The song has all the right ingredients: it’s the theme song to “Titanic” director James Cameron’s “Avatar,” which is slated to be the holiday season’s major blockbuster, it was co-written by James Horner, who penned “My Heart Will Go On” and it’s delivered in a beautifully nuanced performance by Leona Lewis that builds to a satisfying crescendo. Think Celine Dion crossed with Enya. Hear it here. Or listen to the embed below.
“I See You” even sounds like “Heart” in a number of ways, although it has a more interesting “otherworldly” feel in its production (completely appropriate given “Avatar’s” plot): The two share a mid-tempo feel, classic love song lyrics of yearning, and some strikingly similar chord changes that give “I See You” an instantly familiar feel.
Those are the plusses: Now the negatives: It’s a radically different scene at radio these days than it was for “Heart” in 1997. Top 40 will not be inclined to play something this ethereal sounding without a heavy beat. It could be even a tough sell at Adult Contemporary radio, although that will be where it finds its biggest success. What will propel is up Billboard’s Hot 100 will be digital single sales, not airplay. “Avatar” is also skewing more towards males than “Titanic,” which was, when it comes down to it,” a total chick flick on a boat. Then there’s Lewis. After her tremendously successful debut CD, “Spirit” spawned one of the decade’s biggest hits, “Bleeding Love,” her second CD, “Echo,” arrive two weeks ago with a whimper, not a bang. It debuted at No. 13 and sank to No. 45 this week.
Will “I See You” garner an Oscar nod for best song. Sure… will it win? I don’t know. It’s going to face some fierce competition this year, so it’s far from a lock. Plus, it’s not really fair to compare it to “My Heart Will Go On,” which was one of the biggest –selling singles ever worldwide. It went on to capture not only the Oscar, but the Grammy for song and record of the year. However, we’ll see if Cameron and Horner can make lightning strike twice.
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