Thursday, September 29, 2011

"The Power Of Love:" A Whispy Song, A Waste Of A Single.

The Good: Not a bad song
The Bad: Overproduced, Short (does not use the medium well).
The Basics: A fine song for those who like romantic pop ballads which are heavily produced, “The Power Of Love” is a disappointing use of the c.d. medium as a single.

When it comes to the works of Celine Dion, there are few songs that will probably make it onto each and every one of her compilations the way that her song “The Power Of Love” does. The song was Dion’s first multinational hit and the song that defined her breakout as a performer in the United States. It is, in many ways, the embodiment of the pop ballad and it is almost universally recognizable, even when it is remade as elevator music. It is also an utter waste as a c.d. single.

The c.d. single of “The Power Of Love” is a one-track release with the album version of The Power Of Love on it. The c.d. single offers no additional tracks, no remixes, no alternate versions, nothing. This is a regular c.d. upon which only 4:48 of music is imprinted. And while “The Power Of Love” is a good song, it is schmaltzy and Celine Dion fans – and casual listeners – will have no good reason to hunt this down as it appears on at least three full albums (that come instantly to my mind).

That said, “The Power Of Love” illustrates the lack of creative control Celine Dion has over the works she performs. She is a performer, not an artist and nowhere is it more clear than on this single. In this case, the sole song on the disc was written by four writers, none of whom were Dion. As well, Dion plays no instruments and she was not involved in the production of the single at all. That said, what she does on “The Power Of Love” is sing.

Celine Dion has a pretty amazing soprano voice and on “The Power Of Love,” most of her natural voice is actually evident. Unfortunately for listeners, while she has the swells and stanzas dominated with her natural voice, there are moments – especially at the beginning – where the vocals have a more produced sound to them. Ironically, this is not when she is mumbling through the opening lines of the song, but rather right before the first refrain. In the refrain, she illustrates amazing pitch and great lung capacity.

But the ridiculous aspect of “The Power Of Love” (other than its short duration) comes in its production. This is a keyboard-driven song with a programmed synclavier which gives the song a feel of actually possessing a string section. While there is an electric guitar – none of these played by Dion – that comes in to give the slow ballad more of a pop-rock edge, the keyboards dominate. And the problem is that when it seems Dion has the most to show off with her powerful, trademark vocals, this is when the instrumental accompaniment drowns her out and prevents the listener from getting the full magnitude of her voice.

As well, those who are not a fan of sappy pop love songs will find there is little to recommend “The Power Of Love.” The song is poetic, with lines like “Even though there may be times / It seems I’m falling away / Never walked away, I have / ‘Cause I am always by your side” which are then hampered by a pretty banal rhyme scheme in the refrain. Indeed, when it is set up with “’Cause I’m your lady,” the lines that follow, including “And you are my man / Whenever you reach for me / I’m gonna do all that I can. . .” are pretty predictable. The lines are clearly heartfelt and inoffensive – this is a love song, not a song about “getting some” – but they are uncomplicated. This makes for a good hit song (simplicity bodes well for the memories of the masses), but is not honestly a timeless song that is likely to be covered by other artists in decades to come.

That said, Celine Dion’s vocal interpretation of the lines others have wrote for her is not inherently bad and one finds themselves listening to this simple single wishing very much that they could hear an acoustic version of it. Sadly, that is not to be on this single. It is just the commonly-available studio-produced track. Nothing more, nothing less. Hold out for an album with the song on it.

For other works by Celine Dion, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Celine Dion
The Colour Of My Love
Falling Into You
Let's Talk About Love
The Collector's Series, Volume 1
A New Day Has Come
One Heart
These Are Special Times
Miracle: A Celebration Of New Life
Taking Chances
I Drove All Night (single)
My Love: Essential Collection
My Love: Ultimate Essential Collection


For other music reviews, please visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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