In the red corner we have Celine Dion. In the green corner we have Lady Gaga. Let the fight begin, says Conor Behan!
It’s been seven years since Celine Dion released an English language album and on Loved Me Back To Life she belts her way across an impressive clutch of songs. Her commitment to cheese aside, there’s a few surprises. The title track is a Sia-penned number that’s like the big sister to Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’. A duet with Ne-Yo on ‘Incredible’ is pop perfection, while ‘Somebody Loves Somebody’ offers up some much needed Kelly Clarkson-style sass. Sadly, the middle-of-the-road balladry sees things come unstuck frequently (such as the mawkish cover of Janis Ian’s ‘At Seventeen’), but when she’s on fire, Dion still delivers. 3/5
Her pop crown may be slipping somewhat but on ARTPOP Lady Gaga manages to remind you that big choruses are still her forte. Electronic pop underpins proceedings from the camp frivolity of ‘Donatella’ to the whirring aggression of ‘Swine’. But there’s sex on Gaga’s mind too. linky cuts like ‘Do What U Want’ and ‘Sexxx Dreams’ introduce a new kind of strut to her sound alongside enormous hooks. At times the whole thing crumbles under it’s own pretentiousness, but thankfully, from the somber ‘Dope’ to the giddy sheen of ‘Applause’, ARTPOP flies more than it falters. 4/5
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