Celine’s back! There’s something really great about hearing that because you’re expecting beautiful, timeless music. Six long years have passed since Dion graced our ears with the pop rock and chart topping, Taking Chances, now the songstress is ready to reveal how she’s evolved in her artistry. With what many, including the notable producers and songwriters who’ve contributed to Celine’s 11th studio album, Loved Me Back to Life, are describing to be a more edgier side to the artist, fans and music lovers alike are expected to be amazed by how fresh and re-energized she sounds. There’s a whole lot of good praises going around but as much as I adore Celine Dion and her heartfelt journey to success, let’s see if her latest album can stand strong amidst its remarkable predecessors.
The lead single and title track is a perfect kick-starter, adding a spiritual and uplifting touch to an unbreakable romance. Whenever I hear SIA wrote a song I’m compelled to listen because that lady is super talented and her songs have this poetical flavor that’s beyond intriguing. Loved Me Back to Life is no exception. Celine breezes through the lyrics effortlessly, emphasizing on the emotions of someone literally coming back to life. It’s the kind of song where powerful notes are not really necessary, because its almost as if the woman is starting to breathe again after being confined by so much pain. Thankfully, her beloved remained at her side, helping her through. You don’t get deeper than that. Loved Me Back to Life is a wonderful, breathtaking song and I’m happy with the decision to launch it as the first single. The biggest highlight of the song is the bridge, when her full strength returns. Then Celine blasts into these eerie harmonies that I can’t get enough of. Wow!
Somebody Loves Somebody reminds me of an earlier pop rock concept Celine Dion was working with. Not saying it is in anyway washed up. Quite the opposite, it sounds like a more modern and re-vitalized version of the singer. Love the opening melody and how the song plunges in a powerful hook after mesmerizing us with the verses. This is a very catchy song. Far from the haunting album opener but solid enough to push as a second single.
Oh. My. Gosh! The next song really moved my heart. I love the words. Love the alternating vocals. Incredible goes into a mellow pace but it is so empowering. The song can be interpreted however you’d like to take it. To me, it’s either depicting the beautiful love a couple has for each other, or encouraging each and everyone of us to do something meaningful, make a change while we’re here on earth. That’s how much the song speaks to me and like Ne-Yo said, it truly inspires me.
I heard there was a controversy surrounding Water and a Flame, and that it was initially intended to be the title of the album. But all that aside, honestly, after listening to the song, I’m glad they switched to Loved Me Back to Life. Because as bittersweet and intense as the lyrics are, I’m not much of a fan of Water and a Flame. I do like the bluesy feel and breakup story-telling, but it just doesn’t win me over like the previous tracks. I can’t take away that the song is in fact likable, in terms of flawless vocals and pure passion, I probably just need a few more listens before falling in love with it though.
Breakaway had me drooling. Seriously. 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 words are thought-provoking, attention stealing. You name it. The track is just beyond great. I had shivers all over listening to Celine pour her heart out, even though its a cover of Afro-German songstress Ivy Quainoo‘s just as soulshaking version (not much has been changed). Regardless, there’s something so natural about the way she sings from the heart. Not too many artists have such a quality.
The singer picks up the rock vibe in Save Your Soul. The song is groovy and funky, with Celine doing some fun addlibs here and there. Definitely a crowd mover with its electric rudiments, just not very addicting for me. I’ll give it a pass for its uptempo pace.
Didn’t Know Love starts out with this mellow piano melody and a breathy Celine. The instruments are tamed at first so the singer’s vocals are more emphasized on. But once the backing drum and guitar kicks it, they all compliment her well because at that point she’s intensifying the song. Once again, you get a bluesy feel as portrayed in Water and a Flame, but this track actually grabbed my heart more than the latter. However, like all the others, her emotions are raw, the message is deep.
