Celine Dion – “One Heart”
Just one year on from the release of “A New Day Has Come“, Celine Dion surprised just about everyone with ANOTHER studio album! On the face of it, it looked liked like a hurried production, but when you look a little closer, all was not what it seemed… Yes, there were new tracks, but there were also tracks from “A New Day Has Come“. What was going on?
Many of the same production team and writers were back from the previous album contributing a much more dance enthused record, Celine’s most brazen attempt yet at a complete pop-dance album. The whole project centred around her version of Roy Orbison’s “I Drove All Night“, which was used for a Daimler/Chrysler car commercial that ran throughout 2003-04. So how does ‘DanceCeline’ shape up…?
1. I Drove All Night
Celine’s version of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly’s “I Drove All Night” is the most uptempo and raciest yet. Originally recorded by Roy Orbison in 1987, it was made famous by Cyndi Lauper two years later when she released the song as the lead single from her 1989 album “A Night To Remember”. Celine’s version capitalises on her vocal strengths which mixes perfectly with Peer Åström’s dancey production, which Chrysler cars seized upon when they signed Celine to a $14m deal to promote their latest model, using the song. Released in March 2003, this third version of “I Drove All Night” set the chart alight, reaching number one in Belgium, Canada and Sweden, as well as a number two placing on the US dance chart and No.45 on the singles chart. The track made No.27 in the UK, considerably lower than the two previous versions, which had both reached No.7 in 1989 and 1992 respectively. This is still (in my view) a more than credible offering of the song that also ‘ignites’ DanceCeline2003!
2. Love Is All We Need
Max Martin takes over songwriting and production duties for the next three tracks, so expect something lively, funky and fresh, and it begins with “Love Is All We Need”, a groovy and sassy melody in which Celine’s vocal sticks to just a handful of keys and notes and gets a rest from all the big ones. It’s certainly fresh and snappy and leaves just as quickly and as its announced arrival.
“Faith” is more middle of the road country-pop with a gorgeous guitar backing track, perfect for a ride on a hot Summer day with the roof off. Celine believes “we can make it through”. That IS called “faith”. Celine asks that you “take me as I am, so please have faith”. We do, especially with this wonderful, understated track, that was released as the fifth and final single at the end of 2003, although only in Canada, where it peaked at No.37. An album highlight, hopefully you will agree and have ‘faith’!
4. In His Touch
Martin’s third consecutive number is a down-tempo pop ballad that once again ‘cans’ Celine’s voice allowing only the tender and loving notes out to perfectly accompany this lush piece of sweet candy. Celine gets tough too with her most damning and rude lyric yet: “if you wanna win my heart, baby just shut your mouth!”. Well, I say! And it’s all supposed to be ‘in his touch’. That’s when “a man loves a woman”. Aww.
5. One Heart
Back to the floor with “One Heart”, thanks to Kara DioGuardi, who contributed to the last album. This is more buttercream country-pop with a great, finger clicking rhythm throughout. “Everyone needs something to hold on to” repeats Celine a number of times. That something is “One Heart”. “If you got one heart, you are following” it seems. The song was released internationally as the third single in the Summer of 2003, reaching No.2 in Spain, No.13 in Canada and No.27 in the UK, equalling “I Drove All Night’s” chart placing there.
6. Stand By Your Side
Paul Barry and Mark Taylor of METRO provide the next track, which is certainly not of their usual standard. Unlike “Believe“, “On A Night Like This” or “When The Heartache Is Over“, “Stand By Your Side” is a country style ballad with a Latin style guitar accompaniment that at times feels like “La Isla Bonita” but would like to be “You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain. While the rest of the world got “One Heart” as a single, the US got “Stand By Your Side”, which made it to No.13 on the Adult Contemporary chart with Celine in whimsical, mellow mood and again, restraining all that vocal prowess.
Åström and Bagge are back for more seasoned country-pop with the beautiful “Naked” which could almost be part two of “Faith”, musically and in execution. I’ve always wanted a full country album from Celine just as much as a dance-pop long player and this is feeding it to me track after track after track. I would love to of seen “Naked” released as a single, the highlight comes 2:21 into the song when Celine releases notes hitherto never known or heard before! “I’m trembling and shaking” she confesses. So am I, so am I!
