Saturday, 7 October 2017
REVIEW: SHANIA TWAIN-NOW
From This Moment Now
1.2. 'Now'. She's still the one after all these years. Forever young like Keanu Reeves post-50, Canadian country singer Shania Twain has been through it all and taken a long and winding road just west of Route 66 to get to this point in 2017. From Nashville to taking Dollywood as the best selling female country star of all time in the world, Shania was tailor making pop/country crossover hits that were a little bit rock and roll and moving C.D. copies swiftly years before todays biggest music star that wrote her name in the blank space left when the Twain train stopped at station. But now it's back on it's wheels for the first new album Shania has put down since 2002's three-way, blue, green, red, pop, country and international big 'Up' release that came off the heels and leopard skin catsuit success of her and country music as a whole's most groundbreaking album. One of the biggest diamond albums of the golden era 90's and of all-time, 'Come On Over'. And after the 'From This Moment On' era came to a close, 'Now' finally comes after a decade and a half as Shania has survived bitter betrayal and divorce. Lyme disease. Almost losing her signature sound, let alone tragically her voice as a whole. And not to mention 15 long years that has seen the music industry change and download into a new age of Spotify streaming that even Taylor Swift ended up having to give in to for fear of real 'Bad Blood' with fans and industry heads alike. But despite all this and that in a time where Nashville is a soap opera T.V. show and country music in the modern day is more Lady Antebellum than Johnny Cash, the Canuck that took Tennessee has scored yet another number one album. Shania is still a girl on fire. Man I feel like a comeback. In the words of Lionel Richie on his 'Tuskegee' country album, 'My Precious Love' collabo with Twain, "Welcome Back Shania"! Let's go girl!
'Life's About To Get Good' indeed as is evident on Shania's soaring new life affirming single that is right there with her catchy hallmark 'Man I Feel Like A Woman', 'That Don't Impress Me Much' and 'I'm Gonna Getcha Good' singles that she will roll out in her next Las Vegas residency in tribute to that great, unstoppable town (stay strong, stay praying) and all the country stars and fans who have rocked there. "Oh! Life's about joy/Life's about pain/It's all about forgiving and the will to walk away/I'm ready to be loved/And love the way I should/Life's about/Life's about to get good" Shania sings in chorus for the new post-break-up survivor anthem that's the 'We Will Never Ever Get Back Together' for the millennial parental generation. And if that wasn't enough than the follow up second single and opening first track of the album 'Swingin' With My Eyes Closed' keeps the party going with a reggae flavour that sparks the nostalgia of the international version of 'Up'. "It's in the air we're breathing/Oh can you taste the freedom, oh oh/I'm swinging with my eyes closed/Got my hair down a wide open road/I'm swinging with my eyes closed/Only god knows how far it goes/Fist up in the air/Oh like we don't care/Swinging" Twain traces lyrically in a song and video party fusion laced with sex appeal. As the woman who in stunning portrait black and white still fits and wears the same iconic as Madonna's closet outfit she wore in the 'That Don't Impress Me Much' video shows she's not only still the one, but she's still got it too. 'It' being the appeal of one of the greatest legacy making legends in two diamond dominating genres of music. Brad Pitt!? Captain Kirk?! John Wayne maybe?! Elvis or something?! Not even the King can touch the queen.
But despite a double act of dominating sole standing singles, 'Now' is all about the album as a whole right here and it really is her most cohesive and classic set in terms of ballads in the same 'The Woman In Me' vein. The country strong 'Home Now' confirms her arrival back in her second residence outside of Ontario and in those United States. Whilst the atmospheric 'Light Of My Life' could find itself perfectly between 'I Won't Leave You Lonely' and 'You've Got A Way' as she sings "My little piece of the pie/American beauty/Apple of my eye". But it's the modern maverick 'Poor Me' that would have the Parton and Emmylou Harris raising a glass too in it's clever songwriting skill of lyrical dexterity. As it mixes sorrow on the rocks with a twist as she sings "poor me this/poor me that" and then "pour me...another". 'Whose Gonna Be Your Girl' is a classic 'no need to roam you're love is at home' call and response yearn as she asks her man about the town "whose gonna be your girl/when all your boys are gone". Whilst the catchy chorus vocally and instrumentally of 'More Fun' kisses those Monday blues away to a Friday night live and love for the weekend embrace. And as this deluxe album delves deeper than the studio set tracks like 'I'm Alright' are more than that as the woman who wrote 'Black Eyes, Blue Tears' and 'When' shows she has great love songs growing on trees no matter her songwriter or partner. 'Lets Kiss And Make Up' and 'Where Do You Think You're Going' continues that reconcilliation of love trend and theme. Whilst 'Roll Me On The River' gets the mood back on an upbeat track as she pleads "play my favourites on the ride downtown/'Love Me Tender' on the radio/Turn it louder, kiss me slow". The hand clapping keeps rounding up in applause for the positive reaffirming 'We Got Something They Don't'. Before she finally sits down with her acoustic with the personal beauty we've been waiting for in 'Because Of You' for an inspired interlude as she gets back on her feet and the floor for the take your partner 'You Can't Buy Love'. 'All In All' this is a vast and versatile velvet smooth set that's worth all the years of paid off wait. But it's the heartfelt, soulful 'Soldier' that really is the nation to nation proud standout. "Has anybody seen my soldier/Standing all alone/Has anybody seen my soldier/Just trying to get home" she sings in military tribute testament. As this adopted American from Canada looks to keep those States united in a house of falling cards. Even a trumped up president needs to recognize a queen from another country. They said "I'll bet she'll never make it", but here she is forever and always, more than holding on. Looks like she made it. And that does impress us much. TIM DAVID HARVEY.