If French-Canadian singer Celine Dion is aiming for international recognition as a purveyor of crowd-pleasing middle-of-the-road ballads, she’s already well on her way: A consistent platinum seller in Canada, Dion, 24, scored a top five single from her 1990 U.S. debut album, Unison. Her follow-up record’s first hit, a duet with Peabo Bryson on the Oscar-winning title song from Beauty and the Beast, is a perfect showcase for what she’s best at. It’s about a romance that isn’t hers, so it never exposes Dion’s one serious lack — of emotion, which seems to have been trained right out of her lovely voice. The rest of the tunes on Celine Dion, from the pleasantly innocuous (”I Love You, Goodbye”) to lazily titled songs that emit a whiff of the factory (”Show Some Emotion,” ”If You Could See Me Now”), neither call for nor receive a personal touch. The best song here only points up Dion’s deficiency. She hits all the notes on Prince’s graceful, desperate ”With This Tear,” but clearly she has more voice than heart.
- Celine Dion