Thank you is another co-written by Ne-Yo. While the artist didn’t contribute his vocals like before, this song sails on its own because Celine Dion requires no help in making a song great. She accomplishes that perfectly well all on her own. Thank You sounds like an ode to the one who got her through whatever and stuck by her side. The track is mid-tempo and a bit on the mellow side but you can’t dismiss the edgy, rock aspects and how fierce her vocals sound towards the end. She had me singing along.
I can’t remember the last time I listened to Stevie Wonder much less thought of his music. That’s sad. I know. Thank’s to Celine Dion, I’m reminded of how amazing of an artist Stevie Wonder truly is on the remastered version of Overjoyed. I thought it was just brilliant to re-record the song as a duet and get the original singer. The song sounds utterly fresh and new to my ears. Not like a makeover at all.
Ooh, when those keys came in for Thankful, my body froze. Instantly, I knew this was another song that would shake me. I was right. There are no words to describe how magical this song is. This is almost like the power ballad of the album so far. Her vocals are soaring higher than she’s delivered so far. The biggest highlight of the song is during the bridge when she takes it down, in an intimate sense where you felt as if you were in a live music cafe. But then the choir ascends and Celine is as fierce as ever. Such a dramatic and alluring song. Another of my favs.
While I like re-recordings and covers, sometimes, I wasn’t really feeling Celine’s cover of At Seventeen, originally sung by Janis Ian. The song is mellow and soothing to listen to, and I do love Dion’s vocals on the track. But it’s just one of those songs that didn’t rub me the right way. Still, I must admit I did like how Babyface made the classic sound more modern yet retaining its appeal with the acoustic and Spanish influenced guitar riffs. All in all, its a lovely song, I’m just not all the way there with it.
Always Be Your Girl is another soulful ballad. Again, the lovely piano keys leave plenty of room for the singer’s vocals to fly without the help of a heavy backing band. By the end of the second verse and the strings made an entry, I was sure the song would sail out unlike the way it started, with a booming drumkit and louder than before violins. I was wrong. I can say I never expected to continue on the way it did but I’m pleasantly surprised and satisfied. Another remarkable number.
At first when Unfinished Songs started playing, I was like, this sounds a little like A New Day…but it was far from it. Loved the electro pop feel of the music and I’m liking the words. But then again, it was written by legendary songwriter and lifetime Dion contributor of greatness, Diane Warren. After a few mellow tracks I was convinced the album would end on a laid-back pace. Thankfully, it didn’t. Unfinished Songs is mainstream worthy; its meaningful, it’s fun, and it’s memorable. The song has all the elements of a hit. Hope her team makes the decision to release it because the track is solid all on its own. I loved how at the end she really made it sound unfinished, leaving with an inhale like she’s going to keep going but stops.
The regular version concludes on that groovy number, but if you’d like to keep going, the deluxe album offers another mellow track, How Do You Keep the Music Playing, and a cover of Billy Joel’s Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel). I’m a bit overwhelmed by the slow numbers so I’ll end my review on the upbeat Unfinished Songs.
Loved Me Back to Life is a great comeback. Well, not so much of a comeback if you consider the fact the singer was performing in Vegas and will return to the stage there, and she’s also been traveling. I think it’s more like a return with fresh new music and two covers that sound like her own. The album is a wonderful production, signifying a fiercer than ever Dion. Her voice definitely has a new intensity and appeal that will catch the attention of the new generation, but she still maintains that passion her true fans are used to in her music. Though there were one or two tracks that didn’t win me over immediately, obviously cause that’s my issue. But Loved Me Back to Life is still a solid release that was surely worth the wait.
Release date: November 5th 2013
01. Loved Me Back to Life
02. Somebody Loves Somebody
03. Incredibly (Duet with Ne-Yo)
04. Water and a Flame
06. Save Your Soul
07. Didn’t Know Love
08. Thank You
09. Overjoyed (Duet with Stevie Wonder)
11. At Seventeen
12. Always Be Your Girl
13. Unfurnished Song
This review does not reflect the opinion of EY as a whole.
Images Credit: CelineDion.com