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A review of the European release, which contains a slightly different track listing to other parts of the world.
I once worked with somebody who despised Celine Dion so very much, he once suggested that if he met her, he would probably take her out the back and shoot her in the head. It's an extreme reaction, but rather indicative of the way that many people feel about this particular French Canadian chanteuse and her particular style of singing. You may not know it, but you have the Eurovision Song Contest to thank for bringing Celine Dion to the airwaves. She won the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest and has gone on to super stardom from there.
All The Way - A Decade of Song was released way back in 1999. The good news is that means it's probably a distant memory for those who don't like her but the inevitable bad news is that 2009 almost certainly means a new collection to celebrate two decades of song. All The Way was the singer's seventh album release in the UK and her first greatest hits collection, although it cheats slightly in that the disc also features seven recordings that were new at the time. Celine Dion had reached one of the most commercially successful periods in her recording career but her desperation to have children with her (significantly older) husband meant that the album marked a two-year retirement and was therefore something of a personal milestone. It seemed to strike a chord with the record buying public. It hit the top spot in countless countries and with 22 million sales notched up, has gone on to become one of the best selling greatest hits compilations of all time.
In fairness, and in recognition of the singer's remarkable vocal talent, this is an excellent compilation. Combining the big-selling hits of the previous decade with a smattering of distinct, notable new recordings was an inspired decision and All The Way showcases Celine Dion at her very best (or worst, according to your preference). It remains the fourth most played album in my iTunes library, if for no other reason than it will always help me sleep on a train. (But I do love it, immensely, if I'm really honest.)
The 'big' numbers here are the most familiar of Dion's recording career and include the two number one singles Think Twice and My Heart Will Go On. The latter remains one of the best selling singles of all time, largely through its association with the most successful film of all time (Titanic) and sometimes it's hard to forget that it is still an extremely moving song. My Heart Will Go On, better than any Dion track, captures the sadness of a love song in a way that will either make you cry or vomit. In context of the film, however, it remains very much the former and even those who hate Dion remarked that when they watched the film, they couldn't help but be moved by the song. For me, Think Twice is the superior of the two. The song hit the number one spot on its own merits (no film association) and the slightly over-wrought desperate lyrics perhaps capture the true essence of being in love and being let down. Dion's voice resonates with more confidence here too; in My Heart Will Go On, she does rather have a tendency to warble.
The other 'greatest hits' are a slightly curious selection. 1997's studio album Let's Talk About Love spawned four singles in the UK, two of which are featured here, although disappointingly not the duet with Streisand Tell Him, however. Falling Into You resulted in five singles but again only one is featured here and for both albums some of the stronger tracks are missed out. The title track from Falling Into You, for example, is omitted here in favour of more commercial material (Because You Loved Me also came from a film) and the epic It's All Coming Back To Me is excluded too. For sure, All The Way plays things very safe and never really tries anything other than the big ballads for the greatest hits selection. Dion's cover of The Power Of Love is also featured here (I actually prefer it to the Jennifer Rush version) but the excruciating Disney song Beauty and the Beast is also featured here as though the record company simply couldn't resist stuffing in all the film affiliations.
Curiously the album (inadvertently I suspect) demonstrates Dion's capabilities to sing with others (even though the aforementioned Streisand track is missing). The haunting duet with The Bee Gees Immortality appears on the European version of the album (it was never released as a single in the USA) and the softness of the Gibb brothers' vocals seems to complement Dion's more powerful tones extremely well here. She goes a little bit R & B on us with her duet with R Kelly but a far more accomplished duet resides within the newer material where she teams up with Frank Sinatra on a remastered recording of a 1963 version of All The Way. It's one of my favourite tracks on the album, a perfect complement of Dion's rich, feminine tones with the unquestionable brilliance of old blue eyes. The song was performed live for her Vegas shows (well, only one of them was live for obvious reasons) and has become a strong favourite with fans.
