The fact that Taking Chances is her 34th album speaks for itself.
Chris Long 2007
She gets a rough ride, does old Celine. Mention her name to most people and they’ll make some rude comment about her appearance or curl up their lip in disgust at the thought of her music. Yet the fact that Taking Chances is her 34th album speaks for itself. You can knock her as much as you like, but you can’t keep her down.
That’s partially because she’s had the good sense to base herself in Vegas for three years, where they don’t care about fashions or trends, just about success and the ability to put on a sumptuous and over-the-top show… and no-one can deny such things of Celine.
Singers need more than the spotlight though, and even ones who have sold over 200 million albums still want to feel like they have something to offer. So she’s left the lights of Vegas behind, stepped back into the real world and in fairness to her, brought along a clutch of songs that actually may change a few people’s opinion.
In the UK, she’s still best known for her mid-90s power ballads, for moments like "Think Twice" and the interminable "My Heart Will Go On", and while she’s hardly jumped ship and sailed off into weird waters, she has pulled her neck in a bit and sprinkled more subtlety into her songs.
That may be down to her choice of collaborators. Amongst the list of luminaries who twiddle a knob, knock out a lyric or strum a guitar for her are the all-conquering Timbaland, king of R’n’B balladry R Kelly, ex-Evanescence axe wielder Ben Moody, Christina Aguilera and Pink co-writer Linda Perry… and the always entertaining Dave Stewart, whose influence stretches so far that there’s even a lyrical snip of The Eurythemics’ "Here Comes The Rain Again" woven into the title track.
The highlights are two very different songs. In the power ballad corner, she shows off her larynx with a belting take on Heart’s endless queen of soft rock, "Alone". Up against it for the title is the more contemporary "Shadow Of Love", a song with enough disco and fun for Kylie to sing it.
Taking Chances doesn’t quite do what the title suggests, but it does push Celine Dion to the edge of her comfort zone and show an artist who not only wants to remain relevant but is prepared to work hard to stay that way.