Dion continues growth throughout multi-decade career with new album

Loved Me Back to Life allows for experimental duets with contrasting artistic approaches

By Julia Chirls

The wait is over for the Céline Dion fans out there, including me. An international idol, she gives the world of contemporary pop music a reason to scream once more with the release of Loved Me Back to Life on Nov. 1, which makes her first English-language album in six years. It is her 25th album in all and, between the English and French albums, is destined to be among the successes.

Dion has released sensational music in the past, and her never-ending popularity during each of her 33 years in the music industry has grown through the generations. Perhaps she learned a little something when she spent time singing at a young age with her siblings in her parents’ small piano bar called Le Vieux Baril. “I had one dream: I wanted to be a singer.” she says.

In Loved Me Back to Life, and with every past album, Dion manages to produce “now” music, so to speak, while maintaining her unique style and pure sound. In an exclusive interview with Billboard.com, she said of her new album, “I’m not trying to reinvent myself. I don’t want people to think, ‘This is a brand-new Céline,’ but I am at a place in my career where I’m 45, I’m at the peak of my life, and I’ve never felt like this before. I want to have a good time.”

Two guests made a special appearance with Dion in the creation of Loved Me Back to Life. Musical artists with contrasting styles take the stage with her:  Ne-Yo, a Grammy-winning, recording artist, adds a touch of R&B to the song “Incredible,” and Stevie Wonder, a singing legend who needs no introduction, incorporates hints of jazz and soul in “Overjoyed.” In each of the songs, the featured singers adjust effortlessly to Dion’s musical –style, bringing the tunes to a whole new level.

“Loved Me Back to Life” kicks off the album. Initially, the song feels disturbing, and the way Dion sings it reinforces this. The lyrics describe a lonely, empty woman who lacks love in her life. “I was walking dead…need a jump-start, catatonia…I wish that I could disappear.” She is cured of the deep darkness when, finally, love comes into her life. “But you stood by my side…you loved me back to life.” The power of the lyrics celebrates the power of love and support. No matter how profound the pain, love will look through, breaking through the pain to the point when it suddenly disappears.  “Life, life from the coma. The wait is over.”

Moving along the track list, the third song, “Incredible,” features Ne-Yo, and the promise of the fun arrives. It has an easy tempo with a catchy beat and the lyrics send a message encouraging self-confidence to shine whenever it has the opportunity.

“Whole world is watching us now, it’s a little intimidating, but since there’s no way to calm down let’s give them something amazing.”

The first thing I thought of when I listened to this song is: it’s perfect for you and me. We are experiencing a big transition in our lives, and we are working on becoming self-confident adults.

The final song on the album, “Unfinished Songs,” picks up where the message of self-confidence left off in “Incredible.” This song compares everyone to unfinished songs.

“Life’s a story that is all twisted and turned. All that matters is the lessons we learned.”

This song also branches off of the single “Loved Me Back to Life.” When someone is in such pain, they must remember that there’s still a life waiting in line, a story to be written.

“So you’re thinking it’s ending, but it’s only just begun. Your whole life is there, right in front of you.”

As a whole, the song inspires us to make the right choices, make the dreams live, and enjoy the moments while we are in them. “It’s your life, it’s your call. Grab the chance, have it all.” This song grabbed me.

On Nov. 21, she will begin a trek around the world, blessing everyone with her music. The tour will end in Las Vegas on March 19.

Loved Me Back to Life will be available for purchase on iTunes on Nov. 5 for about $12.  I know I’ll have my iTunes gift card ready, right in time for Thanksgivukkah, how about you?  (If you want to know what that means, email me; first one to respond gets a cupcake!)

First-year Julia Chirls is a staff writer. Her email is jchirls@fandm.edu.

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