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'Surprise Surprise!' Unequivocally the Best Album of Her Career
on 5 November 2007
'Taking Chances,' Celine Dion's 2007 English language release can only stand to serve as the best work in her long and illustrious career--no small accomplishment. Over 26 years Celine Dion has released in excess of 24 solid hours of original recorded material in six languages. So when it was announced that her new album would be something different--edgy and playful, risky and unique--one had to wonder what else she could bring to the table.
Well, as it turns out: A lot.
Packed into 16 solid tracks, Celine runs the musical gambit from 80s ballad covers to R&B, Gospel to the edgy Rock that was promised. And don't worry, there are even a few traditional-style Celine ballads thrown in the mix for good measure.
But its far more than the genre landscape that sets 'Taking Chances' apart from Celine Dion's 33 previous full length releases. The lyrics are simply far and away the best Celine has ever had to work with. The subjects of the songs are as varied as they are focused and detailed. Astonishingly devoid of tired clichés, the lyrics tell real stories with beautiful images. The result is a foundation of memorable, catchy lyrics upon which a wide instrumentation and Celine's masterful vocals build songs that simply stand up and stand out.
Particular highlights of the album include a remake of Heart's classic 'Alone.' Celine breathes new life into the song and takes complete ownership of the material with her powerful voice. 'Eyes On Me,' might be her most adventurous undertaking since 'Refuse to Dance' on 1993's 'The Colour of My Love.' After a few careful remixes 'Shadow of Love' could be the hottest thing to hit dance clubs in the last decade, and 'Ain't Got Nothin' Left' will leave listeners stunned by the apt attitude Celine works into her voice. The hoarse, gravelly--yes, GRAVELLY--vocals on 'That's Just The Woman In Me' defy all expectations and show us that the veteran chanteuse is still learning some new tricks.
But the song that may best describe the album--and Celine Dion's career--is 'Surprise Surprise.' Appropriately, the chorus taunts "Just when you think you've got me figured out/Just when you think you know me well/Baby you barely even broke the ice/My river runs white/And you're not in sight/But you're closer than you were."
In recent years it has been difficult to watch Celine Dion struggle to remain relevant. Since 2003 she has released a string of less than satisfying 'concept' albums that, while containing gems of their own, have felt rushed and tired. 'Taking Chances' defies this sad precedent and will certainly catapult the chanteuse back to the top where she belongs. This album is a window into the world of a mature woman who knows exactly what she wants, exactly what she's got, exactly who she is, and exactly what she's doing.