Mini-Review: Celine Dion – These Are Special Times

Celine Dion

These Are Special Times

Label: Sony Music Entertainment

Release Date: October 30th 1998 (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. O Holy Night
  2. Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day
  3. Blue Christmas
  4. Another Year Has Gone By
  5. The Magic Of Christmas Day (God Bless Everyone)
  6. Ave Maria
  7. Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)
  8. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
  9. The Prayer (feat. Andrea Bocelli)
  10. Brahm’s Lullaby
  11. Christmas Eve
  12. These Are Special Times
  13. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
  14. Feliz Navidad
  15. Les Cloches du Hameau

Initial thoughts: An album with literally no flaws, perfect for being the catalyst to get us into the Christmas spirit. Also an album that will indeed make us fans (casual or die-hard) of Celine Dion!

Reason to listen: A thoroughly enjoyable holiday album, complete with an equal amount of carols, holiday songs and ‘obscure’ songs (3, 3, and 2). One of the perfect ‘mixes’ of different types of Christmas songs

Reason to buy: Simply for “The Prayer” and “Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day” alone! The title track is sublime, and Celine’s “O Holy Night” is one of my favourite versions of the carol ever! Seriously, do you need any more reasons?

Reason to skip: Name me someone who loathes this album, and I’ll personally go to their house and somehow play this album on repeat until they love it! But seriously… do you even love music if you hate These Are Special Times?

No. of carols: 8 (including the obscure songs “Brahm’s Lullaby” and “Les Cloches du Hameau”, both written by Johannes Brahms)

No. of originals: 7 (including the iconic “The Prayer” with Andrea Bocelli, and the heartfelt “Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day”, as well as a John Lennon cover)

No of guest artists: 1 (Andrea Bocelli on track #9)

Does it have heart?: Celine’s Christmas album has the some of the most heart, passion, honesty, emotion, joy and optimism of any Christmas album I’ve heard in recent memory. Find me another Christmas album with more heart and then we’ll talk!

Does it have a Christmas-y atmosphere?: Yes it does. Gospel choirs and children choirs in abundance. Also there’s the feeling and sensation when listening to this album that I’m in the Northern atmosphere having a ‘white Christmas’.

Uniqueness?: Does ‘uniqueness’ mean a heavy Christmas atmosphere? Because if it does, then this project is very unique. But in the sense of is it distinguishable to the other Christmas ‘heavyweights’ out there? It’s comparable, yet I believe there’s nothing much making this album stand out aside from Celine’s powerful vocals and her passion for Christmas spirit! But this album to me is definitely one of my favourite Christmas albums, for those aforementioned reasons alone!

Christmas message: 3 out of 15 songs are about the true Christmas message of Jesus Christ. This album isn’t a worshipful album like Casting Crowns’ Peace On Earth or Third Day’s Christmas Offerings. But rather it’s a holiday album like Michael Buble’s Christmas! And in this case it definitely is a good thing, as this project can work by stealth in the hearts of non-believers, slowly softening their hearts to Jesus.

Closing thoughts: An underrated Christmas album that we all should have purchased come December time. Simply put- it’s a crime not to be listening to Celine Dion’s These Are Special Times from this year forward!

3 songs to listen to: Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day, The Prayer, These Are The Special Times

Overall rating: 5/5

Yes/no; why/why not?: The Prayer. Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day. These Are The Special Times. Need I say more? A thousand times yes!

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