Picks and Pans Review: Let's Talk About Love

updated 12/08/1997 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/08/1997 01:00AM

Celine Dion

Listen to her new CD, and it is easy to imagine Queen Celine as a tragic figure on a storm-tossed shore, belting her ballads into the teeth of a gale. The dramatics are fitting when she sings "My Heart Will Go On (love theme from Titanic)" as a survivor mourning the lover she lost when the big ship went down. Not so when operatic pretensions mix with lyrics like "I hate you then I love you then I love you then I hate you then I love you more" (from a duet with Pavarotti). Dion is a virtuoso whose vocal power and range are irrefutable, as 25 million fans around the world who bought last year's Falling into You will rally to testify. But she is still too often attracted to the sort of overwrought, baroque pop that she performs on this CD with Carole King ("The Reason"), Barbra Streisand (their duet "Tell Him" also appears on Streisand's new album; see review, page 34) and the Bee Gees ("Immortality"). Her reading of Leo Sayer's 1977 hit "When I Need You" is the standout track, and for one simple virtue: restraint. (550 Music/Epic)

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