Celine Dion Sounds Perfecting Cursing on a Record


Shit yeah: Celine Dion, “Perfect Goodbye” – To my knowledge, “Perfect Goodbye,” from Celine Dion’s first English album after the death of her husband, René Angélil, marks the first time she’s ever cursed on record. “This shit is perfect,” she coos in the chorus, after taking on what sounds to me like a hip-hop-influenced flow in the verses (she savors each line’s concluding triplet like a delicacy). And yet, somehow it works? She doesn’t sound desperate for relevance; if anything, she’s showing off her versatility. This is one of several very nice songs on Courage, which is out today and already the album of Dion’s that I’ve enjoyed most consistently. I adore her as a personality. I think she’s a fantastic performer, and an objectively brilliant, at times legitimately soulful singer. I’ve never quite connected with her catalog in any meaningful way (she has jams, mind you), and I’m not sure if I’m into Courage because she’s finally found a way to translate her personality into her music, or if she’s finally worn me down. Maybe I’m just old. I don’t care. This shit is perfect. —Rich Juzwiak

Yes: Billie Eilish, “everything i wanted” – I am fully aboard the Billie train, and this deeply dark rumination on the particular feeling of being unfulfilled after accomplishing dreams is that shit I do like. I mean, come on, “everything i wanted” is Gen Z Death Cab for Cutie. Written with her brother and collaborator Finneas, it is a lyrical love letter for familial bonds—she weeps about what could’ve been, but relishes in the fact that they will always be together to support one another. In another phrase: I’m off to call my brother, goodbye! —Maria Sherman

Sure: Kelsea Ballerini, “Club” (music video) – Not only is this a wonderful celebration of not going to the club (use it as a stand in for, like, flaking and staying home in any capacity), Kelsea Ballerini’s “Club” is a spiritual sibling to Taylor Swift’s “22.” And I’m not only referring to the thematic similarities or the nearly identical music video—there is also a similar sing-a-long chorus and an arguably derivative melody. It’s fucking beautiful. —MS

Y: Lil Peep, “Belgium” – Music released posthumously—especially when the artist is so young at the time of death—always carries additional weight; it’s hard to discuss critically. I was a Lil Peep fan, and “Belgium” illustrates why. The single, released from the forthcoming Goth Angel Sinner EP, is all Nirvana-esque riffs and Gustav Åhr’s patented mall-punk musings. Even at its most emo, for lack of a more perfect word, Lil Peep stumbles on wisdom. He scratches at his throat, “You act kind, I don’t act kind at all/I, I ask myself, why am I talkin’ like this?/Ask yourself, do you deserve this treatment?” The answer, of course, is the same as it was when he recorded it: no. —MS

1000000 percent: Upset, “Lucky Strikes Out” – There is only one good poppy punk band, and it is Los Angeles’ Upset. “Lucky Strikes Out,” the second track from their self-titled sophomore album is for fans of chunky, distorted, palm-muted power chords, libidinous lyrics that end in disappointment, and all-around satiating songwriting. What could be more youthful-sounding? —MS

Every time it rains, you’re here in my meh: LIZ, “Cloudbusting” – The impression I’ve always gotten from LIZ, at least since she released a song called “Y2K” in 2014, is one of committed ambivalence. Her music can be unabashedly nostalgic, while seemingly sincere in tone. It’s a jokey sort of earnestness that can also be found in the P.C. Music catalog, especially that of five or so years ago (it was no surprise at all then when LIZ and Sophie collaborated in 2015). All of that is to say that her Eurohouse cover of Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting,” in the style of DHT’s “Listen to Your Heart” or DJ Sammy and D/O’s “Heaven,” strikes me as more of an idea for a song than an actual song. “Wouldn’t it be funny if…” hangs in the air, giving the song as much atmosphere as its surging synths and tasteful piano. The answer, it turns out, is: not especially. —RJ

No, only because I think Big Sean is definitely lying: Jhene Aiko, “None of Your Concern” – Jhene Aiko and Big Sean dated. Then they broke up. Now they’re on this song together, with a video that looks very nice and somewhat relaxing. They are together but apart, each staring wistfully into the distance. It’s a metaphor, you see, for their relationship, and it’s also a nice song. Quiet, soothing, something to listen to while feeling melancholy over a love that has withered on the vine, etc. What is decidedly not a metaphor for anything, however, is the outlandish claim Big Sean shows up to make in his one verse at the end of this track: “I made you cum nine times in one day/Your two lips should come in a vase, you rode my face.” While I am sure that someone somewhere has had nine orgasms in one day, I really don’t think Big Sean is the one to do it. —Megan Reynolds

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