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Courage is Celine Dion's 12th English-language studio album which was released on November 15, 2019 by Columbia Records.

Album Background[]

In November 2013, Celine Dion released her previous English-language studio album, "Loved Me Back to Life." The next month, her husband, René Angélil was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent surgery.

In June of 2014, Angélil stepped down as Dion's manager to focus on his health and in August 2014 Dion postponed her show business activities due to the worsening of her husband's health. On January 14, 2016, Angélil died from throat cancer.

On May 22, 2016, in her first public performance outside The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Dion performed "The Show Must Go On" during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, where she received the Billboard Icon Award. In August 2016, she released her French-language album, "Encore un soir" to critical and commercial success.

The next month, she premiered "Recovering", a song written by Pink in honor of Dion's late husband. The song was marketed as the first track off of her upcoming English record which, at the time, was projected for release in 2017. She performed it during the "Stand Up to Cancer Live Event" on September 9, 2016

In March 2017, Dion's song, "How Does a Moment Last Forever" was released on the "Beauty and the Beast: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". She also embarked on two summer tours in Canada and Europe in 2016 and 2017.

In 2018, she released the song "Ashes" from the American superhero film, "Deadpool 2" and toured Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In September 2018, she announced the end of her Las Vegas residency, "Celine" with the final date set for June 8, 2019.

On April 3, 2019, Dion announced her 2019/2020 Courage World Tour, beginning in Quebec City, Canada on September 18, 2019. She also announced a new English-language album of the same name, to be released in November 2019.

Explaining the name of the album, Dion said: "I think I went through a lot. And life had given me the tools… to find my inner strength, to find courage, and to keep going. The people that I love so much embraced the moments that were difficult. They gave me so much strength. And then a song came that was called "Courage", and it didn't take long for all of us to say, 'I think the album should be called Courage'".

Dion announced the tour in a video titled "Ciao for now Las Vegas" in which she leaves Las Vegas in a car full of drag queens. Impersonator Steven Wayne stood in for Dion, alongside Bryan Watkins, Crystal Woods and Hot Chocolate as Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Tina Turner. The promo also teased the new song, "Flying on My Own".

On April 5, 2019, on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Dion promoted her upcoming tour, sang few lines from the song "Courage" and performed "Ashes" On June 7th and 8th, 2019 Dion performed "Flying on My Own" during her Las Vegas residency show and the live performance was released to various streaming platforms on June 8, 2019.

In months leading up to the album's release, Dion appeared on the covers of Elle, Harper's Bazaar and CR Fashion Book, and was selected as one of the best dressed stars of 2019 by Vanity Fair and People.

On September 18, 2019 and the beginning of the Courage World Tour, Dion was interviewed on Today show and also on BBC Radio's "Celine Dion from A to Z" on September 22, 2019.

Tracklisting[]

  1. Flying On My Own 3:32
  2. Lovers Never Die 2:51
  3. Falling In Love Again 3:51
  4. Lying Down 3:59
  5. Courage 4:15
  6. Imperfections 3:59
  7. Change My Mind 3:02
  8. Say Yes 3:32
  9. Nobody's Watching 3:12
  10. The Chase 3:50
  11. For The Lover That I Lost 2:54
  12. Baby 3:35
  13. I Will Be Stronger 3:27
  14. How Did You Get Here 4:22
  15. Look At Us Now 3:18
  16. Perfect Goodbye 3:28

Deluxe edition tracks

  1. Best of All 3:23
  2. Heart of Glass 3:31
  3. Boundaries 3:22
  4. The Hard Way 3:24

Japanese edition bonus track

  1. Soul 3:14

Chart Performance[]

"Courage" debuted atop the Canadian Albums Chart with 55,000 album-equivalent units, including 53,000 pure album sales, becoming Dion's 15th number-one album in the Nielsen SoundScan era and 16th overall in Canada.

It achieved the highest one-week consumption total since Drake's album, "Scorpion" picked up 70,000 units in July 2018 and the highest one-week pure album sales since Taylor Swift's album, "Reputation" sold 80,000 copies in November 2017. It also achieved 2019's biggest single-week consumption total.

The album also debuted at number one in Quebec with 28,000 pure album sales. In the second week, it dropped to number two in Canada, picking up the second-highest sales total for the week with 8,300 units. In the third week, "Courage" fell one position to number three, but it earned the highest album sales total for the week with 6,300 units sold.

In Quebec, "Courage" stayed at number one for six non-consecutive weeks. The album has sold 93,000 copies in 2019 in Canada. On the Canadian Nielsen SoundScan 2019 Year-end charts, it was the top-selling album (physical and digital sales).

