Review: Celine Dion, Taking Chances

Taking Chances is the album Clive Davis probably wishes Kelly Clarkson had made.

Celine Dion, Taking ChancesCeline Dion’s Taking Chances is the album Clive Davis probably wishes Kelly Clarkson had made. Dion hooks up with a small legion of the “best” songwriters and producers recoupable record label money can buy for her first English-language album since 2004’s baby-themed opus Miracle. The laborious 16-track record purportedly finds the queen of adult contemporary-turned-Vegas attraction taking chances by modernizing her treacly power ballad sound with lots of overdubbed guitars and of-the-moment collaborators: There’s a welcome grittiness to her vocals on the bluesy “That’s Just the Woman in Me”; the team behind Rihanna’s “Umbrella” provide Dion with an understated ballad in closing song “Skies of L.A.”; and former Evanescence members and Clarkson cohorts Ben Moody and David Hodges serve up a subtle gothic treatment on “This Time” that works well for the singer—not surprising for a woman who once did an effective impersonation of Meat Loaf. But the soft-metal “Can’t Fight the Feeling” is a typically misguided venture for Dion, and Linda Perry and Ne-Yo don’t offer anything of worth on “My Love” and “I Got Nothin’ Left,” respectively. And it’s not just her music that’s gotten a makeover: Look at the album’s frightening cover photo (chiseled face, angular posture, and a giant Tyra Banks hairpiece sitting atop a head half the size) and compare it with the softer cover art of A New Day Has Come. It’s not that Dion hasn’t ever vied for relevance before (there are always a few embarrassing attempts at sounding hip on each album, and always with varying degrees of success)—it’s just usually not so calculated.

 Label: Columbia  Release Date: November 13, 2007  Buy: Amazon

Sal Cinquemani

Sal Cinquemani is the co-founder and co-editor of Slant Magazine. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Village Voice, and others. He is also an award-winning screenwriter/director and festival programmer.

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