Tonight, Céline Dion, Canada’s all-time best-selling artist, winds down her long-running Las Vegas residency. And given that she’s our best-known cultural export, Maclean’s couldn’t resist making a big deal of this. So we launched Céline Week, a six-day appreciation, and at the centre of our coverage was a vote by our readers on Dion’s best song of all time.
Maclean’s experts devised a list of Dion’s all-time bests for our bracket, a legendary discography whittled down to a playlist of eight. Based on their popularity (according to Spotify plays), we seeded our picks from 1 to 8, and allowed each of our fan/experts to stump for his or her chosen song.
Round One led to the elimination of ‘At Seventeen,’ ‘Ashes’, ‘Sous Le Vent’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ Round Two saw ‘All By Myself’ and ‘Because You Loved Me’ exit stage left. It was then time for the final matchup, a smackdown between the operatic Meat Loaf cover ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’ and the swelling ballad from Titanic ‘My Heart Will Go On.’
Céline versus Céline.
And now, without further adieu, we declare our winner. The greatest Céline Dion song of all time, as chosen by you the readers, is … (envelope tears, paper rustles):
It’s All Coming Back to Me Now!!!
Yes! You’ve heard it in your car. You’ve heard at Canadian Tire. You’ve heard it at the dentist’s office while getting your teeth cleaned. It is officially getting its due with roughly 70 per cent of the vote.
Clearly, Jason Markusoff’s insanely over-the-top argument for this 1996 mainstay clearly nudged this, er, baby past its even more treacle-soaked final challenger. Here’s his hosanna:
It’s All Coming Back to Me Now (1996)
Our Sherpa to the perilously oxygen-thin reaches of Peak Céline is Jim Steinman, songwriter for Meat Loaf’s mega-ballads. Steinman fought in court to ensure Mr. Loaf couldn’t release this opus before Dion in 1996. Let’s talk about love? No, let’s embody its very essence, violently reject it then draw it close with every last nanogram of muscle. This torchiest of torch songs is in constant transition to extremes. Willowy piano to Wagnerian drums, Celine’s airy whisper to her C-note ultra-climax, moments of gold, flashes of light, “nights of endless pleasure/It was more than any laws allow.” Baby, baby, baby! —Jason Markusoff
And just because we love looking at it so much, the final bracket:
Thanks to all who participated in this exercise in heartfelt appreciation and unabashed cultural nationalism. Vive Céline!