Release Date: 15 November 2019
Label: Columbia Records
Setting a new, current and relevant pace with Courage is ballad Queen, Celine Dion. Loved by millions, Dion knows exactly how to target her audience and can never be faulted on her unique vocal sound that can’t be mistaken for anyone else, just as sure as I can’t find fault in her attempt to adapt to future trends and modernise her vintage-style singing technique in this new album of love, courage, and loss.
Surprisingly, it’s not only her fashion choices that have changed, going from sophisticated to sexy and empowered, but also a change within some of her tracks such as opening number, Flying On my Own, which brings a newly added groove to her music as a whole. Ibiza beach-worthy and rhythmic are two ways in which I never thought I’d describe a Dion song but I was surprised. Such feeling can continue to track 2, Lovers Never Die which sounds like she’s pitching for the latest Bond theme. It’s gripping, sway-worthy and Dion at her best as she explores and fluctuates between her entire vocal register before the haunting ending. It can certainly remind some of former James Bond theme tracks such as Adele’s aptly titled, Skyfall (2012) and Sam Smith’s, Writing’s on the Wall featured in Spectre (2015).
Courage is not to be mistaken for anything other than a pop album, featuring her usual jam-packed ballads, but it certainly differs from her 11 previous English records with her most recent before Courage being the 2013 release, Loved Me Back to Life. After 6 years, Celine’s latest project has burst onto the music scene, co-written with special guests; David Guetta, Sia and Giorgia Tuinfort. That might explain her willingness to combine a slightly evident dance-floor-eske, R&B vibe with wider use of instruments, such as synthesizers and drum and bass. This can be heard in other tracks such as, Look at us Now and Nobody’s Watching, where Dion sings ‘I wanna dance, dance, dance like nobody’s watching’. It appears in this album that the singer has tried to show how she can be relevant and updated in her genre, ultimately meaning that younger generations can revisit her as an appealing artist.
As always, the French-Canadian superstar excels in her ability to sing well but has unfortunately regurgitated some cliché lyrics and piano-led ballads (not to leave her lasting audience out), slotted in among the new and exciting flow of her records direction. However, the recognised pop Diva never fails to tug on the heart-strings at least once and can be heard singing about her late husband in the title track Courage featuring ‘I would be lying if I said I’m fine. I think of you at least a hundred times.’
Courage is essentially a heartfelt ‘comeback’ album and is certainly nostalgic.