Picks and Pans Review: A New Day Has Come
Celine Dion can chew up a song like Al Pacino chews up a scene. Who else could have done the love theme from Titanic with such teary-eyed gusto? On her first album since taking a two-year sabbatical to start a family with husband-manager Rene Angélil (they welcomed son Rene-Charles in January 2001), motherhood hasn't mellowed Dion's delivery. She still has a tendency to overwork her vocal cords on bombastic ballads in the tradition of "Because You Loved Me" and "My Heart Will Go On." When Dion sings about letting down her defenses and giving in to love on "I Surrender," it's the song that gets belted into submission.
Not that Dion's showy interpretations always work against her; they sometimes help disguise the mediocrity of much of her original adult-contemporary material, which comes from an assortment of songwriters and producers. But the disc's best moments are its subtlest: a haunting, jazzy version of the Nat King Cole standard "Nature Boy," on which she is accompanied only by piano; and the nuanced title tune, an ode to her son, which she delivers with unusual restraint. It shows a new mother's gentle touch.
Bottom Line: A New Day, same Celine