Céline Dion - These Are Special Times (1998)

Reason for Listening:
#142 on the Billboard 200 (Week of 20191221). Holiday album.
Last Week: 135 | Peak: 2 | Weeks on Chart: 77.
Billboard Listing: These Are Special Times - Celine Dion - [below album cover]

In response to the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly and the #MuteRKelly movement, the song "I'm Your Angel," a duet between Céline Dion and R. Kelly, was pulled on 20190114 from Céline Dion's releases on streaming services. However, the song can still be found on R. Kelly's releases.

Released 19981030.
16 songs. 68:27. These Are Special Times (1998)
16+1 songs. 68:27+04:40. These Are Special Times (Japan) (1998)

First Listen. Spotify (without "I'm Your Angel").

4: "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)";
3: "O Holy Night"; "Blue Christmas"; "The Magic Of Christmas Day (God Bless Us Everyone)"; "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)";
2: "Don't Save It All for Christmas Day"; "Another Year Has Gone By"; "Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)"; "The Prayer" (with Andrea Bocelli); "Brahm's Lullaby"; "Christmas Eve"; "Feliz Navidad";
1: "Ave Maria"; "These Are the Special Times"; "Les Cloches du Hameau";

Second listen. Spotify (supplemented with "I'm Your Angel").
Céline Dion ends this song so powerfully and so I moved the rating from a "2" to a "3."
I recently listened to one of Elvis Presley's Christmas albums, Elvis' Christmas Album, and enjoyed his version of "Blue Christmas" (which I have heard before because it's such a famous version of the song). As such, I was surprised to hear Céline Dion's version which had an equally wonderful sound, if not better.
For completeness, I listened to "I'm Your Angel" where it should belong in the album. But in support of Céline Dion's removal of the song, I listened to a version of the track which I already had on my computer.
It's an amazing song ("I'm Your Angel") but I'd have to admit that it doesn't have anything about it that suggests it belongs on a holiday album. In fact, I was very surprised when I read that this album was where the song first appeared. In any case, love the song, but I actually like the album better without it.
I didn't like some of the spoken parts in "Feliz Navidad" but overall I liked the vocals enough to give it a "2."

5: "I'm Your Angel" (with R. Kelly);
4: "Blue Christmas"; "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)";
3: "O Holy Night"; "Don't Save It All for Christmas Day"; "Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)"; "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"; "The Prayer" (with Andrea Bocelli);
2: "Another Year Has Gone By"; "The Magic Of Christmas Day (God Bless Us Everyone)"; "Brahm's Lullaby"; "Christmas Eve"; "These Are the Special Times"; "Feliz Navidad";
1: "Ave Maria"; "Les Cloches du Hameau";

Céline Dion has an amazing voice and I was surprised at how many "2"s and "3"s I assigned to songs in this album. In fact, I think the album was so wonderful that I'll give it a 5.6. For a moment I thought about giving it a 5.8, but then thought about the little parts in "Feliz Navidad" and "Ave Maria" which I didn't particularly enjoy.

Overall Rating (without "I'm Your Angel"): 5.6/5
Overall Rating (with "I'm Your Angel"): 5.4/5
Favorite Song (without "I"m Your Angel"): "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"
Favorite Song (with "I"m Your Angel"): "I'm Your Angel" (with R. Kelly)

I recently elevated My Gift from a 5.4 to a 5.6 because I like it so much, and decided that would require lowering the rating of the two holiday albums rated a 5.6 to a 5.4 (These Are Special Times and Elvis' Christmas Album).
Overall Rating (without "I'm Your Angel"): 5.4/5
Overall Rating (with "I'm Your Angel"): 5.2/5

No comments :