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Originality has never been Celine Dion’s greatest quality. She has led her career by making generally cautious choices, staying within the limits of fairly classic pop and great romantic anthems. It is therefore not surprising that she once again remains on the beaten track for Love Again, a romantic comedy that my colleague Marc-André Lussier describes as “a sentimental bluette with 50 shades of beige”.

What surprises us, however, is that on the five new songs on this disc, we do not find the Céline we know. On the song Love Again—as on three of the other four new tracks—her singing has been distorted to the point where it’s barely recognizable. His once powerful, flexible and twirling voice, capable of fragility as well as epic flights, has been erased like never before using digital lutherie tools.

It’s sometimes subtle, like on Love of My Life, an almost Disneyesque ballad that opens the record. It’s obvious on Love Again, where Celine’s voice has something robotic about it. It is also on The Gift, a song in the style of current Latin pop – very catchy and quite successful, by the way – which could however be the work of dozens of other singers that we make up with Autotune. The track where Céline most closely resembles Céline is Waiting On You, inspired by 1950s American pop and seasoned with gospel soul sauce.

The contrast between the Céline we know and the one we hear here is all the more striking since the album also includes several emblematic songs by the Quebec diva such as It’s All Coming Back To Me Now, Where Does My Heart Beat Now , All By Myself and A New Day Has Come. Airs that precisely highlight his real voice, with what it may have of vintage, but always true.

Could it be that, beyond an artistic choice intended to bring Céline up to date, this recourse to digital tools was necessary to erase the new fragilities of her voice? Could it be that these first new songs in four years reveal without showing how much the singer is diminished by the disease? These questions inevitably arise. One thing is certain, those who were hoping for a reunion with Céline may be disconcerted by this record.