Monday, November 29, 2010

So, Professor Fisher's last post led me to aimlessly look at youtube videos of Celine Dion. College, right? And I can't help noticing a lot of what Wilson says. My background on Celine Dion was pretty minimal before this book, or at least I thought. I, of course, knew she sang "My Heart Will Go On" and felt that I had to know some of her other songs, but none came to mind. I also know that anyone who noticed this tiny book in my room with Celine's shining face on it, immediately made fun of me for owning it-- all I could do was shrug and defend myself by saying it was for a class.

Looking at youtube videos, I realized that I did know quite a few of her songs. Mostly the ones that came out in the late 90s that I probably blindly sang along to as a ten year old. I find the fact that I couldn't recall any of her hits rather telling. Wilson talks about a lot of criticism of Celine being that she has no personality, and this makes sense. I couldn't remember that these songs were sung by Celine because they sound like they could be sung by anyone. I had a better memory of the SNL skit of Celine Dion than of her actual voice or style (SNL).

Looking at some of her music videos, I couldn't but help thinking of Wilson's book. The music video for It's All Coming back To Me Now is pretty ridiculous, schmaltzy, even. And the music video That's The Way It Is seems to be going for a modern, urban vibe. There's a lot of races and ethnicities shown in the video and the lyrics of the song seem to imply that Celine is their quasi-champion, urging the young, hip minorities on in life? I'm not quite sure, but there's definitely something going on.

And it's pretty funny to look at the related or suggested videos on the right. They mostly include Mariah Carey, Barbara Streisand, and Shania Twain.


  1. That SNL skit is hilarious. I feel bad for Gloria Estefan, they played her as a guy! Haha wow.

    Anyways, I must say that Celine does seem a bit loopy, and a lot of what Wilson says makes sense. Looking back at old Celine videos (like the two Liz posted), I can definitely see Wilson's point about her being impersonal and "personality-less." There is a lot going on in "That's the Way it is," (Makes me think of Tupac's original "That's Just the Way it is/Changes" which has a lot more depth to it...i digress). I kind of like Celine's version, and it seems like a motivational song where she is trying to appeal to wider audiences. I ended up you-tubing the Larry King video Wilson mentioned and found a random one as well:

    Larry King Interview:

    Random Celine interview:

    I grew up on a lot of Celine, Gloria Estefan, Streisand, et al. so I can relate to the music. My mom was a really big Celine fan so it kind of rubbed off on me I guess. Celine's voice is beautiful and unique to me, despite what Wilson and other critics say. Maybe her voice is an acquired taste? I don't know, but speaking of taste, I found it interesting how even just the first 20 pages of Wilson connected with what we've been discussing this semester: "Gap between critical and general tastes...musical" (Wilson 15-17).

    His mention of codes and musical subcultures sounds a lot like the process of construction, and how society's representations of people, music, CELINE, cause us to form opinions about the things being represented.

    Maybe "My Heart Will Go On" (which I diligently learned to play on piano as a kid) can be considered a code for Celine Dion?

  2. I had forgotten about that SNL skit. I saw it Back in the Day.

    In any case, I'm no expert on Canadian culture, but it's hilarious that the SNL Celine can't pronounce Shania Twain's name, even though both of them are from Canada.

  3. I started playing the video for That's The Way It Is and my roommate asked me what the hell I was doing...when I said it was for class, she looked puzzled but then revealed to me that she "loves" that song. Mind you, my roommate is a hipster of the most standard variety and can't deal with it when I play any remotely pop-esque music but then broke out with her love for Celine like it wasn't no thang. I guess Celine really bridges the gulf between all peoples....

  4. I always feel kind of bad when I go into class and I'm reminded that I live under a cultural rock, but even I've heard those songs -- and by "heard" I mean that I know them but I never really listened to the lyrics, like we were talking about in class.

    And neither of those songs makes sense.