Recording information: Chartmaker Studios, L.A., CA (06/07/2008); Cove City Sound Studios, Long Island, NY (06/07/2008); Criterion Recording Studios, FL (06/07/2008); Echo Beach Studios, FL (06/07/2008); Henson Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA (06/07/2008); Masterplan Studios, Stockholm, Sweden (06/07/2008); Music Grinder (06/07/2008); Oceanway Studios (06/07/2008); Paradise Sounds (06/07/2008); Sony Sound Stage, L.A., CA (06/07/2008); Stockholm, Sweden (06/07/2008); Studio At The Palms, Las Vegas, NV (06/07/2008); Studio E @ Chalice (06/07/2008); The Hit Facory, NYC (06/07/2008); The Plant Recording Studios, Sausalito, CA (06/07/2008); The Power Station, NY (06/07/2008); The Studio, Philadelphia, PA (06/07/2008); Village Recorders (06/07/2008); WallyWorld CA (06/07/2008).
Photographer: Denise Truscello.
Following the first Celine Dion collection, All the Way: A Decade of Song, by roughly a decade, The Essential Celine Dion doubles almost everything about the initial collection: it covers two decades instead of one and has three discs, not one. It's almost an overcompensation for how All the Way concentrated on newer recordings at the expense of hits, but then again, Celine has had more hits in the ten years since All the Way, so it makes sense that Essential is a bigger, grander collection. The problem is, apart from her cover of Roy Orbison's "I Drove All Night," almost none of her new-millennium hits are as memorable as her singles from the '90s, so this triple CD doesn't offer too much of an enticement for fans to replace 1999's single-disc set. But for those listeners who are looking for an overview of Celine Dion's two decades as an international superstar, Essential fits the bill well as it has all her big adult contemporary hits -- "Where Does My Heart Beat Now," "Beauty and the Beast," "If You Asked Me To," "Because You Loved Me," "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," and "My Heart Will Go On" -- all sequenced chronologically. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine