Street Sounds: Celine Dion reigns as the drama queen

The Queen of Condominium Rock returns in all her large-lunged glory on Loved Me Back to Life.

The Queen of Condominium Rock returns in all her large-lunged glory.

Celine Dion has been Vegas-bound for a long time and Loved Me Back to Life is her first album in six years.

Dion’s gawky character never disappears, however, much of it is pushed back or tweaked with sexy images and poses. She’s like the goofy girl down the street but one with a huge hidden talent.

She can sing a phone book but the phone book is boring, although this one is well produced and the producers are legion. Some say she’s one of the best singers on the planet. Big claims, but taken on its own, her voice is remarkable in its power and ability to emote.

Because Dion doesn’t write songs, the songs are there to serve her voice. She needs a big hit and she’s got one with the title song. It’s epic, overwrought and over-the-top with a super human vocal on the chorus that bends reality.

Like many of her contemporaries, Dion has taken a posse – a veritable small army of producers, musicians, songwriters and duet partners. This acquisition works on some levels. Her force-of-nature voice is worked over with a soul diva sound on Water and a Flame, Breakaway and Save Your Soul.

Dion’s dramatic tendencies around phrasing are honed into expressive performances that are compelling – stressed vowels and all.

It’s obvious that Dion has a sweet tooth for ballads and they’re always on her albums. Here, some of them get pushed into an adult contemporary zone, approaching a modern retro-chic sound (Didn’t Know Love), while others linger in schmaltzy limbo (Thank You, Overjoyed). They languish in strings and lush arrangements and even Stevie Wonder can’t move Overjoyed beyond its showroom sentimentality. But Dion’s natural flair for the dramatic swoops in to save the day on a few: the edgy Thankful and the clever cover of Janis Ian’s bittersweet bummer of a song, At Seventeen.

After that, it’s a return to the big marching choruses and empty platitudes that Dion makes sound sincere.

The album’s dramatic high points are reached when she gets simple and goes for the dark side. When she retreats back into ballad-land, it’s predictable and overdone.

It’s an unnatural experience to listen to a whole Celine Dion album – like entering a zone of syrupy perfection, too much at once can make you feel a little woozy.

Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews new releases for The Morning Star.


Just Posted

Coldstream celebrates spring with Easter egg hunt

The family-friendly event takes place Mackie Lake House Saturday, April 20 at 10 a.m.

Vernon woman launches sewing studio

“I know there’s a lot of people up and down the valley that would love to sew.”

Vipers win pivotal game 5 to take 3-2 series lead

Vipers beat the Trail Smoke Eaters by a score of 5-2 and will look to end the series Saturday night in Trail at 7 p.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre. Contributed: Vernon Vipers Staff

None injured in small fire near Lumby

“It looks like it was accidental, definitely nothing suspicious.”

Vernon road closed again following landslide

The road that was reopened Thursday morning was closed again Friday following geotechnical engineer report.

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Former Okanagan teen found safe after disappearing from YVR airport

Ethan Burnett, 14, was found safe in Kelowna on March 22

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read