REVIEW: ‘Let’s Talk About Love’ – Celine Dion

Celine Dion – “Let’s Talk About Love”

by Christopher Smith

Following the monstrous success of “Falling Into You“, Celine Dion had very possibly hit her peak, sixteen years since her debut release. But as 1996 turned into 1997, recording for a new English language album had begun and one which would throw every kitchen sink available into the mixing pot. A star studded line up queued to record with Celine for this next album and if that wasn’t enough, another film song added to Celine’s growing collection of movie hits.

If Celine had scaled the very peak of the music business with her last recording, it would take a plunge to the bottom of the ocean to find the next big thing! A year and a half on from “Falling Into You“, the new album was ready. But how did it sound…?

1. The Reason

The album kicks off in exceptionally fine style and in outstanding company as Carole King writes and Sir George Martin produces “The Reason”, a typical Celine mid-tempo ballad with plenty of high notes for Celine to hit and re-establish her presence. The song was released as the second single from the album, albeit only in Europe. Nevertheless, the song topped the French singles chart and sold over a million copies and peaked at No.11 in the UK, where it sold over 100,000 copies. “The Reason” sets the scene for all the celebrity pomp and glamour yet to come.

2. Immortality

And it just carries on as Celine joins forces with The Bee Gees for their self-penned smoothie, “Immortality”, and in doing so, Celine joins the long list of A-list stars the trio have written for including Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick and Barbra Striesand to name but a few. It has all the epic flare and charm of a Celine ballad but with added Bee-Gee high notes in the background! The song simply cried out of commercial release, and indeed, in the Spring of 1998, it became the fifth single to be lifted from the album, again everywhere except America! Why? Who knows, surely it would of been a number one without fail had it of been… It was, however, an immediate success internationally, reaching the top ten in over a dozen countries, particularly in Germany, where Celine and Bee Gee fans seemed to relish the pairing of two such emanant performing acts.

3. Treat Her Like A Lady

Celine does Reggae-R&B now with this uplifting and ‘lively’ number from the pen of singer Diana King, who recorded it for her debut album “Stronger Than Love” two years earlier. Although King never released it as a single, Celine did and in early 1999 and, including backing vocals from Diana herself, it became the seventh and final track released of its own accord. Again, its release was confined to Europe, where the song performed as you would expect a seventh single would perform, a year and a half after the album it came from was released. It did best in The Netherlands (No.12), Iceland (No.13) and Austria (No.16), while making the top thirty in the UK.

4. Why Oh Why?

More sultry R&B-pop now with the quiet and peachy “Why Oh Why?” which demonstrates the variety and versatility of the music on this new Celine album, not yet seen before and a bold departure for all those ballads, one after the other. Virtually every track on this album comes from a different producer and this one re-unites Celine with David Foster, who was such an integral feature of her first two English speaking albums, and whom would contribute more than any other once again, to this album. Not the typical Dion-Foster track, however.

5. Love Is On The Way

Ballad time! And this one is very welcome after all the fuss of the previous four songs. “Love Is On The Way” starts so intimately and takes some time to ‘lift off’, but by the time of the last chorus, it feels like home and familiar territory for Celine. The song is co-written by Peter Zizzo of “Only One Road” and “Misled” fame and was previously recorded by Luther Vandross for his “Never Let Me Go” album of 1993 and was a minor hit in the UK, it was later recorded by Broadway singer Billy Porter for the film ‘The First Wives Club’ (1996) where it was also featured on the soundtrack album, along with a cover of Erma Franklin’s “Piece Of My Heart” by Diana King (interwoven connections abound!). Celine gives the song a brush of special magic and it’s a shame it wasn’t released as a single at Christmas time, when I am sure it would of been huge.

6. Tell Him

Ok here comes another interwoven connection: The Bee Gees wrote for Barbra Striesand back in the 1980’s, and here she is, duetting with Celine for one of the album’s biggest tracks and the first single released that preceded the album in October 1997. The two strive for first place honours throughout, but in the end, they just manage to come joint first place and it’s hardly surprising that this isn’t what excited audiences upon hearing of the recording. “Tell Him” was also featured on Striesand’s album “Higher Ground”, released at the same time as Dion’s just to give maximum exposure to the song, which topped the chart in five countries and made the top ten in a further fifteen. The song is jointly produced by Walter Afanasieff and David Foster.

7. Amar Haciendo el Amor

Next up Celine tackles a Spanish song (“Love Making Love”) from the pen of Billy Mann and Denise Rich, which once again, showcases the flexibility of this album and wider ranging styles and themes for Celine to get her voicebox around. As expected, the song is very Latin enthused and performed passionately and with class by Celine.