8. Sorry For Love
What’s this? Surly not the “Sorry For Love” from “A New Day Has Come” twelve months earlier? The pop-dance floor filler with THAT fourteen second hell-for-leather note in the middle-eight? Yes, it is the very same “Sorry For Love”! The only difference is this time round it’s more subdued and relaxed, devoid of bass and brass. Celine’s vocal is re-recorded in line with the more down-tempo style of this version. So what of THAT fourteen second long mega note? Well, it’s reduced to three seconds here! Good try, but give me the ‘original’ version from last year (2002) any day. Now I feel sorry for “Sorry For Love”.
9. Have You Ever Been In Love?
And here’s another one from “A New Day Has Come“! The only difference this time is there has been no remix or reproduction, it’s the same song! Why? Who knows? So I won’t review it here, again, you will have to read about “Have You Ever Been In Love?” elsewhere! The song did receive a commercial release, however, as the second single from this album, reaching No.2 on the US Adult Contemporary chart and No.3 in Canada.
Back to the ‘floor now with another slice of pure unadulterated pop-dance fantastica courtesy of none other than Cathy Dennis! Fresh from her global success with “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” and “Toxic”, Dennis teams up with songwriter Greg Wells and producers Ric Wake and Richie Jones to bring this overjoyed anthem to the recording studio and how grateful we are for that. Along with “Faith” and “Naked”, this is by far one of the standout tracks of this album, even if it could of fallen off the back of Kylie’s “Fever“. Repeat and repeat again!
11. Coulda Woulda Shoulda
Kristian Lundin and Andreas Carlsson (two of those behind “That’s The Way it Is“) provide a follow up of sorts now with the start-stop “Coulda Woulda Shoulda”. But this effort sadly comes some way behind the aforementioned newie from Celine’s “All The Way” greatest hits package. It’s listenable but maybe I’m expecting a mirror or a copy of their 1999 composition. It’s also short, so don’t blink too often, otherwise you’ll miss it completely!
12. Forget Me Not
“Forget Me Not” starts off elegantly and moves into a sweet, funky down-tempo ballad. The song is written and produced by Guy Roche with additional lyrics from Shelly Peiken (“If I Were You“, “Super Love”), although this deity is more akin to the former rather than the racey latter. Celine has no effort required at all for the vocals and the song breezes along with very few tone changes.
13. I Know What Love Is
Time for a ballad proper, with the minimum of instrumentation, Celine coasts toward another end of an album courtesy of long-standing collaborator Ric Wake. “I Know What Love Is” almost feels like it has its roots in “The Colour Of My Love” and could easily of been another track re-used from a previous album just to make up the song numbers after just a year since the last album!
14. Je t’aime Encore
The final song from this album comes from Celine’s French language album “1 fille & 4 types”, which was released in 2004. The song is a mixture of English and Celine’s natural tongue and is heavily laden with electric guitars, although don’t be deceived, this is not a rock song. It was released as a single in Francophone countries where it reached No.2 on the Quebec chart, No.14 in Belgium and No.6 in France. A somewhat solemn end to what had been a great pop-dance/country record until now.
The album that would become titled “One Heart”, was released at the end of March 2003, just a year after “A New Day Has Come“. It met with mixed reaction from critics with some describing her association with Britney producer max martin as “desperate”, while others welcomed the new dance style that moved away from so many big ballads that had won Celine her fanbase in the 1990’s. “One Heart” was a hit, however, topping the chart in Canada, France, Denmark, Greece and Switzerland. It peaked at No.2 in America, where it went on to sell over two million copies and No.4 int he UK, where it has sold 200,000 copies.
Whilst a global sale of five million hardly spelled disaster, it represented a notably lack of interest in this project and a further downturn in Celine sales from twelve months earlier. In fact, “One Heart” was her weakest selling album since “Celine Dion” in 1992. Soon after, Celine would begin what would turn out to be a lengthy residency in Las Vegas and her next album would be some time away. But for now, a reinvigorated more stylised Celine was happy to take to the floor and dance the night away. Et pourquoi pas!
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