Though few would have predicted it, 2017 is undisputedly the year of the Céline Dion-aissance.
The 49-year-old singer—whose impressive vocal range and various accolades are so well-known there’s no need to list them all here—has been a fixture in the music industry since she was a teen, yet armed with a new stylist (sorry, “”) and front row seats during fashion month’s buzziest shows, she’s emerged as just about the unlikeliest patron saint of millennials who admire her DGAF attitude and… ? There’s even enough interest bubbling that Céline is debuting a with The Bugatti Group—being released at Nordstrom in September with a selection of handbags launching at on August 23—adding her celeb imprint to the mix in the tradition of .
Sure, there’s much to be admired about the way that Dion has found her way following the sad loss of her husband and long-time manager René Angélil, emerging with a renewed sense of self-possession and, it seems, desire to just .
And while we aren’t here to knock her inherent kooky tendencies, can we take a second from the breathless coverage of her to realize that this newfound appreciation of Dion is not only a real shock but perhaps, just maybe, not shared by, ahem, everyone?
If, even two short years ago, a friend told me she was going to a Céline Dion concert, I would assume that her mom was in town and about to get a great birthday surprise. Are there many occasions that would call for just sitting back and listening to or pressing play on a Céline song—outside of a karaoke room or a #TBT Divas Night? No.
Never Been Cool
Contrary to what writer Carl Wilson and believes he got wrong in the first place, the chest-thumping balladeer hasn’t recently become cool nor was she ever cool and that’s OK. She is and forever will be associated with all things corny and way dramatic. She’s a walking greeting card with cursive writing, a Boomer who skews emo, if you will. Et puis voilà.
If the ’90s was a decade and ironic enjoyment, it’s safe to say the pendulum has swung in the other direction, making the 2010s a time of extreme earnestness and post-irony where something, or someone, is enjoyed only in the most genuine of ways—the perfect Petri dish for the mainstream wave of Céline-mania to thrive in. And so, the singer hasn’t miraculously become worthy of adoration because she’s swapped backwards tuxedos for enormous ruffle-shouldered dresses. It’s pop culture that’s become, well, Dion-ified.
It’s probably temporarily refreshing to be around someone who is wholly herself, doesn’t succumb to self-censorship or even experience the commonplace, everyday shame spells we all endure—but it’s also exhausting. Over the long haul—which is where those of us who were of swooning age when Titanic‘s soundtrack came out find ourselves—there are bound to be cringe-worthy moments that would embarrass even the most appreciative observer and cause eye-rolls or a shrug that says, “Yes, she’s a real ham.” Can the undisputed queen of that would make even a blush, truly be the go-to example of “living your best life?”
You needn’t look too far for recent shows of her excessively performative nature—like for Vogue. They find Dion le clown draped in the most delicate couture, piles of flowers spilling from her brow, and you know, sashaying between two rows of folding chairs with a metallic hat in front of her crotch because OF COURSE. Or being the ultimate hockey mom, and clapping along to stadium music that would have made teenage us all, MOM!!
It’s great to see that pop culture has found a way to embrace and celebrate someone other than your standard twentysomething gossip rag mainstay, troubled starlet or headline-stealing drama queen or king, and sure let’s pat ourselves on the back that she’s already been an entertainment icon in Canada for nearly four decades. But to suggest that every move Dion makes is worthy of endless review, appreciation and exclamation points sidesteps a very important fact: her newly revered muchness is, sometimes, just a bit much.
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