CD: Céline Dion – Sans Attendre | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Céline Dion – Sans Attendre
Park those prejudices, Céline Dion’s return to her native language has some delights in store
Before approaching any Céline Dion album, a number of obstacles have to be navigated: the anticipation that over-singing is on the horizon, or the knowledge of her Trilby-like relationship to Svengali René Angélil. Most of all though, it’s the fact that she’s so far off the cool scale she might as well be from the Planet Naff rather than Québec. And the album’s slightly cheesy chick lit-style graphics don’t help. But life is strewn with moments which confound. Sans Attendre, her first French-language album for five years, isn’t going to stop the world turning. But it is good.
In general, Sans Attendre embraces a glossy, modern chanson Française with songs that have yearning, rolling melodies. The mid-pace is never breached, and any chance to dive into a soaring chorus is taken. In restating her Gallic status, Dion sings duets with Johnny Hallyday, the now-deceased Henri Salvador (via some magic), and the legendary Québécoise artist Jean-Pierre Ferland (who co-wrote another track). Her early inspiration Luc Plamondon also contributes a song, as do Maxime Le Forestier, Miossec and Grand Corps Malade. In Anglo-Saxon terms, this is the equivalent of Elvis, Bacharach & David, Elvis Costello, Paul Weller and Plan B mucking in.
What’s most striking about Sans Attendre is its restraint. The swirling “Celle qui m'a tout appris” could have transformed itself into a power ballad, but instead it’s about the melody and mood. Even the massed kiddie chorus on “Le Miracle” is kept in check and doesn’t stray into the glutinous. And as for Hallyday, he reins in his tendency towards the full force. “Je n’ai pas besoin d’amour” is an intimate, aural swoon. Give this a chance, because it’s stylish modern pop of a type that begs to be heard beyond the world it’s addressing.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
It's music you've heard before, but it never sounded like this
Noisy Americans produce a feral blues masterpiece
Album number three from hip hop's controversial pop empress
A festive launch for our regular vinyl reviews
The album of the year was released TODAY? Better believe it...
John Grant’s past catches up with him
Amongst a plethora of whip-smart releases Nick Mulvey's debut wins out
Retro-futurist nostalgia proves a festive treat with the Human League
An open Swedish mind and well-tuned ear creates a Christmas soundtrack of sumptuous eclecticism
Jolly festive folk concert from Fairport Convention's annually recurring spin-off
What does Christmas with the funk legends sound like? Any other day…
Exclusive images from the Sing Blue Silver tour 30 years ago