“Celine Dion” (1992)
Following the success of her first English language album “Unison” in 1990, Celine Dion went straight into the studio to record its successor. By now, interest in her voice existed outside of Canada, particularly in the US, where “Where Does My Heart Beat Now?” had reached the top five, although global ‘domination’ was some way off yet, Epic Records sought to capitalise on “Unison’s” breakout and produce a more refined, early 90’s style album of ballads with more pop-dance numbers.
The project was launched in the Spring of 1992 and it saw Celine return to the movies for the album’s first single. Soon after came the full record, which sounded like this…
The album begins with voices, a trumpet, Celine speaking in her native French-Canadian. All very ‘atmospheric’ as we lead into the first song proper…
2. Love Can Move Mountains
The difference in style of this new album is felt within seconds of hearing “Love Can Move Mountains”, which comes from the pen of the mighty Diane Warren (“Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now”, “If I Could Turn Back Time”), although this is no rock anthem, far from it, it’s dance-pop tinged with gospel that gives the song lift, life and volume. The track was released as the fourth single in October 1992, reaching No.36 in America, No.2 in Canada, as well as performing as a moderate hit across Europe and in Australia. It did, however, make No.46 in the UK, beating her previous best there of No.72 with “Where Does My Heart Beat Now?”, signs that the UK was, if only steadily, succumbing to Celine’s charms.
3. Show Some Emotion
Ballad time already and one of a number on this album designed to exploit Celine’s awesome voice. Andrew Gold, the man behind such hits as “Never Let Her Slip Away”, co-writes this song which is produced by Walter Afanasieff, the man mostly associated with Mariah Carey’s albums of the 1990’s. “Show Some Emotion” is a sensual love song that eventually catches fire from the guitar-laden middle-eight and takes a note change for the final choruses allowing Celine to open her lungs and release anything and everything that she can produce.
4. If You Asked Me To
“If You Ask Me To” is a cover version of a Patti LaBelle song from 1989, which was written, again by Diane Warren, and used in the James Bond film ‘Licence To Kill‘. The song was only a minor hit in the US when released in conjunction with the film, being used over the end credits when Gladys Knight had performed the title theme and taking that song into the top ten. Celine released her version in April 1992 as the second single and took this new recording to No.4 in America, equalling “Where Does My Heart Beat Now?”. Internationally it became Celine’s first single to top the Canadian singles chart, as well as charting in Australia, New Zealand, parts of Europe and No.57 in the UK. Despite its creation for a 007 film, it is Celine’s version of “If You Ask Me To” that remains by far the most successful.
5. If You Could See Me Now
Afanasieff writes and produces the next ballad, which could so easily of been recorded by Carey for her “Emotions” album, even down to the “Can’t Let Go” keyboard sound. It’s all very Andrew Lloyd-Webber, with inner passion and deep, serious lyrics and notes from Celine. “Only my love could bring you back” she sings to the person that’s hurt her and run. “Here I am, a stranger to a smile”. Shame on you!
6. Halfway To Heaven
The tempo remains down for the next, soulful ballad from Afanasieff with saxophonist Kenny G providing the loungeroom, atmospheric feel to this number. The tone of this song reverts to Celine’s more positive, upbeat and loving style and the addition of the saxophone is pure genius. The song fades away slowly into the night and it’s easy to become too familiar with this track, so much so that you mourn the ending. One to be repeated and replayed.
7. Did You Give Enough Love?
“Did You Give Enough Love?” moves us back into up-tempo land with its funky beat, albeit with a clear message: “if you want to know where we went wrong, you ought to stop and think: did you give enough love?”. Celine’s voice is very restraint for this song, showcasing that she isn’t just about belting out those long high notes, that she can handle a soulful pop-dance number and offer herself up to a wider audience. The song was released as the sixth and final single from the album in the Summer of 1993, reaching No.17 in Canada, although it was later used as the B side to the European single release for “The Power Of Love” the following year.
8. If I Were You
The next song, another ballad, is really sickly sweet and subdued. It reminds you of Madonna’s “Dear Jessie” for candy floss enthused rhythm and rhyme with lines like “take a step back, don’t lose your ground, remember how you felt before”. The song provides respite at the halfway point, but there are more to come!
