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
Live charisma adds human depth to the perfect sheen of her new record
The Swedish band’s back catalogue is made widely available for the first time
Kevin Rowland's wilful otherness makes a potentially very bad idea much more interesting
Not so crazy after all these years
From Afrobeat to psychedelia, from electronica to guitar pop, it's all here on plastic
As grime enters its mature phase, what contribution can Manchester make?
Literate Canadians bond with the audience to inspire a sing-along
After seven years away, the synth-pop return of a great Scottish songwriter
Despite an ill-balanced sound, the Mancunian orchestral/house music mash-up kicks off
The ABC mastermind on how he got his mojo back and finally made 'The Lexicon of Love II'
Richard Fearless returns with a minimalist electronica masterpiece
The latest eclectic global radio show starring Trinidadian legend Calypso Rose