Should Have Been Bigger: Céline Dion’s Anthemic “Taking Chances”
In this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.
After ruling the pop world with an iron first for most of the ’90s, Céline Dion had fallen out of fashion with youth-obsessed radio programmers by the late ’00s. (It didn’t help that she spent much of the decade focussing on French-language music including the incredible D’Elles). In 2007, the Canadian songbird decided it was time to reclaim her throne and she had just the song to do it. A soaring pop/rock ballad with the kind of exhilarating chorus that only comes along once or twice a decade, “Taking Chance” is, was and remains a knockout.
“Don’t know much about your life, don’t know much about your world,” Céline begins the song over John Shanks’ guitar-driven production, “but don’t wanna be alone tonight, on this planet they call Earth.” By the time that magical chorus kicks in, the pop legend is in full-blown Meatloaf mode. “What do you say to takin’ chances? What do you say to jumpin’ off the edge?” she belts over crashing riffs. “Never knowing if there’s solid ground below, or a hand to hold or hell to pay — what do you say?” Well, I say it’s easily Céline’s best single of the ’00s.
Of course, “Taking Chances” is a cover. The song was originally penned by David Stewart (one half of The Eurythmics) and Kara DioGuardi for their shelved Platinum Weird project. As luck would have it, they played the song to Céline’s late husband and it ended up being the lead single and title track of the legendary diva’s 10th English-language album. Columbia Records knew a hit when they heard one and poured money into an elaborate video, which finds our heroine kicking ass in a leather jumpsuit — all while balancing at least a dozen wigs on her head. It is peak ’00s excess and still gives me a thrill to this day.
Unfortunately, “Taking Chances” wasn’t embraced by pop radio and the song stalled at number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100. This story does have a happy ending, however. The ballad was a huge hit around the world and is now considered to be one of the crowning jewels in Céline’s iconic discography — in part, thanks to Glee introducing it to a whole new generation of fans. Get ready for a glorious blast from the past and revisit “Taking Chances” below.