On November 5, Céline Dion will release her newest album, Loved Me Back To Life. In anticipation of the album’s release, each day of the countdown will feature one of my personal favorite Céline songs along with chart facts and personal stories.
50. “I Believe In You (Je crois en toi)”
From the album On ne change pas
With two operatic duets under her belt by 2006 — having already recorded with Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli — a duet with Italian quartet Il Divo did not break new ground. However, it was the first of her duets in which she sang in French, and remains the only French/English duet in her catalog. “I Believe In You” first charted in the United States and in Europe in 2006, then hit the top ten in Portugal two years later.
49. “Pour que tu m’aimes encore” / “If That’s What It Takes”
From the albums D’eux and Falling Into You
Originally released on 1995 French-language album D’eux, “Pour que tu m’aimes encore” became the year’s best-selling single in France. Along with two other songs on the album, “Je sais pas” (“I Don’t Know”) and “Vole” (“Fly”), the song was reworked into an English version with the same melody, retitled “If That’s What It Takes” and included on her hugely-successful 1996 release, Falling Into You. “If That’s What It Takes” was one of my first introductions to Céline, having found it as one of the highlights of the album after listening to it in my mom’s CD collection at a young age.
48. “River Deep, Mountain High”
From the album Falling Into You
Céline first put her stamp on Ike & Tina Turner’s 1966 single “River Deep, Mountain High” in 1994, performing the song live on David Letterman. Following the performance, the song was included on Falling Into You, produced by the award-winning Jim Steinman. Upon first listening to the song, I found it an uncharacteristically upbeat number among what I had known of her discography at the time, but the energy and momentum really pushes through the entire song and makes it a constantly fun listen.
47. “Tout l’or des hommes”
From the album 1 fille & 4 types
Céline’s folk-tinged 2003 album 1 fille & 4 types holds a special place for me as the first full French-language album of hers that I had heard. After enjoying her music through middle school, I chose to learn French in high school in part because I had enjoyed the sound of the language as she sang it on a few songs I had already heard. Upon finishing two years of French, I spent three weeks in France touring with an international jazz program, and purchased 1 fille & 4 types before I left. As soon as I got home to a CD player, I listened to the album for the first of many times that summer, led off by “Tout l’or des hommes.”
46. “Qui peut vivre sans amour ?”
From the album Sans Attendre
Céline’s third single from Sans Attendre, her 2012 Francophone release, was a diamond in the rough in that it showed a modern, electric sound within an album of more tender, classic-sounding covers. The low rumbles of the electric guitar, heavy snare hits on the offbeats of each measure, and string lines build under easily the most belting Céline does on the album for a composition that nicely bridges the gap into the Loved Me Back To Life era.
From the album A New Day Has Come
The second of three five-minute songs on A New Day Has Come, “Prayer” begins with a quiet first verse, with only piano and “single cello” accompaniment. From there, it evolves with the addition of a full choir and string orchestra. Though the lyrics leave a little to be desired, the musical aspects of “Prayer” always appealed to me, especially by visualizing the sonic progression of the song as it reached its triumphant final chorus.