8. When I Need You

Celine returns with a cover, Leo Sayer’s 1977 hit “When I Need You”, which she performs against a backdrop of sublime and simplistic keyboards, only allowing the full drama of the song and her lungs to release at the very end. In doing so, she does great justice to this classic and beloved tune. Celine’s version was released as a promotional single in Brazil only, and the production of this version owes much to that of “All By Myself” from her previous album, both of which are by David Foster.

9. Miles To Go (Before I Sleep)

A little bit of Country creeps into “Miles To Go”, the first of two songs on this album written by Canadian singer Corey Hart, who had two big hits in the 1980’s, before turning to songwriting for other artists. “Miles To Go” is very relaxed and effortlessly cool song that Celine has no trouble in dealing with and, if anything, allows her softer side to play host. The song was released as a promotional single in Canada only as part of the album’s extensive tour there in 1998.

10. Us

Following nicely on from “Miles To Go” is another Country-esque track from Billy Pace and co-produced by Jim Steinman, he of “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” fame! It’s another laid back and easy-to-listen to number and it makes you wonder what a whole Celine Country album would sound like…

11. Just A Little Bit Of Love

Time to hit the dancefloor and Celine does usually does this in fine style when the lights go up. “Just A Little Bit Of Love” is one of those songs that moves you and makes you shake your thang from beginning to end, and it would of been great to had a whole release with mixes for this track, perhaps from Celine favourites Tony Moran and Richie Jones to really set the clubs alight.

12. My Heart Will Go On

Put briefly, film director James Cameron is a Celine Dion fan, he asks her to perform the song for his new, controversial movie ‘Titanic’ (which costs $200m to make), the film becomes the biggest thing ever (over $2b grossed at the box office), Celine’s song tops the charts in twenty five counties globally and sells over eighteen million copies making it one of the biggest selling singles ever in chart history! Proving Celine’s appeal as well as her heart, will go on and on, as does the “mmmmmmmmmmm” at the end of the song. Breathtaking and emotive. Celine on top at the bottom of the ocean. The song also propelled this album to even greater heights in early 1998, once the film and this song’s worldwide release was complete. “My Heart Will Go On” would win the Oscar for best original song at the 1998 Academy Award ceremony and how could it not!

13. Where Is The Love?

Corey Hart song number two is very much like “Miles To Go”, Country-fied and very accessible. The song is more ‘darker’ and brooding than the former and in parts, haunting, as Celine takes a rest from her ‘titanic’ vocals on the previous track. “Where Is The Love?” is both magical and engaging and was used as Celine’s B side to the album’s first single “Tell Him”, which perhaps opened her fans to a new sound for the forthcoming record, to be excited about.

14. Be The Man

More Country themes with an Irish twist to it as “Be The Man” could almost of come from the ‘Titanic’ soundtrack. The song comes courtesy of David Foster and Junior Miles, who also contributed the song “To Love You More”, which was used instead of “Be The Man” on the US version of this album. “To Love You More” was released as a single, peaking at No.21 in the US and No.9 in Canada. “Be The Man” was not!

15. I Hate You Then I Love You

If there hasn’t been enough star power so far, well get ready for Celine and Luciano Pavarotti! Yes, the man himself joins Celine for a lovely, Italian style, opera ballad which actually works really well for both artists and very much compliments “Tell Him”, towards the end of this album.

16. Let’s Talk About Love

Time for the last song which is an anthem and round of the album perfectly, complete with choirs and children singing and co-written by Mr. Bryan Adams, who also plays guitar over the middle-eight. The song fades away slowly and you know you’ve just experienced one of the world’s greatest performers deliver yet another top class album that could not be matched by anyone else at the time, so it’s hardly surprising that this track would give itself to the title of the album. Viva!

 

With the success of “Tell Him”, Celine released “Let’s Talk About Love” to a simultaneous global audience in mid November 1997, the first time both she and Epic Records has done this instead of a staggered release over a number of months. And with the release of the film ‘Titanic’ at the same time, fears that this new album would fail to emulate the colossal success of “Falling Into You” were quickly brushed away. “Let’s Talk About Love” topped the chart in twenty six countries worldwide with sales mirroring that of it’s predecessor, particularly as 1997 turned into 1998 and the film had the cinema-going masses captivated.

The album is the second of Celine’s to hold a Diamond certification in America for sales of more than ten million copies and the second in the UK to receive six Platinum discs for sales of more than 1.8 million copies. Globally, “Let’s Talk About Love” weighs in with a massive thirty one million copies sold, her second and consecutive album to exceed the thirty million mark, thus joining “Falling Into You” as one of the twenty biggest selling albums of all time! Total global sales of her five English language albums released so far was more than ninety million, no other artist had achieved such success in such a small space of time (seven years). What would Celine be celebrating with her next release? Well, it wouldn’t be long before we found out!

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Written by aylshamchris

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