9. Beauty And The Beast
Celine recorded the song from Disney’s 1992 version of ‘Beauty And The Beast’ with Peabo Bryson for commercial release (the version in the film was performed by the actress Angela Lansbury, better known as TV’s Jessica Fletcher). Celine and Peabo’s version was released at the end of 1991 reaching No.9 in the US, but selling nearly 800,000 copies. It was released throughout the rest of the world during the first half of 1992, becoming a much bigger hit for Celine all across Europe and the Far East than any of her previous singles, most importantly, however, it broke the top ten in the UK in May, following the successful release of the film there!
10. I Love You, Goodbye
“I Love You, Goodbye” is the third Diane Warren written song on this album and it’s another ballad! The song is about a woman who wishes to stay with her lover, but she foresees that their relationship will not work out in the end, as it will be a lie or sin if they continue with the relationship pretending they are all that each other needs. The woman still expresses that they must never regret this relationship, hence the title, “I Love You, Goodbye”. It’s sung with passion and heart by Celine and lasts barely three and a half minutes.
11. Little Bit Of Love
Time to put your dancing shoes on for a rare up-tempo number on this album. “Little Bit Of Love” is soulful and infectious as it carries you through a journey of uplifting love: “a little bit of love can go a long way sometimes” Celine tells us all. There’s a gorgeous clarinet solo over the middle-eight that raises the standard of this number into a classy, understated pop-dance tune, as Celine brings the song to an all too soon close with “a little bit of love is stronger than anything”. Fin.
12. Water From The Moon
Song number four from Diane Warren is more high drama and another rock-ballad, which Warren sings backing vocals on (something very rare for her). “Do I gotta get water from the moon? Is that what I gotta do?” asks Celine “to make you love me?” she asks of her man. It’s another excuse to show off her most prized possession, those amazing lungs! The song was released as the fifth single in early 1993 and peaked at No.7 in Canada and No.11 on the US contemporary chart.
13. With This Tear
Prince provides the next song for Celine to sing, in keeping with his ability to produce winning songs for a number of female singers at the beginning of the 1990’s including Sheena Easton, Martika (“Love Thy Will Be Done”) and Sinead O’Connor (“Nothing Compares 2 U”). The song is another tender ballad which Celine delivers with a sexiness akin to a Prince number in words like “with this tear, I thee want”, with a passionate middle-eight and a lot of whispering. Strange the song wasn’t released as a single. Would it of been a hit…?
14. Nothing Broken But My Heart
Once again Diane Warren comes up trumps for the final song, a near-six minute epic that at times feels like a hangover from the “Unison” album. That said, it’s another gospel-tinged power ballad that shows just what a great combination exists between Warren and Celine, one that would develop further over her next two studio albums. “Nothing Broken But My Heart” throws everything possible in, some electric guitars, Celine’s soaring vocals and a beautiful, long fade out. The song was released as the third single from the album peaking at No.3 in Canada and No.29 in America, turning up, as so many of Celine’s earlier recordings did, as a B side some years later, promoting this album to those who hadn’t known of its existence beforehand.
So what do you call the follow up to “Unison“? “Little Bit Of Love”? “If You Could See Me Now”? “Show Some Emotion”? Wrong. The album was given the lacklustre title of just Celine’s name, usually afford to a debut album. Perhaps it was a good choice, as “Celine Dion” does showcase Celine Dion’s voice and the more current production of this second album. Whatever the reason, “Celine Dion” was released at the end of March in Canada and throughout the rest of the world over the next three months. The album peaked at No.4 in Celine’s home country, where it sold just over a million copies, beating its predecessor by 300,000 units. In America the album reached No.34 and has sold over three million copies, double the number of records sold by “Unison” there.
The album also fared much better elsewhere and would eventually sell 150,000 copies in the UK, but only once Celine had become truly popular there, and that was still three years away. “Celine Dion” has sold over five million copies globally to date, two million more than “Unison“, confirming that Celine’s appeal was slowly sinking in and her name was becoming much more common place in the world of entertainment. With six singles lifted from the album, by the second half of 1993, recording and production was well under way on her third English language album, with the expectation that this one would do even better still.
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