The boys at the hilarious 90 Percent Hits podcast give a shout out to MFD.
90 Percent Hits is devoted to the worst earworms from the most vile popstars of our age: Bryan Adams, Sting, Celine, etc. It's a funny read.
Play the above video at your peril! Below is a transcript of the podcast.
Celine Dion - The Power Of Love (#1s)
In 1971, Charmaine West was killed by her stepmother Rosemary in Gloucester, while her father Fred was in prison. Charmaine was likely killed after Rosemary, already an erratic and aggressive woman prone to rages, flew into a fit of violence as her frustration boiled over whilst playing the parent to Fred’s two girls from a previous marriage. Fred had already begun his life of depravity after killing his ex-wife and girlfriend in a similar rage a few years earlier. No-one knew about that at this point though, as he was in prison for a separate theft offence.
So it is with the first kill - turbulent, clumsy, impulsive and reactive. John Backderf observes this brilliantly in his graphic novel My Friend Dahmer as well - Jeffrey Dahmer awkwardly circles a few potential victims, backing out or cocking it up each time. It’s just an urge and an impulse he understands dimly at this stage.
The Wests and Dahmer of course went on to kill many in such a sadistic, horrifying manner that words rightly would fail one trying to convey just how ghastly it all was. Their killing became highly orchestrated, the blind furies and impulsiveness replaced by organisation, calculation and a bent for psychological torture so horrendous it’s a wonder any of us can sleep at night in the knowledge that any of this could have happened.
Which brings us to David Foster and Celine Dion - the Fred and Rosemary West of popular music. ‘The Power of Love’ is criminal. It’s a braying, overwrought cacophony of such extravagant ‘tenderness’ it makes your bowels quiver in horror at the sound its first bars. Dion’s phrasing of ‘I hold onto your body’ can only move one to upchuck, and has the same shuddering creepiness of Richard Nixon’s head’s description of his ‘good solid Republican body’ on Futurama. The karaoke backing track, the conflation of the physical exertion of singing with the power of the emotion being sung, the sheer vapidness of the lyrics. It’s perfectly hideous.
But, the thing is, we know what’s to come. We know of the out-and-out psychological torture and dismembering of all that’s good and true about music that this pair would engage in. At this stage, they just wanted to write a horrible, over-the-top song weighed down by so many fee-fees Oprah herself would object and bitchslap them back into 1982 like Moe from the Three Stooges. This song is awful, but it’s a classic first kill: there’s nothing systematic in its awfulness, there’s no real method, no expression of a vast and overinflated ego looking to impose itself on the world without regard for others. Foster and Dion just wanted to write a love song that was merely shit. The desire to raze the entirety of Western culture to the ground in one sequence of thundering vibrato notes would come later, and they would do it with so much more gusto and conviction than this.
So, as awful as this song is, one can only listen to it as a harbinger now; a warning of what was to come if any of us were smart enough to see. But, as bad as it is, nothing in this song suggests that it could possibly get any worse. But get worse it could, and lord knows none of us could see how many fathoms Foster and Dion would scrape in their depth-plumbing in the years to come.