The rest of the new material is good too, and although no major commercial releases resulted from this, the songs stand up in their own right. "That's The Way It Is' is the only up-tempo number on the album, written and produced by the team who worked on Britney at the time and a good demonstration that Dion can do music to move to (Misled is better but not included here, sadly.) If Walls Could Talk features Shania Twain on backing vocals, is perhaps a little shrill for some tastes but is as heartfelt as anything else. The album also includes a cover of Roberta Flack's 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face', recently taken on by Leona Lewis, but Dion's version is better; sombre, moody and powerful. 'Then You Look At Me' is another movie song that saw no commercial success in the UK and is likeable enough but Live for the One I Love is better - an English version of the song Vivre from the Notre Dame musical. Notably, there are no French recordings here, even though Pour Que Tu M'aimes Encore made the top 10 in the UK.
All The Way is an extremely safe compilation that showcases Dion's biggest commercial successes. It plays to a very certain audience but the inclusion of some of the biggest selling singles of all time almost assured this a place in history. Since Dion's mini-retirement, the singer has actually released some of her most appealing material, particularly on A New Day Has Come and of course, this is absent here. For completists, the 2008 compilation My Love would be a better choice, but then you'd miss out on some of the new material here so All The Way is still a strong recommendation for a superficial dip into Dion Chronology.
1. Power of love
2. Beauty and the beast
3. Think twice
4. Because you loved me
5. It's all coming back to me now
7. To love you more
8. My heart will go on
9. I'm your angel
10. That's the way it is
11. If walls could talk
12. The first time
13. All the way
14. Then you look at me
15. I want you to need me
There's a real stigma attached to liking Celine Dion these days. Its sort of like admitting that you like Barry Manilow, or Bee Gee's, or worse still - Mariah Carey. Nobody seems to care that she is notoriously good in concert, has a superb and eclectic back catalogue which has covered rock, dance, blues, soul, and the much maligned power ballad. Its also dismissed all too easily that she has achieved phenomenal sales both in the singles chart and the worldwide album charts.
This collection is not so much a Greatest hits collection as it is a brief overview of her best moments combined with a collection of new tracks that didn't quite make the previous album.
Power Of Love
Originally recorded by Jennifer Rush back in the mid 80s, Celine's version is a soaring if somewhat faithful rendition. Its huge buildup results in a gut wrenching chorus that has Celine belting out the lyrics about what a woman will do for her guy when she's in love.
Beauty And The Beast
Celine's 1992 duet with Peabo Bryson was one of her earliest UK hits, and was taken from the film of the same name from that time. Its a tender duet which mulls over Celine's favourite subject - love.
I can recall this record taking eons to get to number 1, and when it eventually did, I was ready to strangle Celine. It remains one of her biggest and most loved hits, and talks about a relationship that is nearing its end and a woman begging her man to rethink his decision before he says it out.
Because You Loved Me
Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer made out to this song. At least on screen. In the film Up Close And Personal. Its a somewhat turged four minutes as the song never really reaches its promised heights. But in its place on this album, its deserving.
Its All Coming Back To Me
One of the finest tracks Celine has recorded, this edited version was produced by Meatloaf's main man Jim Steinman. And its telling, as the song speeds up and slows down with Celine battling gamely to keep up at times. But its a terrific song that evokes images of love lost in some far away gothic land.
Funnily enough, as I mentioned them early, Bee Gee's are on hand for production and vocal duties on this gorgeous track. It barely goes anywhere, but its excellent in its simplicity, and the harmonies are everybit as good as you would expect them to be on a Bee Gee's number. Still, this show belongs to Celine as her voice has never been in more controlled form.
To Love You More
International hit To Love You More is a strange song that hasn't dated very well. Complete with its orchestral arrangement, it has Celine catawalling all over creation, but it doesn't really achieve anything other than giving Celine the opportunity to exercise her lungs. There are more apt tracks from her career that could have found themselves here in its place.
My Heart Will Go On
What kind of Celine collection would it be without the song that launched a thousand ships, and sank just one. My Heart Will Go On really has gone on and on and on.... You get the picture. Anyway, its Celine once again on form, and she has rarely looked better than she did in the video for this song. The finale of the song has Celine once again showing what a powerful vocalist she is.
I'm Your Angel
R Kelly joins Celine for an outing here on this boring low key track. There's nothing really more to say about it, except that its the weakest track on the album, and Celine's worst duet.
Thats The Way It Is
Pop is the order of the day for this summery upbeat number, as Celine empathises with a loved one. Celine's singles rarely venture far from the typical ballad, but occasionally she comes up trumps with something that is good enough to give the pop brigade a run for their money. And the fact that she's a better vocalist than most of them cant harm either.
