. ”From start to finish the song had my mouth opened wide in awe. Such an exceptional and captivating song. Its very intimate and I adore the mid-tempo, doo-wop beat that adds a 60′s feel to the overall musical arrangement,” the reviewer wrote.
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