Release Date: Nov 5, 2013
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Vocal, Pop/Rock
Loved Me Back to Life is Celine Dion's first English-language album in seven years, but even that long gap of time doesn't tell the whole story. The last time Dion placed in the Billboard Top 40 was in 2002, when "A New Day Has Come" reached 22, and the last time she saw the Top 10 was in 1999, when "That's the Way It Is" reached number six. That's a roundabout way of saying that Dion's days as a formidable hitmaker are long gone, but the interesting thing about Loved Me Back to Life is how the French-Canadian diva has seized this opportunity to try a little bit everything, ranging from duets with neo-R&B stalwart Ne-Yo to covers of Janis Ian's "At Seventeen.
Even diva-pop moves on – something Celine Dion has acknowledged on her first English-language album in six years. While she hasn't completely abandoned the "more is more" vocalising that evokes locomotives and power stations, she has toned it down, exposing the nerve endings beneath the bombast. And she has veered away from Diane Warrenesque power balladry (though Warren does get a credit on the uncharacteristically lithe Unfinished Songs), toward tracks by Ne-Yo, Sia and Daniel Merriweather.
Did Celine Dion turn into a slot machine in Vegas? “I was walking dead” are the first words sung on Dion's new album, Loved Me Back to Life. The first thing most listeners will notice won't be the macabre yet timely pop-culture reference, but, instead, the ghastly level to which her voice has been fed through the AutoTune gauntlet. There's little question that a performance schedule as rigorous and monotonous as Dion's Las Vegas residency all but requires a vocal pick-me-up.
Certainly the most sassless pop superstar in recent memory, Celine Dion is a reliable war horse, and a plenty appealing one most of the time, provided pageantry and volume are your catnip. She is the iceberg, destroying all Titanics. That she’d bother to innovate at all on the strong “Loved Me Back to Life,” her first English-language album in six years, is worthy in and of itself.
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. In the past she has been at her best when sprinkling in some uptempo tracks — such as Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night” and Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” — but no such luck here. She somehow uses a whopping 23 songwriters and producers, but she clearly needed to exercise some veto power.