The six remaining tracks are new songs that haven't seen releases on previous albums are; If Walls Could Talk, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, All The Way, Then You Look At Me, I Want You To Need Me, and Live, one of which is a duet with the excellent late Frank Sinatra. Celine's version of The First Time is a terrific version of the track that actually saw her score another hit in the UK singles chart.
Celine's voice often verges on hystrionics, but sometimes a song requires her to tone it down, and control herself. Immortality is one of the best examples of Celine Dion showing an unusual tenderness. The best of her vocal often shows up when she is singing in her native tongue - French, but just now and then an English recording will allow her to do the same.
If there is a complaint about this collection, its that its shamefully incomplete. I can agree with leaving off minor hits from a Best Of Collection if there is such a large list of songs for the final cut. However, with only 9 songs at the time of release being singles, there is really no excuse. There are huge hits missing such as The Reason, Only One Road, All By Myself to name just a few. A Greatest Hits therefore is long overdue. However, as a collection for fans who might have most of the material, its nice that she aired 7 new tracks on the album.
All in all, this is a decent collection of songs from one of Canada's biggest exports.
Celine Dion.... I have one word to say to those idotic people who doubted her... ha... because after 10 years she's still going strong with yet another number 1 album... but not just any normal album... no... the greatest hits album. Here's a review of it. As you may have found there is not ONE bad album by Celine Dion. Top producers, songwriters, management etc. for a top singer!!!! All the way (A decade of song) must be one of the ultimate BEST Celine Dion albums. 1.The power of love The Jennifer Rush original which really puts Celine's voice to the test!!! Excellently sung but only reached a disappointing number 5 in the UK single charts!!!! Anyway a great start to a great album!!! 2. Beauty and the Beast You have to be good to sing a theme song to a Disney film! Beauty and the Beast which is the childrens classic sung by Celine and Peabo Bryson is one of those Celine songs you just cannot get enough of... this song reached number 1 in America and the UK's number 3! 3. Think Twice This just HAD TO BE on the album... Celine's first UK number one Single which was number 1 for about 3-5 weeks!!! Released in 1993 this song is still played on radio stations worldwide and is yet another one of the ultimate Celine songs!!! 4. Because you loved me UK number 4 (somehow). Yet again a massive theme song to a massive film - Up close & Personal. This song is always being played in weddings, christenings, funerals, it's everywhere!!! One of the greatest love songs of all time. 5. It's all coming back to me now One of the powerful Celine songs. UK number 5 and US number 2... an excellent song which yet again has to be included on the greatest hits album!!! 6. Immortality Written by the great Bee Gees this is one of the weaker Celine songs despite reaching number 3 in the UK top 40 and number 2 in the US!!! Judge it for yourself. 7.To love you more
You may not have heared of this one but it was a massive hit in Japan reaching the top of the charts for 7 weeks!!! With Taro Hackassee playing Violin this song is top!!! 8. My heart will go on From the greatest film of all time 'Titanic' this song is Celine's biggest hit. Reaching number 1 all around the world it has prooved to be the greatest love song of our time!!!! A great acheivement. 9. I'm your angel Celine singing lead vocals with the US's R. KELLY. One of the least popular Celine songs but one of her greatest hits!!! NEW SONGS ON THE ALBUM 10. That's the way it is - UK number 5 11. If walls could talk 12. The first time ever I saw your face - UK number 14 13. All the way - with Sir Frank Sinatra 14. Then you look at me 15. I want you to need me 16. Live ---- That's the way it is & If walls could talk are the best of the new songs, and Celine must be great to have to sing with Sir Frank Sinatra... So overall it's a great album with great songs!!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Power Of Love
2 Beauty And The Beast - Dion, Celine & Peabo Bryson
3 Think Twice
4 Because You Loved Me
5 It's All Coming Back To Me Now
6 Immortality - Dion, Celine & Bee Gees
7 To Love You More
8 My Heart Will Go On
9 I'm Your Angel - Dion, Celine & R. Kelly
10 That's The Way It Is
11 If Walls Could Talk
12 First Time I Ever Saw Your Face
13 All The Way - Dion, Celine & Frank Sinatra
14 Then You Look At Me
15 I Want You To Need Me
16 Live For The One I Love