x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dion tones down the often off-putting histrionics for a surprisingly contemporary collection.

The cover artwork for Celine Dion's Loved Me Back to Life.
The cover artwork for Celine Dion's Loved Me Back to Life.

Celine Dion

Loved Me Back to Life

(Sony)

***

Blame Elvis, perhaps, but when a singer takes on a lengthy Las Vegas residency, we do tend to assume that their creative juices must now be stagnant. Not so, Celine Dion. The Canadian super-diva has spent much of the six years since her last English-language album performing classic-laden Vegas shows, but returns with a surprisingly contemporary collection. The pulsating title track has already helped refashion Dion’s previously unhip image, and some wisely chosen collaborators – from sure-fire hit-writers Sia Furler and Diane Warren to the R&B producers Babyface and Tricky Stewart – provide a lively canvas for that famous voice. She, in turn, tones down the often off-putting histrionics. Two oldies are given faithful updates – Janis Ian’s At Seventeen, and a duet with Stevie Wonder of his overlooked 1985 single Overjoyed – but generally this is Dion revelling in an unsung pop versatility. There are hints of Shakira (Somebody Loves Somebody), Michael Jackson (Save Your Soul) and Bacharach-style easy-listening (Didn’t Know Love), while a lung-testing anthem with Ne-Yo, Incredible, will surely soundtrack a million tearful TV montages. Viva the revitalised diva.

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