Album review: Loved Me Back to Life - old meets bold

Published: January 12, 2014
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Dion adopts a more youthful and contemporary approach in her new album and succeeds.

Dion adopts a more youthful and contemporary approach in her new album and succeeds.

After a six-year absence, Canadian pop singer, Celine Dion is back with a youthful approach in her new album, Loved Me Back to Life. The songs are raw, edgy and modern with buzz centered on eclectic collaborations with Ne-Yo, Sia, Eg White and others.

The pop-icon best known for her powerful and soaring vocals downshifts into a contemporary voice, one that is not immediately recognisable as Dion. Although, she pushes into riskier territory, competing with contemporary artists, the album is as powerful as ever.

The songs are current, classy and still play to her strength of having one of the best voices to date. The lead single Loved Me Back To Life, written and produced by Sia, is the most drastic departure from Dion’s trademark sound making it a fitting and questionable choice at the same time. It’s a song that requires multiple listens, making the collaboration duet with Ne-Yo, Incredible a better choice for a lead single. Incredible lives up to its title and is the catchiest tune of the album. It is contemporary and radio-friendly opening up an entirely new fan base while also appealing to those who love Dion’s traditional ballad style. The song is a mix of both worlds — pop and R’nB with Ne Yo’s soulful humming perfectly counterbalancing Dion’s varying and bold vocals.

Another highlight of the album is Water And A Flame, inspired by Daniel Merriweather and teamed with Eg White. The song takes Dion down an entirely different path. The vocals, strings and soulful retro make it sound like a song by Adele but work in favour of Dion, making it one of the top songs of the album and a style she should repeat in her future albums. However, Dion does not disappoint with mixes of her original style as well. Somebody loves somebody is an aggressive and addictive song true to Dion’s pop style of the 90s, a treat and throwback for her old fan base. Although, there are odd beeps in the song, the vocal breakdown is tremendous.

Unfinished songs, the round-up of the album is also reminiscent of Dion’s traditional tune with her voice echoing repercussions of inspiration and happiness to match the lyrics of the song. This song, however, sounds a little out of place in an album that reinvents and tries to change her public perception.

You loved me back to life  is an album that will stay with you as another hit, simply because of Dion’s genuine ability to be honest with her fans, especially through lyrics about the challenges of stardom and finding love. Her collaborations show that she is able to be current in today’s music scene while also remaining true to her traditional style that we know and love. The songs aren’t overwhelmed with her powerful voice in the album and are livelier, conveying their messages clearly while being catchy. Dion’s comeback has once again proven that she can do anything with her voice.

Did you know?

Celine Dion’s album Loved Me Back to Life was originally titled Water and a Flame, after the track in the album, written by Daniel Merriweather along with Eg White and first performed by Merriweather and Adele. However, when Dion played a recording of her song in an interview in April 2013, musician Samantha Ronson, a friend of Merriweather (and whose brother, Mark Ronson, produced the original version), wrote a blog post that included the video of the interview and asked her to give credit to the writer of the song. In June, Merriweather linked to Ronson’s post criticised Dion asking for credits for his work. In response, Dion’s management claimed that while Dion often does not mention the writers of her songs, she has always been very open about the fact that she doesn’t write them herself and that all of the writers and producers were always credited on the liner notes. Despite this, on 25 July 2013, her website confirmed that the album was re-titled to Loved Me Back to Life.

Katherine Tria Kehoe is a writer from Toronto, Canada. She majored in professional and creative writing with a specialisation in book publishing. 

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, January 12th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • NIch Persons
    Jan 12, 2014 - 6:36PM

    This album is one of her best and certainly better than Taking Chances, she is more consistent within the trends of the music she selects to record this time around and doesn’t takes everything she gets and then dumps pile it on a disc and market it even though it will sell it can be criticized very harshly, but this time around she tried and it is very evident within the song choices that are present here in this album. Loved Me Back To Life originally had more than 25 songs recorded over a period of three years and through that alot of song writers flocked to her with their material hoping she could lend her greatest treasures to their words, “who wouldn’t?”
    but as i said she pick and refused and for those songs she had recorded she made a wise decision on which songs should come on the album. Songs that were even written by such big producers such as R.Kelly has written a song but it wasn’t included on the album and other songs such as Rubbish Heart and We’re Gonna Love Tomorrow produced by Eg White were not included also, but apart from those even songwriters who wrote from a range of acts such as Bruno Mars have written songs for her and i can see she did take the time to record this album unlike Taking Chances which recorded over a three week period and then released in November 5th being very rushed.

    Recommend

  • Aadil Ahmed
    Jan 14, 2014 - 8:27PM

    Her French albums are more musically diverse than her English ones unfortunately. Her English material is mostly the same, mediocre, love-dovey, sappy stuff over and over again. Thought, there are still some few good English songs from her. The title track of her latest album happens to be one of her best.

    Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2014 - 10:37PM

    Katherine Kehoe the author is my daughter ..She gave me a surprise new album of Celine Dion “my favourite one”.The moment I glance her face with her hair flowing covering her left eye I knew for a fact something is new in her music.Her message on her face I read “Here I am ready to deliver the new me, and I will capture your imagination in my raw voice contemporary collaborating with traditional ,ballad Celine.”You loved me back to life”It is my fans in all ages listening to my imagination with the GIVER HIS lyrics to GIVE to all ages… You loved me back to life to all. INCREDIBLE .. Recommend

  • Becky G
    Jan 16, 2014 - 6:53AM

    What a wonderful review! This writer certainly has a way with words. I would like to read more of her stuff!

    Recommend

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