Celine Dion A New Day has Come

REVIEW: ‘A New Day Has Come’ – Celine Dion

Celine Dion – “A New Day Has Come”

by Christopher Smith

After a break of two years and three years on from the release of her greatest hits album covering the 1990’s, Celine Dion released her sixth English language studio album in early 2002. The album was her first for five years, since the release of “Let’s Talk About Love” and a lot had changed in that time. How would the music buying public react to a new Celine album, after ten years of such astonishing success in the previous decade?

Celine would work with a number of new producers to craft her entry into the 21st century along with some tried and trusted individuals picked up along the way. This new album had to offer something different that hadn’t gone before in order to retain her fanbase as well as attract newcomers, particularly as three years had passed by and, as we all know, a year is a long time in music! So how did it work out…?

1. I’m Alive

The new Celine for the 21st century starts with this ‘lively’ song that builds on the success of “That’s The Way It Is“, hardly surprising as it’s written by Kristian Lundin and Andreas Carlsson! Celine full of energy and blasting her way forward with confidence is the order of the day here. “I’m Alive” could almost be declared as her signature, biographical anthem, if it were not for all those mega hits of the 90’s. The song was released as the second single in the Summer of 2002 and its use in the film ‘Stuart Little 2’ did much to help its success around the world. Peaking at No.11 in the US, No.17 in the UK and reaching the top ten in seventeen countries, classifies “I’m Alive” as a major hit, just as the two videos that were filmed for it. One with Stuart Little, one without!

2. Right In Front Of You

Kara DioGuardi, a rising songwriter who could add Ricky Martin and Kylie Minogue to the start of her discography, contributes to this next song, which again features a lively soundtrack and uplifing lyrics for Celine to enjoy and express in lines like “Love can withstand a storm, in the final hour, we’ll find the joy in living, don’t let go, cause I know pretty soon you will see”. A violin accompanies Celine, which at times feels very Corrs-like. Perhaps that was intentional?

3. Have You Ever Been In Love?

Ballad time. The title says it all really. The song asks if you have and how it felt/feels. Anders Bagge and Peer Astrom (Westlife, Enrique Iglasias) provide this guitar-laced piece of theatre that Celine wrestles with, with passion from the halfway mark, welcoming back ‘that voice’ for a new century, before ending with her usual tenderness and seduction.

4. Rain, Tax (It’s Inevitable)

Well here’s an odd song title! British songwriters Terry Britten and Charlie Dore present this mid-groove for Celine to work with, which is very simplistic musically and very current and fresh for a new decade. It’s very “Shoulda Woulda Coulda” from British singer Beverley Knight (which was released the previous year), so expect something very sassy and funky.

5. A New Day Has Come

Time for the lead single and Celine’s return to music next. Another refreshing tune from songwriter Aldo Nova, with whom Celine had recorded three tracks for her “Falling Into You” album. “A New Day Has Come” blends strings with a mid-tempo beat and synths, courtesy of producer Walter ‘Mariah Carey’ Affanasieff, although two versions were actually released, a more traditional ballad-style version and the ‘racier’ radio mix with added beat (reproduced by Ric Wake) and sparkle. “A New Day Has Come” was released in March 2002 and went top ten in over twenty countries worldwide, including the UK as well as topping the US Adult Contemporary chart for a whopping 21 weeks, and reached No.1 in her home country, her seventh to do so. And if you want to hear the ballad version, skip to track 16!

6. Ten Days

Nova is back, this time with French singers Maxime Le Forestier and Gérald de Palmas for the terrific “Ten Days”, which is produced by Palmas. The song returns us to the fresh sounds of the earlier tracks on this album with more than a little bit of Country seeping into each verse and chorus. Once again, as with “Us” and “If Walls Could Talk“, Celine shows just how amazing a full Country album from her would sound like, which makes this such a candidate for single release. If only…

7. Goodbye’s (The Saddest Word)

Robert “Mutt” Lange, who crafted “If Walls Could Talk“, returns with this track, again with Shaina Twain on backing vocals, which is, yet again, a beautiful Country-style pop ballad. The song deals with the death of a Mother and saying that final goodbye, which one critic observed that Dion “delivers the song with devastating beauty”. The song was released in November 2002 and was a mid-charting hit across Europe, including the UK, where it peaked at No.38. The song made No.11 in Canada and No.27 on the US Adult Contemporary chart.

8. Prayer

No, not “The Prayer” from her Christmas album, a new composition from Corey Hart, purveyor of “Miles To Go” and “Where Is The Love?” from “Let’s Talk About Love“, which is more of a soft-rock ballad that would of fitted in amongst the tunes on “Unison“. There’s a gospel choir to back Celine as she journey’s through the songs five and a half minutes. Something different from Hart this time that ends very sombrely.

