I was definitely excited when I heard that country pop queen Shania Twain was releasing her first album in 15 years.
A lot has happened to her on the personal front since her last album Up!. Besides battling Lyme disease which affected her voice, Twain’s husband of 15 years, producer Robert Mutt Lange, cheated on her with her best friend – which informs many of the tracks on her latest release, Now.
Twain, who co-wrote every song of the 16-track release, bares her soul about Lange’s affair and what it did to her.
“It killed me that you’d give your life to be with her,” the 52-year-old singer sings on the album’s lead single Life’s About To Get Good.
In fact, she details her relationship pains and struggles quite a bit throughout the album, particularly in I’m Alright and Poor Me.
But if you think these songs would sound depressing and devoid of all hope, you’re wrong. When Twain reaches the chorus, she shakes off all the negativity and sings about finding a reason to live and love again.
And these aren’t slow, melancholic ballads either. Musically, Now mixes her distinct country pop sound with laidback, island vibes we’ve never heard from the singer before, injecting an extra dose of positivity.
The only thing I found lacking are signature sassy anthems such as That Don’t Impress Me Much or Man! I Feel Like A Woman.
You Can’t Buy Love harks back to those rollicking, uptempo hits but it’s still considerably less spunky.
Another Twain trademark is her romantic wedding ballads. Because Of You, a tender number about being in love with someone without losing one’s own identity in the process, is sweet and tender but it just doesn’t have the evergreen quality of From This Moment On.
The question remains: Having been away for so many years, is Twain’s music contemporary enough for today’s landscape?
Known for melding country with various genres, Shania’s Now feels like a continuation of her genre-blending endeavours. She doesn’t pander to the sounds of today. Instead it’s about where she is in her creative journey now.