Listening to this right now, and typing as I listen - I'm sure I'm not the only one that gets this feeling, as cringey as it is
- it just puts me right back in 2007. Generally speaking, I have mixed memories from 2007/2008, but this is one of the brightest spots for me. The first proper Céline era I saw through from start to finish. I can remember waiting for Taking Chances to premier, and when it finally did, waiting with baited breath for the high notes [I was a proper stan back then and wouldn't accept anything less than the best
The album kicks off with the aptly titled Taking Chances
, which whilst a deviation from what she normally puts out, is essentially just a continuation - a step up, if you will - of the One Heart album sound. I enjoyed it, and still enjoy it to this day. Not quite sure that the hairdo was the correct call though.
We then breeze into the heart-stopping Alone
- a lot of longtime Céline fans loved this, I personally felt that it was an album weak-spot at the time. That said, those vocals are absolutely amazing, and watching her perform this live on Oprah, with tears in her eyes, was something else. I think that you have to understand the story of Céline Dion to fully grasp how much she connected with this. The final product - for me - was too polished, and whilst I like faux-rock Céline, this lacked something [the vocals aside, which I will again protest are absolutely fantastic].
Next up, we have the second UK single, the ethnically-tinged Eyes On Me
. Detested this at first - it was just too different for my liking back then, Céline was built on ballads and I couldn't get on board with this. That said, I love it these days. It was just so different for her and was proof that she could put her vocals to anything and it would sound golden. Whilst it did peak outside the top 100 in the UK - no promotion, no video, no radio add date until like 6 months after it was released, no official download release - I think it could've done big business for her if her team had got behind it.
Moving on, we have a personal favourite of mine - one of my all-time favourite Céline songs, the sensational My Love
! Taking Chances was released November 2007, and my Grandad was very ill with stomach cancer around this time. He passed away on December 7th of that same year, and if you listen to the lyrics of this, I think you'll probably gain an understanding of why I connected with this so much. Heartfelt, showstopping and damn emotional - its also not polished in the slightest, with the vocals sounding very sharp and rough. Also, if you watch the recording session for this, you'll see a side of Céline that many haven't seen - one of her finest moments in music for me.
Onto happier times now, we reach Shadow of Love
! One of her best up-tempos of all-time IMO - stands right up next to her best from the 90's and early 00's. The crescendo that is the chorus is just something else, reaching some of her highest notes. I can remember back when she launched the Taking Chances World Tour, she included this in the setlist when they kicked it off in South Africa. However, by the time they reached Europe, they'd dropped it, I think in favour of some dodgy Queen medley. Mistake. Really addictive chorus, her vocals soar. One of my favourites from the album.
One thing I quite liked about the album was the flow of songs, as you glide from the slow [My Love] to the fast [Shadow of Love] to the mid-tempo smash that is Surprise Surprise
. I thinking looking back on the album, this is in my top 3 favourites...she sings "tonight, I'm a chameleon..." and bitch is right! The diversity is real, and those vocals are real. Amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing. Such great memories from this track.
Next up, we have This Time
- a song that tackles domestic violence. IMO, she should've stayed away from this. Great vocals and great song, but I just don't buy the domestic violence message when its delivered by Céline.
Moving swiftly on, we come to another album highlight, the ethereal, and slightly gospel-tinged New Dawn
! Probably the second of my top 3 from the album, absolutely LOVE this. This was the direction I wanted from Céline - the vocals are top notch, the delivery is phenomenal, and the production is fantastic. I particularly love her ad-libbing in between verses/choruses. I would have killed to have heard her sing this in 1995.
And I'm just ranting at length.
Might add some more commentary at a later stage. For me, this is her best album since A New Day Has Come, everything that Loved Me Back To Life could've been. This was her last proper era - we had music videos, proper single releases, amazing promotion, and a wonderful world tour.
With a rumoured new album on the horizon for next year and a new manager, I hope we get something akin to this era.