The album also debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 dated November 30, 2019, earning Dion her first US number-one album in 17 years, having last topped the chart with her 2002 album, "A New Day Has Come."

It is Dion's fifth US number-one album, and earned 113,000 album-equivalent units, including 109,000 pure album sales. It also became her 13th top ten album on the Billboard 200.

Thanks to the success of "Courage", Celine Dion has collected number-one albums in each of the last three decades, being the fourth woman to achieve the feat after Janet Jackson, Barbra Streisand and Britney Spears.

The next week, due to lack of streaming, "Courage" plummeted to #111, setting a Billboard 200 record for the biggest second week drop for an album that debuted at number one and second biggest drop after Bon Jovi (1-169 for "This House Is Not for Sale"). On Billboard's Top Current Albums chart, the album fell from number one to position 13 in its second week and on the Top Album Sales chart, it dropped from the top to number 21.

In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number two, selling 18,946 copies, becoming Dion's highest-charting album since "A New Day Has Come" became her fifth number one in the UK in 2002. In the second week, it fell to number 13, selling 8,804 copies. On December 27, 2019, it was certified Silver in the UK.

In France, "Courage" debuted at number two on the Overall Sales and Streaming Chart and number one on the Sales Chart with 24,000 pure album sales.

In the second week, it fell to number seven on the Overall Chart and number five on the Sales Chart with 10,800 physical and digital copies sold. On December 6, 2019, "Courage" was certified Gold by SNEP. In 2019, the album has sold 77,000 copies there.

Critical Reception[]

"Courage" received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 68 based on 9 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Mike Wass from Idolator rated Courage 4.5 out of 5 stars, describing it as Dion's most eclectic album, which is truly remarkable at this stage in her career. He felt that while the production of songs is inventive, the subject matter couldn't be more traditional, as Dion examines matters of the heart.

Neil Z. Yeung of AllMusic rated the album 4 out of 5 stars calling Courage a transformative, cathartic release for the powerhouse vocalist that carries listeners through her process of healing and moving on.

According to him, the album is buffered by a heavy dose of mid-tempo bloodletting that serves as therapeutic processing for Dion and as vulnerable confessionals to her fans

Nick Smith from MusicOMH also rated "Courage" 4 out of 5 stars. He pointed out that the themes of the album are coherent: inner strength, courage and self-reflection, and that Courage marks an impressive return.

Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spanos praised both the album's contemporary, upbeat dance-pop tracks, as well as the ballads, stating "across the LP, the dance-pop moments thrive best when there's a touch of campiness, which is where Dion's excellent performance skills shine", and "as with anything Dion does, the throaty ballads where she flexes her multi-octave mezzo-soprano are the true gems".

In a summary, she compared Courage to Cher's 1998 album Believe, writing "consider Courage to be Dion's version of Cher's Believe: an album that arrived at exactly the right time and proved to a new generation that she's worth revisiting and recognizing as a diva very capable of keeping up with the times".

According to Alexis Petridis from The Guardian, the best songs on the album are ballads, which stick close to the music that made Dion famous, like the title track.

Alexandra Pollard from The Independent wrote that the most affecting moments on the record seem to face the loss of a loved one, like in songs "For the Lover That I Lost" co-written by Sam Smith and "Courage".

Michael Cragg of The Observer wrote that Courage, recorded in the aftermath of Dion's husband's death in 2016, is suffused with lyrics about loss and rebirth.

Jason Lipshutz from Billboard wrote that Dion's 2013's "Loved Me Back to Life" was a winning effort, but Courage is even more vital, with a "propulsive" opener in "Flying on My Own", a "devastating" title track, and lots of "worthwhile reflections in between".

According to him, Dion's focus on Courage on loss, recovery and personal empowerment makes it one of the most mature and impressive pop releases of 2019. "Courage" was chosen as one of the best albums of 2019 by Billboard staff.

In his review for Variety, writer A.D. Amorosi gave the album a mixed review, stating "the most glorious, and authentic, moments on Courage then, address bereavement, fear and finality in that pearl-clutching, gasping-for-air singing style that is Dion's, and Dion's alone". He criticized multiple songs on the album, such as "Flying on My Own", "Lovers Never Die", "The Chase", and others arguing that they make Dion sound "robotic and dull".

Amorosi summed up his review writing "one could argue that Courage is the sound of Celine Dion unbound and unwound, ready to experiment beyond her usual theatrical soundscapes, and play in the fields with her tween chart contemporaries. That's fine. Get it out of your system now. At least half of the album is fantastic. But don't let her make a habit out of this".

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