These Are Special Times

by: 

John Wilson
Nov 24, 1999

These Are Special Times by Celine Dion

Epic Records, BK-69523

These reviews, as you have probably guessed, are written about one month in advance. Let me reiterate, at the risk of being redundant: To all the merchants who put their Christmas merchandise out for purchase starting during the month of October, Christmas really does come after Thanksgiving which if the later part of November and before New Years Day in January. Speaking of New Years, remember the Millenium starts January 1st, 2001. OK, that’s out of the way.

It was a struggle to find a project worthy to review during this Christmas season of 2000. There were new instrumentals with a plethora of music for Christmas. There was the acappella Christmas music from Glad, the new Christmas musical from Michael and Stormie Omartian, the project done by the female recording artists on the Word label, the Christmas project by Avalon, and other Christmas music. Since it was my turn to pick the project, I decided to do something entirely different. Here’s my thinking, Christmas, the birth of Jesus, can this be hard to do? Well, am I naive, been on a desert island with Gilligan, or what?

The project I, let me say that again, I chose to do is one by Celine Dion, on the Epic label (Sparrow is a part of this company, I think) entitled "These are Special Times". Celine Dion has been on the pop scene for several years and has been such a success, and she probably has one of the greatest singing voices God ever granted a person to have, and she can sing. Unfortunately, she can’t pick or have picked for her “real” Christmas music for this project. In our society, there is a movement to take Jesus out of Christmas, and replace Him with an abundance of other things, besides celebrating the birth of Jesus in Bethleham. If you know Jesus as your personal Savior, you know what I mean.

On this project, Dion tries of cover all of the Christmas bases, the secular and the spiritual, and does a poor job with both of these areas. This is not to say that you won’t be moved by “O, Holy Night”, “Ave Maria”, and “Adeste Fideles” (O, Come All Ye Faithful”) because you will, but the other side of the coin is that the primary and only emphasis for me during Christmas is the birth of Jesus, and the good news that that means to us as His followers.

Not only does Dion try to cover the bases, but she has some basically flawed theology mixed in also. In a duet with R. Kelly and written by him, Dion and Kelly try to jump on the “Angel bandwagon”, with the song, “I’m your Angel”. Don’t be fooled, this is really not a Christmas song, because it has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, but is really a love song in disguise. Musically, it is a beautiful song, as is the duet with Andrea Bocelli entitled “The Prayer”. Beautiful music, but not a Christmas song.

Songs on this project which deal with the birth of Christ are wonderful, but the others should be on another CD.

16 Cuts................................................68.27

John’s Rating (* to *****)..............................*