9. I Surrender

The ballads are rolling free and easy now after such a promising start. “I Surrender” has much drama and theatrics, so much so that you almost begin to think the producers are really looking to shape Celine into the next Barbra Streisand rather than herself. There’s more gospel singing over the final chorus of this song, which is co-written by Sam Watters, a former member of the group Color Me Badd, who had a number one in 1991 with the song “I Wanna Sex You Up”.

10. At Last

Celine next tackles the classic “At Last”, that’s been recorded so many times since Glenn Miller and his band laid down the original in 1942. Celine adds her name to the list that includes Nat ‘King’ Cole, Bing Crosby and, arguably, its most famous incarnation by Etta James in 1960. She does so with pure style and losing nothing of the temperament of the song, whilst at the same time, making this version very much her own and one to add to the debate on who sings the best version of “At Last”. The song was released as a promotional single only in the US, where it managed to reach No.16 on the Adult Contemporary chart nevertheless.

11. Super Love

Time to ramp up the groove again thanks to songwriter Shelly Peiken (Jennifer Paige, Christina Aguilera), who last worked with The Dion when she wrote “If I Were You” for her eponymous 1992 album. That song was a wistful slice of simplistic beauty, “Super Love” is not. It’s R’n’B infused with a trippy beat as well as giving Celine a break from all those high, loud voice notes, reaffirming her ability to work a sensual, easy going vocal.

12. Sorry For Love

Time to take to the floor, and what a welcome “Sorry For Love” is, just like “Just A Little Bit Of Love” and “Make You Happy” have been in the past. Kara DioGuardi, Bagge and Astrom are the reason for this dancetastic slice of disco-pop in which Celine goes hell-for-leather in the middle-eight with a fourteen second (yes I’ve timed it!) long, high “sorrrrrrrrrrrrry”! Go for it girl, go! If only it had been released as a single… She really, truly, “could never be, sorry for love”! Awesome.

13. Aun Existe Amor

Celine goes Spanish now for a re-recording of her song “L’amour existe encore” (Love Still Exists) from her 1991 album “Dion chante Plamondon”, a collection of songs written by French composer Luc Plamondon, which was released as a single that year and made No.31 on the French chart. This new version adds a Latin twist thanks to the new production from Humberto Gatica, a Celine regular from “The Colour Of My Love“.

14. The Greatest Reward

A rousing, epic ballad now from writers Pascal Obispo and Jorgen Elofsson (Britney Spears, Westlife) and produced by Lundin and Carlsson, which was recorded by French singer Daniel Lévi in 2000 and became a huge hit in his home country as well as in Belgium, under its French title of “L’envie d’aimer”. Celine deals with this track much in the same way as Whitney dealt with “One Moment In Time”, and this English language version could almost certainly be used to urge anyone on to win and go for broke.

15. When The Wrong One Loves You Right

British singer and songwriter Martin Briley provides the uptempo “When The Wrong One Loves You Right” and with production from Richie Jones, expect something lively and sassy, very much like his remix and production of “That’s The Way It Is“. “You can’t resist when the wrong one loves you right. Ooooh oooh oh”, apparently!

16. A New Day Has Come (original version)

17. Nature Boy

Celine often finishes an album with something acoustic or acappella, so her version of Nat ‘King’ Cole’s 1948 “Nature Boy” wraps things up nicely here, set against the backdrop of just a piano and Celine’s andgelic and sometimes ‘smoky’ vocals. It is pure class as it drifts effortlessly away into the light. Bravo.

Celine’s sixth studio album was released at the very end of March 2002 and with the prophetic lead single “A New Day Has Come”, the producers and Epic Records had found a title also. “A New Day Has Come” found favour with music critics across the board, citing its “broader, more adventurous range” of songs than ever before. The album immediately returned Celine to the top of the charts, upon release, in twenty countries worldwide, confirming three years away from the business had done nothing to dent her ability to register a number one album in a new decade and a new century. “A New Day Has Come” has sold over 3.3 million copies in America, not quite the phenomenon’s that had greeted her with “Falling Into You” or “Let’s Talk About Love“, but a major hit nonetheless.

Internationally, the album continued to pull in multiple Platinum discs, including six in her home country of Canada, three in France and two from Australia. The album debuted at number one in the UK, her fourth consecutive to do so and her fifth overall and remained there for three weeks. An eventual UK sale of 500,000 copies again indicated the downsized appeal of her music, becoming her weakest selling album since “Celine Dion” ten years earlier. Epic nor CampCeline could hardly be unduly worried about a global total of twelve million copies, however, which classified “A New Day Has Come” as a big hit, even if the album stopped way short of her previous five releases. Celine was back in the 21st century and still packing a punch. So what next…?

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